The Aosawa Murders was listed by the NYT as one of the Notable Books of 2020. But even more notable is that my sister, who mostly reads political and economic tomes and who rarely reads any fiction, practically devoured this book — I felt quite heroic that I agreed to let her read the book even though I was halfway through it! The murders are recounted decades later through multiple points of view, and the author does a magnificent job of holding your attention as she doles out nuggets of information through the various narratives. The prose style is vivid and the tone quite eerie. Definitely not one of your run-of-the-mill mystery novels, it is on my list for favorite reads of the year. Recommended By Sheila N., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
Selected by NYT as one of MOST NOTABLE BOOKS of 2020. On a stormy summer day the Aosawas, owners of a prominent local hospital, host a large birthday party. The occasion turns into tragedy when 17 people die from cyanide in their drinks. The only surviving links to what might have happened are a cryptic verse that could be the killer's, and the physician's bewitching blind daughter, Hisako, the only person spared injury. But the youth who emerges as the prime suspect commits suicide that October, effectively sealing his guilt while consigning his motives to mystery. The police are convinced that Hisako had a role in the crime, as are many in the town, including the author of a bestselling book about the murders written a decade after the incident, who was herself a childhood friend of Hisako' and witness to the discovery of the murders. The truth is revealed through a skilful juggling of testimony by different voices: family members, witnesses and neighbours, police investigators and of course the mesmerizing Hisako herself.