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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction

Silent Parade

Higashino Keigo

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To purchase Silent Parade

Title: Silent Parade
Author: Higashino Keigo
Genre: Novel
Written: 2018 (Eng. 2021)
Length: 344 pages
Original in: Japanese
Availability: Silent Parade - US
Silent Parade - UK
Silent Parade - Canada
  • Japanese title: 沈黙のパレード
  • Translated by Giles Murray
  • A volume in the Detective Galileo series

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Our Assessment:

B : a fairly creative take, quite well presented

See our review for fuller assessment.

Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
Publishers Weekly A 21/9/2021 .
Wall St. Journal . 14/1/2022 Tom Nolan

  From the Reviews:
  • "Higashino never allows plot to overwhelm his characterizations and explores the unintended consequences of law enforcement reliance on confessions to obtain convictions. In addition to brilliant twists, he provides shout-outs to impossible crime fiction classics. Golden age fans will welcome this flawless blend of police procedural and fair-play detection." - Publishers Weekly

  • "With its stopwatch timing, locked-room murder and perplexing abundance of alibis, the book acknowledges such early genre masters as Christie and Conan Doyle." - Tom Nolan, Wall Street Journal

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The complete review's Review:

       Silent Parade begins with not one but two old crimes. A fire in a house in a small town in Shizuoka prefecture uncovers the remains of two bodies, one the owner of the house that had long been seen as: "one of those so-called trash houses -- a house so overflowing with junk that it becomes a local landmark and eyesore", the other of a young woman who had gone missing three years earlier, Saori Namiki. It's a mystery how Saori might have ended up in that house where her remains were found -- except for one fact: the stepson of the house-owner turns out to be Kanichi Hasunuma. As Detective Chief Inspector Kusanagi asks when he hears the name: "Is it ... that Hasunuma ?"
       Oh, yes, it is. That Hasunuma is etched in their minds from a case from some two decades earlier, when he had been put on trial for the murder of another young woman -- and, despite overwhelming (but circumstantial) evidence of his guilt, been found not guilty. (This is extremely unusual: the conviction rate in Japan of cases that go to trial is practically 100% -- though heavily reliant on confessions, which defendants are often strongly pressured into making.) Kusanagi had been involved in that case; he had even visited the house that has now burned down.
       The daughter of a couple that run a restaurant, Saori had known Hasunuma; indeed, her family had barred him from their restaurant for bothering her. These connections, and his history, strongly suggest that Hasunuma was behind her disappearance and murder -- but having been burned once, the police are cautious in their approach and Hasunuma is careful in what little he says to them, making it hard to build up a case against him. He had learned long ago -- and used to good effect in his first trial -- that silence is the best policy when questioned about his possible involvement in a crime: he understands that in the Japanese system:

The confession is the king of evidence. And without the king, the cops can't do a thing.
       Saori had been a talented singer, and was being guided by impresario Naoki Niikura, but died before she could ever really show off her talents. She also had a boyfriend at the time, Tomoya Takagaki -- though her parents didn't know about him yet. With the discovery of her body they and the Namikis again confront the great loss they suffered three years earlier. Obviously, they also want to see justice done -- but despite such a strong suspect in her disappearance and death, the police only move slowly in holding Hasunuma to account. So slowly that someone gets to it first .....
       The Tokyo neighborhood where the Namikis have their restaurant is famous for an annual parade, where: "people get dressed up and re-create a scene from a famous story", with prizes for the best teams. It is on the day of the parade -- when the streets are bustling -- that Hasunuma is found dead, in the small quarters he's recently been sharing with an old colleague. Aside from initial difficulties in figuring out just what led to Hasunuma's death, the police have trouble figuring out who could have done it. There are enough suspects -- beginning with Saori's family -- but they all seem to have alibis. More and more it looks like the death was a carefully choreographed group action -- but the details of what actually transpired are difficult for the police to piece together.
       One outsider who takes an interest in the case is the physics professor nicknamed 'Detective Galileo', Manabu Yukawa. An old friend of Chief Inspector Kusanagi (and Detective Sergeant Kaoru Utsumi, who is also on the case), he's recently returned from a stint in the United States, and soon enough he's adding his two cents to the investigation -- and become a regular at the Namikis' restaurant. He nudges the police in some right directions, but he maintains an independent streak, satisfying his own curiosity but careful as to just how much of what he figures out he passes on.
       It all makes for a somewhat curious novel. It seems fairly clear that Hasunuma did kill the two young women, all those years apart, and similarly clear then that a group of people exacted vengeance, the only real questions being how did they all did what they did. Fortunately, there is more to it than that, as quite a few things turn out to be not exactly what they initially seemed -- and more interesting at that. It makes for a quite satisfying resolution, once everything has been explained (not least in some more surprising connections among those involved) -- even if the road there is occasionally a bit rocky.
       Much of the novel depends on the characters, and their relationships with the various deceased. Many feel strongly about Saori's tragic death, the loss of beloved daughter, girlfriend, and aspiring music-star hitting the various characters hard -- with the many regulars at the restaurant her parents own also very supportive of the family. Higashino does the backstories of almost all of those involved well -- but the one black hole at the heart of the story is Hasunuma, presented as truly evil (and not having much to say to the police), but without sufficient character-building there, making him almost a cartoon villain (and victim).
       The closed-room murder mystery is an enjoyable nod to older classic crime stories, and 'Detective Galileo' works well as a figure separate from the different interest-groups -- the police and the various suspects --, making for a quite entertaining mystery, even as with its you-(and-the-police-)sort-of-know-whodunnit (or at least you think so, for almost the entire novel) it has a bit of an odd pacing. But at least Higashino does throw in some decent twists to shake things up as well.
       If a bit lumpy, Silent Parade is still a quite enjoyable read.

- M.A.Orthofer, 18 December 2021

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Silent Parade: Reviews: Other books by Higashino Keigo under review: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Japanese author Higashino Keigo (東野圭吾) was born in 1958.

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© 2021-2022 the complete review

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