Book review: 『探偵さえいなければ』 by Tokuya Higashigawa


Title: 『探偵さえいなければ』(たんていさえいなければ)
Author: Tokuya HIGASHIGAWA (東川篤哉)
Published by 光文社文庫
292 pages

『探偵さえいなければ』is the eighth and most recent book in the Ikagawa city series (烏賊川市シリーズ). This book is a collection of short stories.


I love humour in crime fiction, but it is always hard to find good humoristic books about murder that both make the reader smile or laugh and deliver a good crime story. 『探偵さえいなければ』 is just that. It is a delightful read that was very funny, plays with the codes of crime fiction but still offers suspenseful stories about solving a murder or get away with it.

The book is a collection of five short stories that take place in Ikagawa, a place where there always seems to be a murder on the making somewhere. Most stories feature detective Ukai who might well become one of my favourite fictional detectives. As an avid reader of murder stories, I have encountered a lot of different detectives, but the “bad” detective who somehow manages to solves cases in spite of his questionable deduction skills… that feels new and exciting!! 

There is a lot of humour in the stories, from Ukai’s harebrained deductions to perilous alibis settings, there are numerous comical scenes and effects. All short stories were equally good and I was completely engrossed in each of them.

Unfortunately, I haven’t read the other books of the series before reading this one. It is totally fine to read 『探偵さえいなければ』without having read the previous books, but I would still recommend to read the series in order as the author does hint at some previous cases and there are recurring characters.

This book belongs to my best reads this year, and I will definitely read the whole Ikagawa series!

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