Keigo Higashino: Malice

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Keigo Higashino Malice
  • Название:
    Malice
  • Автор:
  • Издательство:
    Minotaur Books
  • Жанр:
    Полицейский детектив / на английском языке
  • Год:
    2014
  • Город:
    New York
  • Язык:
    Английский
  • ISBN:
    978-1-250-03560-8
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    5 / 5
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Malice: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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“This smart and original mystery is a true page-turner… will baffle, surprise, and draw out suspicion until the final few pages. With each book, Higashino continues to elevate the modern mystery as an intense and inventive literary form.” — (starred review) “Fiendishly clever… Higashino offers one twist after another… Readers will marvel at the artful way the plot builds to the solution.” — (starred review) Acclaimed bestselling novelist Kunihiko Hidaka is found brutally murdered in his home on the night before he’s planning to leave Japan and relocate to Vancouver. His body is found in his office, a locked room, within his locked house, by his wife and his best friend, both of whom have rock solid alibis. Or so it seems. At the crime scene, Police Detective Kyochiro Kaga recognizes Hidaka’s best friend, Osamu Nonoguchi. Years ago when they were both teachers, they were colleagues at the same public school. Kaga went on to join the police force while Nonoguchi eventually left to become a full-time writer, though with not nearly the success of his friend Hidaka. As Kaga investigates, he eventually uncovers evidence that indicates that the two writers’ relationship was very different that they claimed, that they were anything but best friends. But the question before Kaga isn’t necessarily who, or how, but why. In a brilliantly realized tale of cat and mouse, the detective and the killer battle over the truth of the past and how events that led to the murder really unfolded. And if Kaga isn’t able to uncover and prove why the murder was committed, then the truth may never come out. Malice

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Kunihiko Hidaka

MALICE

Translated by Alexander O. Smith

with Elye Alexander

Фото

1

MURDER

OSAMU NONOGUCHI’S ACCOUNT

The incident took place on April 16, 1996, a Tuesday.

I left my house at three thirty in the afternoon to go to Kunihiko Hidaka’s place, which was only one station away by train. From the train station, you then had to take a bus, but even after adding in walking time, I could make the trip in twenty minutes.

I would often drop in on my friend for no particular reason; however, today was different. This time I had a purpose in mind. If I didn’t go today, I might not have the chance to see him again for quite some time.

His house was in a residential development and was one of the many upscale houses on his street. Some of the others would even qualify as mansions. The area had been forest once, and many of the owners had kept some of the original trees as part of their landscaping. The beech trees and oaks were tall enough to cast shade on the road.

Though roads in this part of town weren’t particularly narrow, they were all one-way. I guess that this was simply another indication of the residents’ status.

I wasn’t particularly surprised when, a few years ago, Hidaka bought a house in this neighborhood. Anyone in the area with any ambition at all dreamed of living here someday.

Hidaka’s house wasn’t one of the mansions, but it was definitely large for a couple with no children. Though the peaked gables on the roof gave it a Japanese look, it had bay windows, an arch over the front door, and flower boxes hanging from the second-story windows that were clearly Western in design. The house was the result of the application of ideas from both husband and wife, I reckoned, although, considering the low brick wall around the house, the balance seemed skewed in the wife’s favor. She once admitted to me that she always wanted to live in an old, European-style castle. His wife was odd like that.

Correction. His late wife.

I walked along the wall, which was laid so only the long sides of the bricks faced the street, and pressed the intercom button by the gate.

There was no answer. Then I noticed the Saab was missing from the driveway. Guess he’s stepped out, I thought.

I was wondering how to pass the time while waiting for him to return when I remembered the cherry tree in Hidaka’s garden. The buds had been about 30 percent open the last time I was there, which was ten days ago. I wondered how the buds were coming along.

I let myself in through the gate, figuring it wasn’t too much of a transgression. The path to the front door split into two along the way, with the offshoot leading toward the south side of the house. I followed that one to the garden.

