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The Final Curtain

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Member Reviews

I always enjoy Keigo Higashino’s books, and “The Final Curtain” did not disappoint. Unlike some of his other books where the reveal happens all at once, this time he lets the reader piece together the case bit by bit. For fans of Keigo Higashino, this book will also delight you with some more insight into detective Kaga and his past.

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cultural-differences, cultural-exploration, cultural-heritage, due-diligence, unputdownable, thriller, suspense, Japan, law-enforcement, procedural, multiple-murder, murder-investigation, religious-practices, relationships, theatre, detective, crime-fiction, sly-humor, contemporary, family*****

Detective Kaga is a Homicide Detective in Tokyo who is meticulous and exceptional. At the beginning he is made aware of the demise of his estranged mother by apparent natural causes. Then the story moves forward a number of years and centers on several murders in Tokyo which seem related to one another but are otherwise inexplicable. So he begins his meticulous investigation and follows through some peculiar twists and devious red herrings. The publisher's blurb is really very helpful in this case. What is best here--the investigation, the insight into Japanese life and customs, insight into religious practices? Maybe all of the above plus just how alike people (esp law enforcement) are regardless of all else.
I requested and received an ebook copy from St. Martin's Press/Minotaur Books via NetGalley. Thank you! And many thanks to translator Giles Murray (Japanese to English).
Looking forward to getting an audio copy because of the pronunciations which defy me.

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A woman is found strangled in an apartment where she had no known reason to be.

When Michiko Oshitani is found dead in a Tokyo apartment, her friends and colleagues are beyond confused. She lived and worked far from Tokyo, and no one has any idea why she would be there in the first place. As the police investigate, they find that the man who rents the apartment has disappeared….and he had rented the apartment under a false name. Elsewhere in Tokyo another person is found strangled to death, but it is a homeless man in an encampment. The police don’t feel that the two deaths are connected at first, with nothing but proximity of date in common, but they may need to reevaluate that position.
Investigating Michiko’s murder is Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department detective Matsumiya. The more he and his partner look into the victim’s life, the less sense her death makes. She seemingly had no reason to be in Tokyo, and lived the sort of life that would give no one cause to want to kill her. Finally, a connection is discovered….Michiko was friendly as a child with classmate Hiromi Asai, who survived a tumultuous childhood to become a well known and respected actress, playwright and theatre director. Hiromi’s latest play had opened at a famed Tokyo theatre on the same weekend that Michiko was murdered….could the reason for Michiko’s death be buried in the past? Matsumiya turns to his cousin Kyoichiro Kaga, formerly a detective with the TMPD and now with the detective bureau in Nihonbashi Precinct, for advice. Kaga is legendary within the department for his abilities in solving crimes with little evidence available, and Michiko’s case certainly seems to fall into that category. Interestingly, Kaga has a connection to Hiromi Asai; will it be a help or a barrier to solving the crime? The past weighs heavily on this latest mystery, and may hold clues to some of the mysteries of Kaga’s own past.
The Kaga mysteries are police procedurals that are reminiscent of the golden age of detective fiction….Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, and more recently P. D. James. No car chases, no tough guy antics, not even any foul language….just people committed to doing the necessary painstaking work to find justice for the victims of a crime. Kaga is searching for answers about his own family as he helps others to find clarity, and in this fourth book in the series he may just find some. This is the second novel in the series that I have had the opportunity to read, and i enjoyed it tremendously. The interactions between Kaga and Matsumiya, the pull that the past has over people in the present, and the role of family in framing life in Japan combine to make an intriguing mystery that unfolds gradually and holds its fair share of surprises. I highly recommend both The Final Curtain and the other books in the Kaga series to lovers of classic detective fiction. Many thanks to NetGalley and St Martin’s Press/Minotaur Books for allowing me access to an advanced reader’s copy of this fantastic installment in a terrific series.

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Coming into this series later on, I was surprisingly pleased with the ease in which I was able to jump in. The translation has also been done extremely well, and it is written as a straightforward police procedural. Through the twisted maze of Michiko Oshintani's death, Detective Kaga puts bits and pieces together from different people and timelines to create one big picture that is beyond shocking. I was surprised by the ending of this story and the intricacies that went into making and unraveling it.

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I liked this even better than the previous entry I'd read from this author (The Devotion of Suspect X)! Though it is the finale to the series, I do not think you need to have read anything prior to it to enjoy. It was a true mystery in the police procedural style, and all around just well written, entertaining crime fiction

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Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin's Press, and Minotaur Books for this ARC of The Final Curtain! What a riveting mystery book! I really enjoyed it! For me this was not a quick read. I really had to take my time because I wanted to pay close attention to details and to the rich complexities of the plot. Worth every second I spent! Be prepared to think critically. Keigo Higashino's intelligence is on full display with The Final Curtain. This book has great twists & turns and well-developed characters, which will keep any mystery lover hooked until the end. I just wish I was able to read it in its original language. I definitely think this translation is pretty good in that I found the book to be well-written & engaging, but obviously I can't make a comparison between it and the original. Definitely recommending The Final Curtain to any fans of a good mystery novel.

