The Purest Version of Criminal Motivation

2020/10/03閱讀時間約 5 分鐘

thoughts after reading The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino

Keigo Higashino’s works are always listed on the Bestsellers in most bookstores here in Taiwan. This year, the publisher has published the 9th-anniversary special edition of The Devotion of Suspect X recently, and I took the chance to reread the book.
It’s a novel that seems to spoil all information about a crime at the very beginning: the crime scene, the murderer’s identity, how and why it happens. Readers enjoy the position of knowing (part of) everything. They witnessed the process of the murderer’s hiding the truth when the police are busy with figuring it out.
I feel it’s a typical Keigo Higashino-style work, surrounding humanity and detective plot. Disclaimer: I’m not a particular fan of him, and only read his work from time to time. What I found intriguing — but also a bit disturbing — in his works is the purity of humanity. The murderer’s motivation is always determined yet incredibly pure — a few examples include the student murderer in Hōkago (After School), the Ariake siblings in Ryūsei no Kizuna (Meteor Bonds), and Tetsuya Ishigami in The Devotion of Suspect X.
I feel strangely relieved after reading. That purity of murder motivation almost hit me like a revelation; suddenly I realized that the world and humanity are probably not that complicated as I thought.
Yet this is also the same reason why I couldn’t immerse myself wholly in the story. It makes me hard to relate, hard to believe that murderer’s motivation could be that simple, and hard to imagine that simplicity and psychotic aspect of humanity. Or is it just because I got accustomed to sophisticated life and mentality in real-world, and forgot another version of life?
In another way, the ending of The Devotion of Suspect X actually illustrates that the human mind couldn’t be that simplified and be calculated like mathematics. Its complicity and unpredictability also become the flaw of Tetsuya Ishigami’s scheme.
The essence of a detective story is about objective reasoning and subjective emotion (motivation), and The Devotion of Suspect X fully lives up to that spirit. It is a story about the purest and the most passionate love, self-devotion, and sacrifice, and of a mathematic genius. Definitely worth a read.
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