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Detective Galileo Books In Order

Publication Order of Detective Galileo Books

The Devotion of Suspect X (2011) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Salvation of a Saint (2012) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Midsummer's Equation (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

The Detective Galileo series is a set of novels by popular Japanese mystery author Keigo Higashino. Written mostly in Japanese with a few translated into English, the novels tell the narrative of Yukawa a nerdy physics professor who is called in to help solve mysterious cases by his friend Kusanagi, a police detective. The first of the series to be translated into English was Devotion of Suspect X which went on to receive rave reviews from fans and critics like, being described as ingenious, brilliant and stunning. By the end of 2016, there were three novels in the Detective Galileo series translated into English, which just goes on to show the popularity of the series not only in Japan and Asia, but also in the English-speaking world. These are classic whodunit mysteries where the aspects of competing motives of different suspect are thrown at the reader. Nonetheless, Higashimo employs the classic form of the police detective procedural coupled with razor-sharp logic that will get the blood of any mystery fan racing. Unlike the normal police procedural, there isn’t much violence with most of the killings taking place offstage. But while the prose comes across as deliberate and methodical, the plots and stories in the novels are very much fascinating given the frequent curveballs that the author throws.

Most of the scenes are in local restaurants and inns thus offering a truly Japanese setting. Additionally, the majority of the suspects are not the career criminals that you would find in your run of the mill police procedural, which makes solving the murders even harder given the varie motivations. Higoshimo’s is an expert at twisting the facts into double helixes, and is certain to leave the reader scratching their head, before he finally goes for the big reveal. While the Detective Galileo series of novels makes use of Japanese characters and settings, these novels are best compared to some of the best mystery thrillers in the English-speaking world. The novels stand shoulder to shoulder with some of the great novels such as The Greek Coffin Mystery by Ellery Queen, The Hollow Man by John Dickson Carr and Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. What makes such novels including Higoshimo’s titles so great is that, they provide clues yet never give enough to solve the puzzle right until the very end. Given the popularity of the novels, it is no surprise that the second novel made the shortlist for an Edgar Award for Best Novel and a Barry Award for Best First Novel. The Galileo series of novels was also made into a TV series by the same name, and was broadcast in Japan from 2007 to 2013.

Yukawa, the lead character in the series, is a physics professor that also goes by the moniker Detective Galileo. The nickname came about because of his skills at unravelling the most intricate of mysteries and finding solutions to them. For the most part, these mysteries have dumbfounded his friend, Police Detective Kusanagi. One thing to note though is that Detective Galileo never arrives at his conclusions in the normal detective manner expected of the police. He prefers to come to his conclusions using eccentric methodologies which only he is privy to. Detective Galileo’s method of solving these problems focus on how a crime was done to decipher the psychology of the criminal, which helps to identify and ultimately apprehend them. However, what makes it so interesting is that the twists and feints in the story take an intellectual angle to result in the solution of the puzzle, which is sure to surprise any mystery novel reader. Some of his investigations involve the reader in the interviewing and taking notes process, which provides several threads of inquiry and theory formation, in trying to find the motivations of the suspect in doing the crime.

A popular novel in the Detective Galileo series of novels is The Devotion of Suspect X. Yasuko Hanaoka is a single mother recently divorced from Togashi, an abusive husband. However, he shows up one day and using threats, tries to extort money from Hanaoka. She turns violent and in the ensuing confrontation, the husband ends up dead. Ishigami, a concerned neighbor comes in to help after overhearing the commotion only to find Yasuko shaking with a dead body in the center of the room. He offers to help dispose of the body and cover up what transpired. When the body is found and later identified as that of the dead man, Detective Kusanagi’s prime suspect is Yasuko. While the detective finds Yasuko’s alibi to be watertight, he still believes that there is something fishy in the whole thing. He calls in his college friend and physicist Dr. Manabu Yukawa, who has consulted with the police on similar cases, and happens to have gone to college with Yasuko’s neighbor, Ishigami. After a short interview with the neighbor, Yukawa is of the belief that he knows more about the murder than he is letting on. What follows is a battle of high chess as the two intellectuals try to outthink each other, with Detective Galileo confronting his most determined and clever opponent yet.

The fifth novel, Salvation of a Saint is another excellent title in the Detective Galileo series. Galileo now has to solve a case in which reality clashes with theory and facts clash with instinct. When Yoshitaka who had been in the process of leaving his wife dies of arsenic poisoning, his wife is the main suspect. The only problem is, she was nowhere near the man at the time he was poisoned. After meeting the suspect, Detective Kusanagi of the Tokyo Police is taken with her beauty, and removes her from the list of possible suspects. However, Kaoru Utsumi a junior officer in his office thinks that Ayane the wife was involved in her husband’s murder, even as the facts in the case suggest otherwise. With her boss not in the frame of mind to be objective, she calls upon Detective Galileo to assist with the case. But this is one instance in which even the great Dr. Yukawa finds himself confounded by the intricacies of the case. Full of reverses and twists, this novel is sure to surprise and astonish the most ardent of mystery fans.

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