Detective series I am reading

I started a lot of different detective series this last couple of years, but for most of them, I only read one book and never came back to the series. I thought it would be a good idea to make a list of all the series I have started (and a couple I want to try) and focus on continuing them this year.

My plan is to read at least one book of each of the following series this year

In no particular order:

Galileo Series ガリレオシリーズ – Professor Manabu Yukawa 湯川学


Author: Keigo Higashino 東野圭吾

Years: 1998-2018

Books read so far: 5/9

I have mixed feelings towards this series. I loved most of the stories so far, meaning that the murder mystery and the investigation are always good, but I am not a fan of professor Yukawa. I liked the duo Kusanagi-Yukawa present in the first books, but the introduction of a new character (police officer Kaoru) in the 4th volume broke this dynamic. I will continue the series because I love Higashino’s style and I am always there for a good murder story, but I don’t like this series as much as I expected.

Akira Hamura Series 葉村晶シリーズ – Detective Akira Hamura 葉村晶


Author: Nanami Wakatake 若竹七海

Years: 1996-2019

Books read so far: 0/8

I know nothing about this series, except that it looks great, that I love the cover art, and that I want to read it. I bought the last book by accident (I didn’t know it was part of the series), and it came with an adorable booklet showcasing all the books of the series and Akira Hamura’s career history. This made me immediately want to read the whole series!

Hayato Inukai Series 犬養隼人シリーズ – Detective Hayato Inukai 犬養隼人


Author: Shichiri Nakayama 中山七里

Years: 2013-2020

Books read so far: 1/5

I just read one book of the series and liked it, though it is not exactly what I was looking for. It is more a large-scaled police investigation than an investigation based on deduction and skills. In other words, it is more about catching the murderer than finding who is the murderer. I still liked it, and I will certainly keep on reading it, even if it is not a priority right now.

Maison de Police Series メゾン・ド・ポリス – Detective Hiyori Makino 牧野ひより


Author: Miaki Kato 加藤実秋

Years: 2018-2021

Books read so far: 1/6

I found this series funny and refreshing. I really like the concept of the series: retired professionals and experts of crime are living together in a shared house. They help young detective Hiyori Makino to solve her cases. The tone is rather light and humoristic, and while I prefer more serious cases than those presented in the first book, I will continue this series for sure.

Sadato Sakata Series 佐方貞人シリーズ – Prosecutor Sadato Sakata 佐方貞人


Author: Yuko Yuzuki 柚月裕子

Years: 2010-2019

Books read so far: 1/4

To be honest, I don’t know why I didn’t continue this series right away, I remember loving the book I read (it was a collection of short stories). I particularly loved the main character, prosecutor Sadato Sakata, who has a calm personality and a thorough way of investigating. Also, the fact that he is a prosecutor rather than a police officer, makes the series different from the usual detective series. Continuing this series is now on my list of priorities!

Saburo Sugimura Series 杉村三郎シリーズ – Detective Saburo Sugimura 杉村三郎


Author: Miyuki Miyabe 宮部みゆき

Years: 2003-2018

Books read so far: 1/6

I only read the first book of the series, and at that point, Saburo Sugimura is not a detective, just a nice guy who works at his father-in-law company. While he does investigate in this first novel, he does it without any particular means or skill, which made for a rather slow paced and maybe unexcited detective story. However, I loved Saburo Sugimura and there is something in the author’s writing and the atmosphere of the book that makes me want to read the whole series!

Cold Case Seminar Series (?) 継続捜査ゼミシリーズ – Professor Kobayakawa 小早川

Author: Bin Konno 今野敏

Years: 2016-2018

Books read so far: 1/2

There are only two books in this series so far, so I don’t know if it will develop farther, but I hope it will. I loved the first book, I found the idea new and unique: A former police detective now professor solves cold cases with his five students. The book was mainly based on dialogues (the characters discussing the case) and was a quick and easy read. (I don’t know how to translate 継続捜査 so I went for “cold case” but obviously, this is not an official translation).

