Book Review: ‘The Final Curtain’ by Keigo Higashino and Giles Murray

A Dual Exploration of Closure and Continuity

Book Title: The Final Curtain: A Mystery: 4 (The Kyoichiro Kaga Series, 4)
Author: Keigo Higashino
Translator: Giles Murray
Publisher: Abacus
Number of Pages: 400
ISBN: 978-0349146324
Date Published: Feb. 1, 2024
Price: INR 454

The Final Curtain by Keigo Higashino and Giles Murray Book Cover

Book Review

Presented as the concluding installment of the Detective Kaga series, Keigo Higashino’s “The Final Curtain” (known as “Inori no Maku ga Oriru Toki” in Japan) holds dual significance, hinting at both the narrative’s climax and the protagonist’s journey towards closure. Following swiftly on the heels of his previous work, “A Death in Tokyo,” which hinted at a sense of fatigue in Higashino’s portrayal of the titular Detective Kaga after over three decades of literary exploration, this latest offering delves into themes of finality and transition.

In “The Final Curtain,” Keigo Higashino once again demonstrates his mastery of the mystery genre, drawing readers into a complex investigation that hits close to home for Tokyo Police Detective Kyoichiro Kaga. As the plot unfolds, Higashino skillfully weaves together multiple threads, leading readers through a labyrinth of dead ends and surprising connections.

The narrative unfolds through various perspectives and includes flashbacks, adding depth and suspense to the story. Higashino’s attention to detail vividly portrays the gritty realities of investigative work, highlighting the relentless pursuit of truth amidst countless obstacles.

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At the heart of the story are characters grappling with personal dilemmas and societal pressures, adding layers of complexity to the narrative. Themes of sacrifice, familial bonds, and the enigmatic phenomenon of Jōhatsu—the intentional disappearance from established lives—underscore the novel’s exploration of human nature and Japanese society.

Giles Murray’s translation deserves praise for capturing the nuances of Higashino’s narrative, ensuring a smooth and engaging reading experience for English-speaking audiences. However, frustration may arise for readers anticipating the conclusion of the series, as “The Final Curtain” is presented as the fourth volume in English despite being the tenth in Japanese. Despite this drawback, Higashino delivers a captivating plot filled with twists and turns, offering profound insights into life’s complexities.

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