Book review: 『白ゆき姫殺人事件』by Kanae Minato

Cover of 白ゆき姫殺人事件. The drawing on the cover shows a woman lying on the ground, eyes closed, certainly dead, facing the camera. Around her, we see the feet of all the onlookers, some are taking pictures with their phone.
Title: 白ゆき姫殺人事件(しらゆきひめさつじんじけん)
First published: 2012
Published: 2014
Format: Bunko
Page Count: 320

This is the fifth novel I read by Kanae Minato, and it is also one of my favourites. The story tackles a murder case and lets the reader guess until the end, providing an excellent mystery. But as always with Kanae Minato, the book is much more than a mystery and the initial murder will cause many unpleasant memories to resurface.


This is exactly what the novel is about. We hear several people talk about the past (they give their opinion about persons, recall events, reveal secrets), and the vision we get of the past changes according to who is speaking. The way people remember the past, or the way people see someone can be completely different from this person’s own perception. Usually, this divergence is hidden behind the conventions of everyday life, but if something as upsetting as  murder takes place, it all explodes.

I really love the structure of the book as well. We hear several people talk to a journalist, but we never get to hear his voice. This gives the impression that the reader is conducting the interviews, we get direct access to what the characters have to say, without any interference from a narrator. At the end of each chapter, we are directed to read ”documents” that are situated at the end of the book. These are excerpts of magazine articles and public online forum discussions. Reading these makes you feel that you are living through the events as they unfold, making it very exciting for the reader to try and see the truth behind everyone’s opinion.

Unforturnately, I found the solution not very convincing. There are things that are left unexplained, and overall, I found it hard to believe that things could have happened this way. The end does not change anything to the fact that the novel is a fascinating read with a unique structure that manages to be both an engrossing mystery and a gripping story about the past, memory, and how people see you.

Other books by this author:
往復書簡 (おうふくしょかん)
告白 (こくはく)