The Aosawa Murders
Selected by NYT as one of MOST NOTABLE BOOKS of 2020.
On a stormy summer day the Aosawas, owners of a prominent local hospital, host a large birthday party. The occasion turns into tragedy when 17 people die from cyanide in their drinks. The only surviving links to what might have happened are a cryptic verse that could be the killer's, and the physician's bewitching blind daughter, Hisako, the only person spared injury.
But the youth who emerges as the prime suspect commits suicide that October, effectively sealing his guilt while consigning his motives to mystery. The police are convinced that Hisako had a role in the crime, as are many in the town, including the author of a bestselling book about the murders written a decade after the incident, who was herself a childhood friend of Hisako' and witness to the discovery of the murders. The truth is revealed through a skilful juggling of testimony by different voices: family members, witnesses and neighbours, police investigators and of course the mesmerizing Hisako herself.
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About the Author
PW STARRED REVIEW: ' An enigmatic and haunting crime novel. Onda's unusual narrative technique, which presents differing perspectives by giving only the responses to the interviewer's questions, enhances the nesting-doll plot. American readers will appreciate why this puzzle mystery won the annual Mystery Writers of Japan Award for Fiction.'
TIMES (London): ' The hot and humid atmosphere of the coastal town almost becomes a character in itself. The fascinating result is rich and strange, utterly absorbing. Onda makes you aware of "another, different world below the surface of this one.'
KIRKUS STARRED REVIEW: ' The domino effect of the murder on the community and the nation, as well as the swirl of uncertainty concerning the way its narratives are shaped, gives the book a striking resonance. This dark and dazzling novel defies easy categorization but consistently tantalizes and surprises.'
Mrs Peabody Investigates: ' The minute I saw this ravishing book cover, I wanted a copy. And - oh happy day - it's turned out to be one of my most satisfying crime reads of the year.'
ForeWord Reviews: ' Intoxicating details and shiver-inducing propositions hold the full story at a careful distance; when the truth emerges, it's both partial and staggering. The Aosawa Murders is an intricate and devastating search for the facts behind a complicated crime.'
NY Journal of Books: ' The genius of this novel is that it cultivates a nonstop air of menace. Practically every character comes off like a potential murderer.'