Book Review: 『新参者』by Keigo Higashino

新参者 (しんざんもの)
Title: 新参者 (しんざんもの)
First published: 2009
Published: 2013
Format: Bunko
Series Number: 8
Page Count: 416
Translation: Newcomer, by Giles Murray
刑事・加賀恭一郎、日本橋へ。日本橋の片隅で一人の女性が絞殺された。着任したばかりの刑事・加賀恭一郎の前に立ちはだかるのは、人情という名の謎。手掛かりをくれるのは江戸情緒残る街に暮らす普通の人びと。「事件で傷ついた人がいるなら、救い出すのも私の仕事です」。大切な人を守るために生まれた謎が、犯人へと繋がっていく。

『新参者』is the 8th (out of 10) book of the detective Kaga series (加賀シリーズ). The series feature detective Kyoichiro KAGA (加賀恭一郎). The series spans 30 years, the first novel was published in 1986 (it was Higashino’s second novel) and the last one was published in 2016.

Setting

Detective Kyoichiro Kaga has just been dispatched to the police station of Nihonbashi. He is a “newcomer” (新参者) in the neighborhood. When a woman is found dead in her apartment, Kaga starts an unconventional investigation through which we get to know the life of several shopkeepers and inhabitants of the neighborhood.

Review

Keigo Higashino is my favourite author of genre fiction (regardless of the country) and among all the novels and short stories I have read by Keigo Higashino, the books of the Kaga series are my favourites. And among the books of the series that I have read so far, 『悪意』, 『私が彼を殺した』and 『新参者』are my favourites (in this order). Needless to say that I have loved this novel.

What I particularly enjoy in the Kaga series is that some of them are really surprising. While they still offer what the reader of detective stories is looking for, some titles of the series are revitalising the genre of detective stories.

『新参者』has a very interesting structure and is simply a delight to read. We get to see how Kaga investigates and solves mysteries while meeting engaging characters. But just as I thought that this novel was more a series of puzzle solving than a true investigation, I was surprised to see how everything falls into place and how consistent the story is.

As you certainly expect, I heartily recommend this book if you like mystery and detective novels. I also think that 『新参者』can be appreciated by a lot of readers, even those who don’t necessarily like crime fiction.