Title: 『祈りの幕が下りる時』 (いのりのまくがおりるとき)
Author: Keigo HIGASHINO (東野圭吾)
Published by 講談社文庫
This is the tenth book in the Kaga series (加賀恭一郎シリーズ). As far as I know, this is the last one on the series for now, though a spin-off was released in 2019: 『希望の糸』. The main character is Kaga’s cousin who also appears in three books of the main series.
As always when it comes to the Kaga series, this book is excellent. The case is great, the investigation engrossing and the characters have more depth than in most crime fiction. The story is also very important for Kaga himself, and while it is not necessary, reading the previous books first might be better to fully appreciate it.
To me, this book was simply perfect. The police investigation was suspenseful, the characters were easy to identify with, and the story was complex but very powerful.
As often with the Kaga series, this book is not only about murder and finding the culprit. It is about understanding people and why they act like they do, how they found themselves involved in a murder case. I like that there is no good or bad people, but that what determines the characters’ actions is more complex and often anchored in their past.
In this story, we also learn a lot about Kaga’s mother, who had been mentioned previously but about whom we knew very little. With 『悪意』 that reveals why Kaga left the educational field to enter the police and 『赤い指』 that is about Kaga’s father, 『祈りの幕が下りる時』 is one of the books that contain the most elements relative to Kaga and his family. While the story can be read independently, it does add to the reading experience to have read previous titles before this one. I personally recommend to at least read the books following 『赤い指』 in order: 『赤い指』, 『新参者』, 『麒麟の翼』, 『祈りの幕が下りる時』.
Elements about Kaga’s mother are so well integrated in the case that the pace of the investigation never suffers from passages that dig into the past. It makes for an engrossing read from beginning to end, but if you are a fan of Kaga as a character and want to know more about his past and his family, this is book is simply a delight.
I really hope that there will be more books in the series. At the same time, this one does wrap up the series very well, so it also makes for a perfect last book.