Kiyoshi Mitarai Series 御手洗潔シリーズ – Detective Kiyoshi Mitarai 御手洗潔


Author: Soji Shimada 島田荘司

Years: 1981-2018

Books read so far: 0/30

I don’t know much about this series, apart from the fact that it is very popular and that several books have been translated into English. I believe that if we count short stories as well, Soji Shimada has written more than 50 stories featuring detective Mitarai. I cannot believe that I still haven’t tried this series!

Ikagawa City Series 烏賊川市シリーズ – Detective Morio Ukai 鵜飼杜夫


Author: Tokuya Higashigawa 東川篤哉

Years: 2002-2017

Books read so far: 3/8

Detective Ukai is certainly the least reliable detective of this list, but that is what makes him so lovable. I love the characters of this series and overall enjoy the tone and atmosphere of the books. I do find that it tends to go too far in the humoristic direction, some passages being very funny and others a bit too much. But overall, I like this series and I will certainly read all the books available.

Kogoro Akechi Series 明智小五郎シリーズ – Detective Kogoro Akechi 明智小五郎

Author: Edogawa Rampo 江戸川乱歩

Years: 1925-1955

Books read so far: 3/12

My reading challenge for 2021 is to read one book of the series each month. I am doing well so far, though the books are getting longer and longer and reading them takes me a lot of time. I love the series, it has a very different tone and style from the contemporary series listed here. I should be able to finish the series this year 🙂

And that’s it! I hope I haven’t forgotten anything. In the next months, I will focus on continuing and maybe finishing some of the series listed above. (And maybe look for new ones as well! Any suggestions are most welcome 😄)

Book review: 『むかし僕が死んだ家』 by Keigo Higashino


Title: 『むかし僕が死んだ家』 (むかしぼくがしんだいえ)
Author: Keigo HIGASHINO (東野圭吾)
Published by 講談社文庫
313 pages

むかし僕が死んだ家 has been translated into French by Manuel Tricoteaux under the title La maison où je suis mort autrefois (Actes Sud).

Short Review

Despite a rather slow beginning, むかし僕が死んだ家 is an engrossing novel about family secrets and a mysterious abandoned house.


I have loved all the books that I have read by Keigo Higashino so far, so I was sure to love this one as well. I was therefore surprised to see that I did not like the beginning of this book. The first chapter (around 100 pages) was quite slow and it took me a while to get into the story. However, starting with the second chapter, the book becomes extremely addictive and I could not put it down.

Interestingly, there are only two characters in this book: our nameless narrator and his ex-girlfriend Sayaka. What annoyed me with the beginning is that we hardly know the two protagonists, but we are asked to follow them in what seems like a strange adventure. The story begins with Sayaka making a weird proposition to our narrator, and as we hardly know the two of them at that point, I had a hard time feeling involved in Sayaka’s quest.

Our protagonists investigate an abandoned house and try to reconstruct the life of the family who lived there… and try to understand why they seem to have suddenly disappeared. The book then turn into a really addictive exploration of the past, filled with mysteries and untold truths. The end is really good too and overall, this book was a real page-turner.

The book also touches upon heavy topics that give more depth to the character of Sayaka, making the book more and more interesting as we get to know her better.

Overall, 『むかし僕が死んだ家』 makes for a quick, entertaining read. If you like stories of abandoned houses and family secrets, you will certainly love this book. It is not a horror story, though it does have a slightly spooky atmosphere to it.

Book review: 『聖女の救済』 by Keigo Higashino


Title: 『聖女の救済』 (せいじょのきゅうさい)
Author: Keigo HIGASHINO (東野圭吾)
Published by 文春文庫
424 pages

This book has been translated into English under the title Salvation of a Saint by Alexander O. Smith. It is the 5th book of the Galileo series, but only the second novel. Interestingly, only the novels of the series have been translated into English. The other books, which are collection of short stories, did not make it to the English-speaking public.

