This is a novel/thriller that has generated a lot of interest. Again, I thank the Feits for bringing it to the blog.
Cleverly pitting the logic of a mathematician against that of a
physicist, and then the physicist vs. an intuition-leaning detective,
this Japanese novelist has written a clever murder mystery with an
There is no mystery as to the murderer: A single mother, aided by her
daughter, strangles her abusive ex-husband. What then follows
provides us with a chess match between her next door neighbor, a
mathematician, who undertakes to create a scenario to provide the two
women with iron-clad alibis, and a detective and his logic-leaning
physicist friend, who analyzes each possible clue. It is an
interesting technique, and one that works well.
This is the author’s first major English publication (he is a big
seller in Japan, where more than 2 million copies of the book have
been sold), and the translation seems to have been made with the
formality of the original language in mind. “Devotion” won the Naoki
Prize for Best Novel, the Japanese equivalent of the National Book
Award. Deservedly. And it is, here, heartily recommended.