どちらかが彼女を殺した, reading notes
Comment 1

どちらかが彼女を殺した~第2章~3

This is the last part of chapter 2 and it goes from page 76 to 96. (See my notes on the previous part)

Inspector Kaga finally entered the stage at the end of the previous part. Even if he did appear earlier, we didn’t know it was him (well, I guess that, like me, every fan of Kaga knew he was the detective looking so scrupulously at those receipts).

I realize that I really like Kaga, his cool and clear way of thinking, the thoroughness with which he digs every details, his discreet way of asking the good questions and his overall personality. He does have a painful episode in his past, but it didn’t lead him to alcoholism, unpleasantness or depression.

Higashino Keigo’s way of writing is such that the reader cannot always follow Kaga’s thoughts. There are several focalizations in his novel, the reader is not always following the detective work, and is not always allowed in Kaga’s head. For example, at the beginning of this part, we still don’t know what Kaga thinks of the case or why he called to see Yasumasa. Let’s find out!

  • 巡査部長・じゅんさぶちょう sergeant. That’s Kaga’s police rank, written on his card.
  • 刺激・しげき stimulus. It is used together with 記憶・きおく to say that his memory is being solicited. Yasumasa remembers Kaga’s name and face but can’t recall from where.

Kaga mentions his father, who is also policeman. Kaga’s relation with his father is mainly deal with in the first novel of the series 「卒業」・そつぎょう

  • 空き袋・あきぶくろ empty package
  • 抜かりなく・ぬかりなく with no slip, no oversight. Thinking of everything and making no mistake
  • ごくたまに on rare occasions

When Kaga points out that Sonoko certainly had some previous knowledge of how to die from electrocution without pain, he uses the word 予備知識・よびちしき which I learnt while reading the precedent part of the novel. I am very glad when a word I have just learnt pops up again!

  • 近寄りがたい・ちかよりがたい be hard to approach. Using the grammar “がたい” (hard, difficult to)
  • 合点・がてん agreement, understanding, assent
  • 炬燵・こたつ Kotatsu. I was familiar with the word, but not with the kanji.
  • 繋ぐ・つなぐ to connect. Again, known word, unknown kanji…
  • 皮膜・ひまく coating, film, membrane
  • 削り滓・けずりかす shavings
  • 瞼・まぶた means eyelid, but 瞼に浮かぶ・まぶたにうかぶ means “come, flash across one’s mind”
  • 妥当・だとう valid, proper, right, appropriate
  • 銘柄・めいがら brand (here, of wine)
  • 好む・このむ to like, to prefer
  • 平坦・へいたん even, flat
  • 細波・さざなみ ripple on water. (Certainly a way to say that Kaga’s questions are becoming dangerous)
  • 気取る・けどる to suspect, to sense
  • とどまる means, to remain, to stay, to abide. I think it is used to say that Yasumasa thought of saying that Sonoko threw the rest of the wine in the sink but it remained a thought, i.e. he didn’t say it.
  • 舐める・なめる means to lick, but here, obviously, it has another meaning which is: underestimate, make light of.
  • 飲みかけ・のみかけ means “partially consuming a drink” but what Yasumasa wants to say is that Sonoko drank the bottle in several times.
  • 宵越し・よいごし kept overnight
  • 通・つう connoisseur. This time I knew the kanji (and was wondering what it was doing here), but didn’t know the word… comme quoi !

So that’s why Kaga was dissecting the receipts! I like the way he doesn’t let himself be satisfied with vague answers and keep digging until what is plausible becomes likely. Higashino Keigo really created a unique detective figure, a shame Kaga’s series isn’t more translated…

  • 几帳面・きちょうめん methodical, punctual, steady
  • 家計簿・かけいぼ household account book
  • 貰う・もらう First time I see this verb written in kanji…
  • 貰い物・もらいもの received present, gift.
  • 根掘り葉掘り・ねほりはほり thoroughly, persistently, through-and-through
  • こめかみ temple
  • 素早く・すばやく quickly
  • 先読み・さきよみ foreseeing, anticipating
  • 致命傷・ちめいしょう fatal wound
  • 漠然・ばくぜん obscure, vague, equivocal
  • 苛立ち・いらだち irritation
  • 馴染む・なじむ to fit in, to adapt oneself

“孤独に耐えられなかった…” A good reminder that 耐える・たえる (to bear, to stand, to endure) is used with に and not を. Reading is a good way to change grammar into language.

  • 襲う・おそう to assail, to strike, to attack
  • 引き金・ひきがね trigger
  • 出来事・できごと incident, affair
  • 提起・ていき raise a question
  • 答弁・とうべん response, defense
  • 気が回る・きがまわる to be attentive to small details
  • 不服・ふふく dissatisfaction, discontent
  • 掘り下げる・ほりさげる to investigate further, to get to the bottom of
  • 警戒心・けいかいしん wariness, distrust
  • 罠・わな trap, subterfuge
  • 乾燥・かんそう dryness

I really appreciate the author’s style to not let the reader know what Kaga has on his mind. The thing with the sink is simply brilliant!

  • 意表・いひょう surprise, something unexpected
  • 伝票・でんぴょう sales slip
  • 翻す・ひるがえす to turn over, to turn around
  • 指摘・してき pointing out
  • 経緯・いきさつ sequence of events, chronology, circumstances, how it started, how things got this way
  • 瞬き・まばたき blink of eyes
  • 不審・ふしん doubt, question, distrust, suspicion
  • 緩める・ゆるめる to loosen, to slow down
  • 密室・みっしつ room that cannot be entered because it’s locked from the inside
  • 得策・とくさく profitable plan. This word already appeared in the first part of the second chapter, when Yasumasa asks himself whether it would be profitable to handle the second key to the police
  • 反芻・はんすう Turning over in one’s mind
  • 裏付け・うらづけ backing, support
  • 付着・ふちゃく sticking to
  • 錆止め・さびどめ anti-corrosive
  • 委ねる・ゆだねる to entrust a matter to, to leave to
  • 無念・むねん chagrin
  • 肝心・かんじん essential, fundamental

At the end of chapter 2, we know what Yasumasa has in mind and how he came to his conclusions. It seems clear, though, that he didn’t convince Kaga.

The previous book of the Kaga series was such a masterpiece that I was afraid this one should seem a little fade. But it’s not 😀

1 Comment

  1. Pingback: どちらかが彼女を殺した~3章~1 – Inside That Japanese Book

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