From what I gather, these are the titles of the series in Japanese and English:

Short Stories1探偵ガリレオ
Short Stories2予知夢
Novel3容疑者Xの献身1The Devotion of Suspect X
Short Stories4ガリレオの苦悩
Novel5聖女の救済2Salvation of a Saint
Novel6真夏の方程式3A Midsummer’s Equation
Short Stories7虚像の道化師
Short Stories8禁断の魔術
Novel9沈黙のパレード4Silent Parade

The last English title, Silent Parade, is scheduled for October 2021 I believe.

I think that you will have a different experience if you read the books in English and in Japanese. The two first books in Japanese build Kusanagi and Yukawa’s relationship, so I was very affected, as a reader, when they drift apart in the next books. I don’t believe that this is something one can truly appreciate by reading the novels alone. Similar, Kaoru Utsumi (who works with Kusanagi) was introduced in the fourth book in Japanese. So when you read Salvation of a Saint in English, she is just there, which can be strange because she wasn’t present in The Devotion of Suspect X.

I had read the Devotion of Suspect X and Salvation of a Saint in translation before learning Japanese. So 『聖女の救済』 was a re-read to me, but now I am reading all the books in Japanese in order, so my experience was a bit different.

Short review

An engrossing murder mystery where finding how the murder was committed will give the key to who committed the murder. Very addictive all along with a surprising ending. The only thing that I disliked is the role given to detective Kusanagi, whose attitude in the story was exaggerated and not credible.


Even as a re-read, this book was a real treat for me, and if you like tricky mystery and quasi-impossible murders, you will certainly love it too.

I love the structure of the book and how much it focuses on the case. The whole book is devoted to solving the murder and there is not a single scene that does not contribute to the investigation. The downside is that the characters might lack some depth, as we don’t really learn much about them or spend much time with them outside of their connection to the case. But it makes for an addictive detective story, and I just could not put it down even though I already knew the solution.

The end is really good too, it turns an excellent murder mystery into one of genius.

There is not much action, suspense or many turnarounds in this novel, but if you like more classic investigations based on interviewing people and following every lead, you will love 『聖女の救済』. It is also a tricky and exciting howdunnit.

However, now that I have read all the preceding books in Japanese, there is something that really bothered me in this novel: how Kusanagi is portrayed. Even though the key character of the series is professor Yukawa, alias Galileo, the main character has always been detective Kusanagi. He is the one that the reader follows, he is the one who leads the investigation and asks for Yukawa’s help to solve the scientific part of the case. What I liked in the duo is that, although Yukawa is clearly the most talented one, Kusanagi is a good detective overall.

Kusanagi is my favourite character in the series, and I just could not stand how he was portrayed in 『聖女の救済』. He appears foolish, stubborn, blind and at times detestable. He is rude with Kaoru, his younger female assistant. He is supposed to be an experienced detective, but he lets personal feelings interfere with the case, and acts like an immature schoolboy. Yukawa says himself, talking about Kusanagi: あの男は刑事としてなかなか優秀だよ, but it is hard to believe in this novel.

This is not something that bothered me when I first read the book in translation, but I found it very irritating this time. I wonder if this trend will continue in the following books, but I hope not.

I will soon find out!

Book review: 『密室に向かって撃て!』 by Tokuya Higashigawa


Title: 『密室に向かって撃て!』(みっしつにむかってうて)
Author: Tokuya HIGASHIGAWA (東川篤哉)
Published by 光文社文庫
354 pages

This is the second book in the series 烏賊川市 (Ikagawa), a humoristic, detective series. It is best to read the book in order as the second book refers to the first one at numerous times.

Short Review

Fans of the series and fans of the detective genre will enjoy it, but there are a lot of repetitions, and the humoristic scenes tend to take over the story at the cost of a more engrossing investigation.