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I requested this one because it might be an upcoming title I would like to review on my Youtube Channel. However, after reading the first several chapters I have determined that this book does not suit my tastes. So I decided to DNF this one.

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Thank you, NetGalley and St. Martin's Press, Minotaur Books for the copy of The Final Curtain by Keigo Higashino. It has been a while since I have read a straight-up mystery novel, not a cozy or a thriller, and now I want to read more because this one had a compelling story and the writing was great. When the clues started to come together the book got really exciting. If you’re looking for a book with a tight plot, well-sketched characters, and beautiful writing, this is the book for you!

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I think I love this author. Higashino’s characters and plot are more complex and have more depth than what I normally read in the genre (murder mystery/police procedural).

A clearly disturbed woman, Yuriko Tajima, is running or hiding from her past. She is offered a job by a sympathetic tavern owner, Yasuyo Miyamoto, who discerns the women’s stress and takes her under her wing. Although a very private person, she blends in quickly and is well-liked by the patrons, Shunichi Watabe, in particular. Yuriko has left a husband and small son to begin a life on her own. Details of this woman’s background and other elements of her story are revealed slowly. The reader watches as Yuriko withers away, and is found dead in a tiny, bleak flat, by Yasuyo who became worried when the former did not show up to work for several days/weeks. All of Yasuyo’s efforts to locate Yuriko’s family are in vain. Yasuyo finally manages to track down Shunichi Watabe a man with whom Yuriko had clearly been involved with for several years. Shunichi, like Yuriko, is a private person and somewhat of a mystery. Although he was able to assist Yasuyo in contacting Yuriko’s son, he immediately disappeared without a trace thereafter. The son turned out to be none other than Detective Kaga. This is where Detective Kaga comes into the picture. It turns out that the dead woman was his mother who abandoned him and his father many years earlier. Skip forward a decade and two other mysterious deaths appear to have some connection, and Kaga is brought into the investigation by his cousin, Matsumiya, a detection with the Tokyo Police Department.

Apart from several pages toward the end, this is not a page flipper but rather a plot to reflect upon. It is a police procedural where multiple unexplained deaths, only one of natural causes, converge to complete a story, and the victims (and suspects) have at least one alias each. I enjoyed reading how much thought and leg work went into solving the mystery/ies. Tracking down suspects, some from over a decade earlier, felt like methodically picking apart three intertwined skeins of knotted yarn. Only after separating all the strands did every element of the plot become clear.

There is a long list of characters by name and description at the start of the novel (some already noted above) which is very useful, especially when trying to write this review (LOL). Names like Aromi Kadokura, Matsyo Kashikawa, Naemuri, Matsumiya….do not naturally trip off my tongue, and there are several alias’ and knicknames for the characters in the novel. Although Kaga ultimately solves the key to several of the mysteries, his cousin Matsumiya is a major player in the novel…maybe prep for a spin-off?

I requested this book because I thought I would like to read a mystery/police procedural that was written by a popular writer from the Far East (Japan), for possibly a different “take” on the genre. I was not disappointed and where there were many similarities to western police procedurals, I found that there were also many differences in the way the detectives viewed and interacted with one another. Higashino’s style was different and refreshing.

That being said, I felt that if this was the final book in the series (at least that is what I think), it might be a good idea to first read an earlier book in the series. I read what I think was the first book, Malice, and absolutely loved it. The character of Kaga does not feature as predominantly in this book as he did in Malice, yet this is again, I think, the final curtain on Detective Kaga. All these I thinks stem from the confusing attributing blurbs I read about the series, as opposed to the order appearing in the author’s bibliographies, on GR, and my libraries.

Setting aside my befuddlement (and some of you may have noticed that I have trouble setting anything aside), I allowed myself to drift, reveling in the weave and complexity of the author’s plots. I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to read an Advance Reader Copy of this title, so, not wishing to be petty, I won’t delve into the astonishing number of typos and drafting errors I thought I was reading and which will presumably be ironed out before publication. At one point I started highlighting for myself, thinking maybe I should let the publisher know but on reflection I thought, what business does this lowly reader have interfering with the pros?

Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press Minotaur for an ARC of this novel, which I loved. I have already ordered three more books by this author from my libraries.

