“Silent Parade” by Keigo Higashino

Silent Parade: A Detective Galileo Novel, Keigo Higashino (Minotaur, December 2021) Silent Parade: A Detective Galileo Novel, Keigo Higashino (Minotaur, December 2021)

Rolled omelet, fried mackerel, chicken skewers, vegetable takiawase are just a few of the signature menu items at Namiki-ya, the place for the best appetizers and latest local gossip in Kikuno. Despite the convivial atmosphere they maintain in their restaurant, the eponymous Namiki family are coming off  a tragic loss of a few years earlier—their eldest daughter Saori, who was preparing for a career as a professional singer, disappeared from their quiet Tokyo neighborhood.

Because her body was not found and the suspect was released, the family has had difficulty finding closure. However, one night, the police telephone with information that her remains have been identified among the ruins of a house fire in Shizuoka.


Silent Parade by Keigo Higashino is the latest in the Detective Galileo series to be translated into English, preceded by The Devotion of Suspect X, The Salvation of a Saint, and A Midsummer’s Equation. But there’s no need to have read the others to enjoy a well-crafted mystery and police procedural. Detective Galileo is Manabu Yukawa, a perceptive physics professor, who occasionally assists the Tokyo police department. Saori’s case is assigned to Detective Chief Inspector Kusanagi, along with Detective Sergeant Kaoru Utsumi. Their boss lays out the complexity of their upcoming investigation:


“I know what you’re thinking: that you’re being landed with a lousy and rather problematic case.” … “If we assume that we are dealing with murder here, then the crime has to have taken place a little over three years ago. Finding witnesses will be all but impossible. Ditto with physical evidence. On top of that, the place where the body was concealed has been almost completely destroyed by fire.”


Without witnesses or evidence, Kusunagi has his work cut out; he however discovers that he has a unique connection with the case. The house where Saori’s body was found belonged to the mother of Kanichi Hasunuma—the primary suspect in the murder of a young girl named Yuna Motohashi, which Kusunagi investigated over 20 years ago. During the trial, Hasunuma denied his involvement and remained silent: when questions were directed at him, he simply replied, “I have nothing to say.” The suspect’s unconventional yet effective strategy, coupled with his refusal to confess to the crime, ultimately led to his release. Kusunagi recalls,


It didn’t matter whether they were asking him questions about the case or simply making chitchat; he was completely unresponsive. And he maintained the same attitude throughout his two trials. I feel a bit odd saying this, but I was sort of impressed by his strength of character.


After that, Hasunuma drifted before finally settling in Kikuno where he turns up at Namiki-ya and then falls under suspicion for his actions yet again. The cast of local residents and their relationships are brought into focus as the neighborhood association prepares for the annual Kikuno Story Parade. The event draws spectators from around the country, and this year, the detectives will also attend, so Utsumi searches for additional details about the team competition online.


“A group of people get dressed up and re-create a scene from a famous story. That might mean something like a man and a woman dressing up as Urashima Taro and Princess Otohime and having a feast, while their teammates, togged out in sea bream and flounder costumes, dance around them.”


On the day of the parade, crowds line the street, and as the floats pass by, viewers are treated to performances complete with music, costumes, and props. Taking advantage of the distractions provided by the festivities, another crime is committed. When everyone gathers at Namiki-ya at the end of the day, they hear the shocking news. Is this incident connected to the murders of Saori and Yuna? Is there a killer among them?

Just when it seems that the mystery has been solved, Detective Galileo uncovers another long-buried secret. With nods to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie, Higashino has created a captivating mystery full of suspense and twists.

Mary Hillis (@mhillis) is a teacher and writer based in Japan.