A number of the cherry blossoms had already fallen, but enough were left on the tree to make it worthwhile viewing. That is, it would have been, if it hadn’t been for the woman, a woman I didn’t know, standing in the garden, looking down at the ground. She was dressed casually, in jeans and a sweater, and had something white and crumpled in her hand.

“Hello?” I called out.

She seemed startled and looked up at me quickly. “Oh, I’m sorry.” She showed me what was in her hand: a white hat. “The wind caught it and carried it into the garden. I didn’t see anyone home—I’m sorry.”

She looked to be in her late thirties. Eyes, nose, and mouth small and unremarkable. A plain-faced woman with an unhealthy cast to her skin. For a moment, I wondered about her story, if the wind had really been blowing hard enough to carry a hat.

“Is there something interesting on the ground there?” I asked.

She smiled. “The grass was growing in so nicely, I wondered how they were taking care of it.”

“I wish I could tell you.” I shrugged. “This is my friend’s house.”

She nodded. It seemed to me that she’d already realized I didn’t live here. “Sorry for the intrusion,” she said quickly, then walked past me to the front gate.

About five minutes later I heard a car pulling into the driveway. It was Hidaka. I walked around to the front door to see his navy-blue Saab backing into the garage. Hidaka noticed me standing there and nodded. In the passenger seat, his new wife, Rie, smiled and bowed her head.

“Sorry,” he said, getting out of the car. “I just stepped out to do some last-minute shopping, and the traffic was terrible. Have you been waiting long?”

“I was enjoying your cherry blossoms.”

“What’s left of them.”

“It’s a beautiful tree.”

He grinned. “Yeah, it’s great when it’s in bloom, but after that? It’s a real pain in the ass. That tree’s right next to my office window and you should see the caterpillars.”

“Then it’s lucky you won’t be working here for a while.”

“Anything to escape caterpillar hell. Come on inside. We still haven’t packed all the cups so I can at least offer you some coffee.”

We went in through the arched entryway.

Practically everything in the house was already boxed up. Even the paintings had disappeared from the walls.

“You almost done packing?” I asked.

“All but the office,” Hidaka said. “Not that we did much of it ourselves. We had the moving company come in a few times.”

“Where’re you going to sleep tonight?”

“I made a reservation at a hotel. The Crown. Except, I might end up sleeping here anyway.”

We went into his office. It was decent size and looked oddly vacant with just a computer, a desk, and a small bookshelf remaining.

“I take it you’ve got a deadline tomorrow?”

Hidaka frowned and nodded. “Yeah, it’s the last in a series. I have to send it to my publisher by fax tonight, if you can believe that. That’s why I haven’t turned off the phones yet.”

“How many pages do you have left to write?”

“Thirty or so. I’ll make it.”

We sat in a couple of chairs facing each other by the corner of the desk. Rie came in, bringing the coffee.

“I wonder how the weather is in Vancouver. It’s got to be colder than here,” I said to both of them.

“It’s a completely different latitude, so it’s definitely colder.”

“But it’s nice that it’ll be cool in the summer,” Rie added. “I never liked having to run the air-conditioning all the time.”

“I’d like to think that a cool breeze through the office will help me get more work done, but we both know that’s not going to happen,” Hidaka said with a grin.

“You should definitely come visit us, Osamu. We’ll take you on a tour,” Rie offered.

“Thanks. I’ll take you up on that.”

“Please do.” Rie bowed slightly. “I’ll leave you two to it, then.” She headed back downstairs.

Hidaka stood, coffee cup in hand, and went over to the window. “I’m glad I got to see the cherry tree in full bloom at least.”

“Hey, if it blooms nice next year, I’ll take a picture and send it to you in Canada. Do they have cherry trees over there?”

“No idea. I know there’s none near the place I’ll be living, at least.” He took a sip of his coffee.

“That reminds me. There was a woman in your garden a little while ago, before you got here.” At first, I’d been hesitant to tell him.

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