Long Review

As much as I loved the first book of the series (密室の鍵貸します), I was a little disappointed in this second book.

Before starting this review, let me say that there are a lot of recurring characters in this second novel, and the book keeps hinting at what happened in the first novel 『密室の鍵貸します』. Fortunately, it does not reveal the solution to the first book, but it does reveals some developments that happen pretty late in the story, so I heartily recommend that you read this series in order.

As a fan of the first book, I was happy to meet the main characters of 密室の鍵貸します again in this second book. However, I found that the tone of the series had changed towards more humoristic scenes.

What bothered me is that some scenes are there in the unique purpose of being funny, but they don’t bring anything to the case. In the first novel, it was the way the investigation was conducted that was funny. It was the way it was told that brought humour to the detective story, not random scenes. In this novel however, we find ourselves with dialogues and situations that are introduced for humoristic purpose but slow down the pace of the novel.

I also found that the story takes forever to kick off. If you have read and enjoyed the first book of the series, you will still enjoy meeting the characters again and spend time with them, but still… I wish that we would get in the heart of the story quicker.

As for the investigation, it was good, but here again, I found that the importance given to comical effects hurt the “detective novel” part of the book. What I love the most in this series is how it breaks with codes of the genre: detective Ukai is not so much a 名探偵 as a 迷探偵, but I found that this concept was pushed to extremes here. As a result, I felt more frustrated than entertained, even though I had found this mechanic very exciting in the first novel.

Finally, there are a lot of repetitions in the story. I felt that the characters kept explaining the developments of the night of the murder over and over again.

To conclude, this novel is more on the humoristic side whereas the first one was more focused on the mystery side, which suited me better. The humour did not always work for me, and the tone was a little too light for my liking. This being said, it was overall an enjoyable read, and I will certainly continue the series.

February wrap up

February has not been a good reading month to me… I don’t know if I picked the wrong books or if I was simply not in a reading mood, but all the books I have read this month have been a disappointment in one way or another. Even though I ended up liking most of them in the end, none has been a great excitement.

My reading goal for February was to read four books:

I did not read アキラとあきら, instead I read 博士の愛した数式 by Yoko Ogawa, and I am still reading Kotaro Isaka’s 『AX』. 

Books I finished

『むかし僕が死んだ家』 by Keigo Higashino

With every book by Higashino that I have read so far, I have been dragged in the story right from the beginning. With 『むかし僕が死んだ家』, it took me 100 pages to get into the story, so it was a disappointment at first. If it was not a Higashino, I would have given up I think. I am glad that I read it until the end though, because the book turned out to be a real page-turner after a while and I devoured the last 2/3 of it!

This book was the easiest to read to me this month. It only took me 3 days to read it.

『一寸法師|何者』 by Edogawa Rampo

I still love Kogoro Akechi, but I did not like this book as much as the first one. The first novella 一寸法師 was not as good as the other ones. This being said, I loved the second one 何者, which has become my favourite read this month.

This book was also more difficult to read than the first one of the series. I found the second novella, 何者, to be relatively easy, but the first one, 一寸法師 had very challenging parts.

The difficult parts are all describing action scenes. I found that the opening scene of the story was particularly difficult compared to the rest of the book or even the first book of the series. Similarly, there is an action scene towards the end that I also found difficult. I can understand what happens, but it is sometimes quite strenuous, especially because these passages tend to be quite long.

I did not have the courage to really work on these parts or look up words.

On the contrary, there are other difficult parts that were quite interesting to study. For example, there is the description of a knot in 何者:


The important thing is to understand that the person who did this knot did not do it well. But I was not able to picture how the knot was made and how it should have been done. I had to look up how to make a knot and I found that what is written 立て結び in the book is certainly 縦結び, which is the wrong knot whereas 直結び is the right knot. This page explains how to make a knot.

