Salvation of a Saint by Keigo Higashino


“From a cup of coffee what dreams may bloom…”

I have just finished Keigo Higashino’s Salvation of a Saint, the first book of September to have caught my interest sufficiently to see it to the end. It is a fabulous mystery, exactly the kind of book which keeps you reading until you are done.

When Ayane’s husband is found dead on the floor of their home, with the contents of a cup of coffee spilled around him, we are immediately brought to the awareness that this cup of coffee was his demise.

But how? His wife, Ayane, was visiting her parents a train ride away. His new mistress had just left after a late night tryst. So who plotted such an ingenious plan which would kill a man from afar, through his own desire for a perfect cup of coffee? And most of all, why?

I was riveted to the exploration of the characters’ personalities and pasts; the things they held on to that made them act a certain way in the present. Discovering their flaws made discovering the intricacies of the mystery all the more fascinating.

I read this book for the Japanese Literature Challenge 8, and for Aarti’s A More Diverse Universe. It is the second book I’ve read by Keigo Higashino, an author who “is currently the most widely read author in Japan, with more than three dozen best sellers, hundreds of millions of copies of his books sold worldwide and nearly twenty films and television series based on his work. He won the Naoki Prize for The Devotion of Suspect X“…which is the next book of his I want to read.

A More Diverse Universe

In his novel Norwegian Wood, Haruki Murakami said, “If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.” I instantly memorized that quote, as I like to do with Murakami’s words, because one of the reasons I love to read is for the way that it takes me outside of my box. As well as everyone else’s. 
What would my life be with a steady diet of classics, or fairy tales, or mysteries written only by people of my own culture? It would be as dull as a steady diet of cheeseburgers and fries: neither nutritious nor interesting. I need to eat samosas and chicken biryani, beef lo mien and tempura, as much as I do spaghetti and meatballs. I need to read books written by people of other cultures as much, or more, than I need to read those written by my own.
Aarti of Book Lust has planned a challenge which will run from September 23 through September 29 called A More Diverse Universe. To participate, readers will chose a work of speculative fiction written by an author of color. In conjunction with my own Japanese Literature Challenge, therefore, I’d like to read Woman in the Dunes by Kobo Abe. (You can find a list of Japanese sci-fi writers here.)
I know that in September, I am first and foremost committed to reading The Thorn Birds with my dear friend, Lesley. But, I’d like to participate in Arti’s most worthy challenge, and I encourage you to give it a try as well. Do you have any other suggestions? Any titles you’d like to read yourself?