This is the sixth volume and third novel in author Keigo Higashino's best-selling "Detective Galileo" series, centered on Manabu Yukawa (a.k.a. Galileo), an associate professor of physics at Teito University who brilliantly brings science and logic to bear in solving hard-to-crack cases.
The story begins in the present day, in the middle of August. Yukawa has been invited to the scenic coastal town of Harigaura to attend a briefing about a test project for mining metals from the sea floor. En route on the train, he meets the 11-year-old Kyohei, on his way to spend summer vacation at an old country inn run by his aunt and uncle, Setsuko and Shigeharu Kawabata. Yukawa decides to stay at the Kawabatas' inn as well. There is only one other guest?a man in his sixties named Tsukahara. That night, Tsukahara goes missing, and the next morning he is found dead on the beach. The local police initially rule it an accident, but then it comes to light that Tsukahara is not only a retired cop but also a former member of the vaunted Criminal Investigation Division I of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department, and suddenly his death takes on a suspicious cast. It soon emerges that Tsukahara had come to Harigaura because it is the hometown of Senba, a murderer he once apprehended. MPD detective Kusanagi is ordered to investigate, and takes advantage of the fact that Yukawa is in town to pick his college classmate's brain regarding the case. Yukawa arrives quickly at the conclusion that Tsukahara died not by accident but by murder, and predicts that when the full truth is known, it will dramatically alter a certain person's life.
Solving Tsukahara's murder entails unraveling the mystery of another murder that took place 16 years earlier. The Kawabatas' only daughter Narumi, who was in middle school at the time, stabbed to death a bar hostess who had informed her that Shigeharu was not her real father and then had tried to shake her down for money. After the killing Setsuko went to her former lover Senba for help, and he agreed to take the fall for the crime in order to spare Narumi, who is in fact his biological daughter. Agonizing about a possible mistaken arrest and false conviction, Tsukahara had sought out Senba and learned the full truth. And when Tsukahara appealed to the Kawabatas on Senba's behalf to let him see his daughter Narumi once before he succumbed to the terminal cancer he is battling, the Kawabatas killed the retired cop, making it appear to be a case of accidental carbon-monoxide poisoning. Without realizing it, even the young Kyohei has played a supporting role in the murder.
The novel is a profoundly affecting tale that mixes gripping human drama with a rigorously scientific pursuit of the truth. A big-screen adaptation was released in the summer of 2013. The official series website is at:?www.bunshun.co.jp/galileo