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It’s been a long time since I’ve read any Japanese literature. This was a good mystery, but there are so many characters that it was quite confusing at times. I should have gone back to the character list at the beginning, but since I’m reading an ARC I kind of forgot that it was actually there. I appreciated that there weren’t a lot of unnecessary details; every word was integral to the plot. The wording seemed a little off in places, but it’s probably because I’m American and the translator is British. Overall, I’m glad I read this book since I’d been wanting to read a book set in Japan. I think I would have appreciated it more if I had a better grasp on Japanese geography and on all the different characters.

I received an advanced readers copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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The Final Curtain
By Keigo Higashino

Having just read a very British murder mystery/police procedural, I was very interested to read a very Japanese version. The story here takes place over several years. It involves multiple characters and is much more nuanced than the British version.

Japanese society is very polite and the interactions between police and the public reflect a very considered and calm way of dealing with people. The western world's societies are often aggressive and the pace is frantic. The sense of competition is foremost. While there certainly is competition among the police in this book, the sense of matters being resolved in time and no need to rush is very much present here.

Not being well versed in Japanese society, I found the number of broken relationships and divorces unsettling. The fact that they seemed to be widely accepted and not considered scandalous surprised me. The very strong structure of the police force was also surprising. But I felt I learned a lot about the Japanese from this book.

I had only one problem with the book – and it is my problem, not the author's. I had a hard time with all the long names of both people and places (and bridges!).

I really liked that the author managed to tie up all the various plot lines so well that I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a good mystery and a crash course in Japanese culture.

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This is a book where paying close attention is important, especially since several related crimes span decades. Early on we learn of Detective Kaga's of personal loss when his mother disappears with no explanation. He and his father pass the years without knowing why or even if she might still be alive. As an adult he is contacted with news of his mother unexpectedly. And thus begins a convoluted set of circumstances and related crimes. I prefer not to go into any more detail in case another reader's pleasure would be lessened. I highly recommend this novel and suggest a slow, careful reading for full enjoyment. Japanese mysteries are special in my opinion and this one certainly proves my point.

Thanks to NetGalley and Minotaur for my chance to read this book prior to publication.

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Thanks to Minotaur Books and NetGalley for an advanced copy to read in exchange for an honest review! This book will be published in December 2023.

Kaga's mother died ten years ago. Now it seems her death is possibly tied to not one but two murders in Tokyo. Is Detective Kaga's mother involved? If so, how? Kaga has been searching for answers for the past decade, but these new developments make him wonder if he really wants to know the answers....

I did not realize this book was part of a series when I picked it up, but that did not hinder my enjoyment of it. Mostly, I was intrigued by the description and I knew it was translated from Japanese. THE FINAL CURTAIN was a puzzler of a mystery. It's slow but consistent pacing reminded me of books from another era (think Agatha Christie, John Dickson Carr, Gaston LaRoux, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle). It’s more of a police procedural than anything else, and I became fully invested in finding out what happened. If you also enjoy complex mysteries, this book is for you! I’m now off to try and find the rest of the Detective Kaga series to read.

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The Final Curtain
The newest translated Detective Kaga story showcases his extraordinary cleverness once again and also has heart-wrenching details of what happened in his early life. It was great to see him working with his cousin again too.

The story is centered around two separately murdered people who are found in unusually suspicious circumstances. I found it very interesting how much time/manpower was put into trying to solve these murders.

Publications date 12/12/23

Special thanks to NetGalley and St Martins Press for the advance reader copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion.

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The Final Curtain exploration of redemption is engrossing as is the exploration of human behavior in order in different relationship types, with an emphasis on parent child .Higashino's storytelling shines brightly in The Final Curtain. He expertly navigates a complex narrative filled with twists and turns. The author invites readers to wear the hat of a detective, challenging them to decipher the intricate puzzle alongside the characters. The subtlety and slight formality energy enhances the intrigue. The satisfaction when all the pieces come together is immensely rewarding, making this book a real page-turner. I enjoyed the pacing as it added to the drama of the reveal in the final act. Kaga's journey to solve the murder-mysteries is also a journey of self-discovery. He must confront his own past and come to terms with the loss of his mother.
The Final Curtain is the fourth and final installment to this series, however it can stand on its own and the exposition is seamlessly woven in. The Final Curtain is a must-read for fans of crime fiction. It is a well-written and suspenseful novel with complex characters and a satisfying ending.

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This is a fairly interesting book. In essence it's a police procedural, but set in Japan. It was originally written in Japanese. It follows people's lives over a period of about thirty years, from troubled childhoods to the "present day". In some rather strange ways lives of several disparate people become entangled.