『博士の愛した数式』 by Yoko Ogawa

I liked this book overall, but not as much as I expected. I knew a little bit of the story before reading the book, so I knew that mathematics would be present in it, but it was sometimes more advanced than I expected. Overall, this did not prevent me from liking the book, but it did make reading it strenuous at times.

For a work of literary fiction, this book was overall easy to read for me, but passages that involved mathematics and baseball were a real pain. I had to skim through some of the mathematical explanations because I am not super interested in them, and I doubt whether I would have been able to understand them in my mother tongue. And of course, there were a lot of unknown words in Japanese and to be honest, I didn’t feel like looking them up. If I had read this book in my mother tongue, I think that I would have ended up skimming through the same passages as well.

At first, I did make some effort to understand and look up words, but at some point, I decided to give up. There is a passage in particular, that I cannot quote here because it is too long, that I did not have the courage to read thoroughly. It is situated between pages 192 and 198. It is about Fermat’s Last Theorem and Euler’s formula, and no matter in which language you try to explain it to me, it just does not interest me. Worse, my mind completely goes blank, my brain shuts down, and just even trying to understand feels like a incommensurable effort.

I did read those pages, but I did not understand much and did not try to.

My reading tracker tells me that it took me 9 days to read this book, but I read it over a period of 22 days. This means that every time I read this book, I read it for a decent period of time (around 30 pages per session), but there are 13 days where I did not touch the book at all…

Still reading

『AX』 by Kotaro Isaka

I really did not like this book at first, but then it grew on me and I started liking it more and more. In the end, I am still not a fan of the style overall, but now I understand why this book has so many positive reviews.

One thing that I found disappointing is that this book is not really a novel. There are 5 chapters, but they are all separated stories. We do follow the same main characters, and the story follows a chronological order, but each chapter deals with a separate topic, different secondary characters and a complete different story.

I might be mistaken, but to me, the summary tricks you into believing that the book is a novel:


Am I missing something? I wish that the summary had added that the book contains several different stories. On the contrary, the way the summary is told gives the impression that you will read a novel with one main story. In fact, this summarises only one of the five stories.

Well, I guess that calling this book a “novel” is not false, because we do follow the same characters in a chronological order, but the chapters still feel very independent from one another and there are 5 different stories instead of one story that would develop over 5 chapters.

That’s funny, because this is the second book I read by this author, and I had exactly the same problem with the first one: the publisher advertised it as a novel while it was clearly a collection of short stories.

So far, I have read 4 of the 5 stories, but I need to take a break because I find the pattern of the stories a little repetitive.


『幸せは口座に預けることはできません』 by Toru Takamura

This book is the biggest disappointment of all, but it has nothing to do with the story itself… once again, I find that the publisher made a strange choice regarding the summary on the back cover.

The summary reads:


What the summary does not tell us is that our protagonist comes from the future!! A future so far away that the 21st Century is totally unknown to them. Our protagonist is part of a research mission and is sent in our time to work as bank employee. From there, the story certainly fits with the summary.

I don’t understand why this fact is not mentioned in the summary at all! I mean, it is not a detail, it defines the genre of the book! I don’t like and very rarely read SF. I would never have bought this book if the summary said that the protagonist comes from the future! I thought it would be a more realistic depiction of the work at the bank and that our protagonist would just be a normal employee who finds ways to help the people he meets.

As it is, I only read 30 pages and gave up. There is nothing wrong with the book, I just don’t like SF. All the talks about the protagonist’s time and its particularities were just boring for me. It was simply not the kind of story that I wanted to read.


That’s it for February! Maybe I was not in the right mindset, maybe I was just too tired most of the time to really enjoy what I was reading… but yes, there are times when you feel that everything you read is unexcited… 🙁

To get out of this reading slump, I have decided to completely change things up for March:

I almost never read manga, so this challenge feels very exciting to me. I don’t think that I will write separate reviews for each manga, but I will sum up my experience and talk about all the manga I read in my March wrap up!