A young woman is found strangled, and near by, a seeming derelict has been burned up in his little shack. Are they related? Inspector Kyoichiro Kaga seems to think so and he and his cousin, Shuhei Matsumiya, work to find the relating threads. One thread leads to a famous actress, now playwright and director, Hiromi Kadokura. I won't go into the story further, suffice to say, things are somewhat of a tangled mess, and it takes quite some time and clever pondering to unravel them.

One problem this book has is that it doesn't appear to be very well written. I don't know if the problem is with the original writing in Japanese or with the translation. It is also true, of course, that one won't get the same quality of writing when reading Mickey Spillane or Dennis Lehane than one gets from reading Willa Cather, Jane Austen, or Charles Dickens, but this didn't even seem up to the low standards of Lehane. I've read quite a number of Japanese books in translation, virtually all of Murakami along with selections from Kenzaburo Oe, Junichiro Tanizaki, Masuji Ibuse, Yasunari Kawabata, Natsuma Soseki, and one or two others. I never noticed slightly stilted or slightly "off" writing in any of these other authors, but in this book, the writing was wooden, and a number of the idiomatic phrases seemed somewhat inapt for the context. But, if you can get past the infelicitous writing, the story can be rather gripping in places.

Because of the writing issues, the book is more properly rated at 3*+ rather than 4*, but GoodReads won't allow such a distinction.

#TheFinalCurtain #NetGalley

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Keigo Higashino has once again woven a breathtaking mystery in "The Final Curtain." This intricately crafted novel takes readers on a journey through the labyrinthine streets of Tokyo, where a confounding murder becomes intertwined with the haunting disappearance of Detective Kaga's own mother.

At the heart of "The Final Curtain" is a mystery that defies easy solutions. Higashino's storytelling shines brightly as he expertly navigates a complex narrative filled with secrets, misdirections, and unexpected twists. The author invites readers to wear the hat of a detective, challenging them to decipher the intricate puzzle alongside the characters. The satisfaction of piecing together the mystery is immensely rewarding, making this book a real page-turner.

Detective Kyoichiro Kaga, a character familiar to fans of Higashino's work, is a brilliantly realized protagonist with a complex past and an unwavering commitment to uncovering the truth. As readers accompany Kaga on his relentless quest for justice, they will find themselves emotionally invested in his journey. The supporting characters, each harboring their own motivations and secrets, add depth and intrigue.

Higashino's prose is elegant and evocative, transporting readers to the bustling streets of Tokyo and immersing them in the city's vibrant atmosphere. The author's vivid descriptions and attention to detail bring the setting to life, making Tokyo itself a character. This level of immersion adds layers of richness.

The novel explores profound themes of truth, deception, and the complexities of human nature. Higashino reveals the lengths people will go to protect their secrets, prompting readers to consider moral and ethical dilemmas. The story encourages reflection on the nature of justice and the consequences of actions, making it not just a mystery but a thought-provoking exploration of the human psyche.

Keigo Higashino has crafted a cerebral and emotional mystery that challenges readers to think critically and embrace the unexpected. His storytelling captivates and provokes thought, making it a perfect choice for fans of intellectually stimulating mysteries.

Higashino's storytelling brilliance is on full display in this novel, leaving readers in awe of his genius.

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Many thanks to NetGalley and Minotaur Books for giving me this ARC. I've read one other Keigo Higashino book and love his writing style. This one is supposed to be #4 of the Detective Kaga series although its possible there are more than 4, unfortunately not all his books are translated, and then when they are, they're not always in order. Having said that, you do not need to read any of the preceding books to read The Final Curtain. The Tokyo police are investigating a homicide. A dead woman is found in the apartment of a man who has disappeared. A homeless man is found dead around the same time. Officer Matsumiya suspects there may be a connection. Meanwhile, Detective Kaga, from another Tokyo division gets pulled into the case and the whole mystery may be tied into Kaga's mother's past. Lots of clues need to be followed up on, lots of traveling around Japan, and lots of characters that initially are difficult to keep track of, however, this was a super enjoyable mystery/police procedural!

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I am always looking forward to the next Higashino novel, especially the ones featuring Kaga. In this one we get a more of an intimate look into Kaga's past. The Tokyo Metropolitan Police are looking at a double murder in which both unidentified victims have been strangled. Kaga's cousin who is on the homicide taskforce brings the case to Kaga's attention and asks for his help. The mystery is connected to Kaga's mother who ran away when he was twelve and disappeared from his life. As always Higashino keeps the twists and turns coming throughout the story. A great ending for Kaga fans. Thank you NetGalley for my arc.

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"The Final Curtain" was a very enjoyable murder mystery that kept me guessing. I appreciated the intricacy of the plot, and how the author ties together so many different events and people across decades. I also liked that the story delved into Detective Kaga's past, but in a manner where he was learning new things about his mother, not just reliving or revisiting past events.

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