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Book Review: Silent Parade: A Detective Galileo Novel By Keigo Higashino – Victims stand up for revenge when the judiciary is powerless

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Book review of "Silent Parade" by Keigo Higashino. The ninth work of the "Galileo series" in which physicist Manabu Yukawa plays an active role in solving mysteries. The bereaved family plans revenge for the suspect who remains silent and acquitted. The movie of this novel will be released in September 2022, starring Masaharu Fukuyama.
Reviewed by Kenshiro, Tokyo , Dec 10, 2021

It is a detective novel by Keigo Higashino, a popular writer known for his best-selling “The Devotion of Suspect X”. With the quick development of the story, clever tricks, gradually uncovering mysteries, and the final twist, readers won’t get bored. As usual, police officers familiar with the Galileo series, Shumpei Kusanagi and Kaoru Utsumi, investigate the case and use the scientific knowledge learned by Yukawa to unravel the mystery.

(* Because the important parts of the novel are touched on below, please be careful if you have not read it.)

In this novel, it is the powerlessness of the judiciary that drives people to kill.

Imagine that he had killed his dear family and lover. The criminal is free to live in the immediate vicinity without being charged. Can you put up with such a situation?

“Confessions are the queen of evidence.” It is a word that shows the importance of confessions in criminal cases. Even with sufficient circumstantial evidence, it is difficult to charge a murder if the suspect refuses to confess. Here is the limit of justice. The principle of “in dubio pro reo (” in dubio pro reo is in the interests of the accused) “causes the victim’s family to suffer. In fact, in the past, the suspected murderer was not only acquitted for his silence, but also obtained criminal compensation.

In the novel, Kanichi Hasunuma, who works for a waste collection company, escaped his crimes in this way. He was arrested on suspicion of being involved in two murders. However, in each case, he remained silent in police interrogations and trials and won an acquittal. Although the circumstantial evidence was available, the “queen of evidence” was absent.

The problem here is the feelings of the bereaved family. Both police and bereaved families are convinced that Hasunuma killed the victim. However, he cannot be punished for his silence. It is unlikely that strong evidence will be found in the future. If that happens, it will be difficult for bereaved families and close friends to stop punishing the suspect on their own. In this novel, the bereaved and their companions take it for granted that they will do their part if the judiciary is powerless.

However, the bereaved family also has a life. They try to avoid being guilty by killing the suspect. So they plan and put into action elaborate methods that are out of the reach of the police.

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Synopsis / Main characters

Yutaro Namiki ran an Izakaya(Japanese style pub) in a shopping district in the suburbs of Tokyo. His daughter, Saori, who was aiming to be a singer, disappeared. Three years later, her body was found at the scene of a fire in Shizuoka Prefecture. Kanichi Hasunuma was arrested as a suspect in murder.

However, Hasunuma remained silent during the interrogation and was acquitted for lack of evidence. Hasunumaha was arrested for the murder of a girl 23 years ago, but he was still acquitted by silence. That is not all. Hasunumaha, who was released, visited Yutaro’s Izakaya and demanded compensation from Yutaro for his arrest.

Yutaro, who was keenly aware of the powerlessness of the judiciary, his childhood friend Shusaku Toshima, and music producer Naoki Niikura, who cooperated with Saori’s singer debut, plan revenge on Hasunuma. It will be held on the day when the parade is held in the shopping district. Manabu Yukawa, a physicist, is asked by the police to start inferring the criminal and the killing method.

Is the model “Jomaru-kun Incident”?

As I mentioned earlier, the case of acquittal has actually occurred because the suspect remained silent, even though there was sufficient circumstantial evidence. A well-known case is the “Jomaru-kun Incident.”

In 1984, a 9-year-old boy from the Jomaru family went missing while leaving the house in Sapporo, and was later found dead. Some testified that the boy had climbed the stairs of a nearby apartment. Therefore, police interviewed the woman who lived in this apartment. However, no important information was obtained.

Two years later, in 1986, her husband died in a fire in her home. Her husband had a large amount of life insurance. Other human bones were found in the burn marks. DNA typing at the time did not reveal the identity of the human bones. In 1998, another DNA type test revealed that it was the human bone of the missing boy. The woman was finally charged with murder. However, she had been statutory for injury and death, abandonment of the corpse, and destruction of the corpse. Prosecutors saw the woman kidnapping and killing the boy for ransom, but she could not determine the cause of death of the boy.

At first instance, the defendant’s woman denied her charges and she remained silent on questions from the prosecution. She was acquitted as a result of her not being able to conclude that she was murderous. The prosecution appealed, but was dismissed by the High Court and abandoned her appeal. Her innocence was confirmed. After that, she claimed criminal compensation and she received 9.3 million yen (about US $ 82,000).

My guess is that Higashino modeled this case. In the novel, Hasunumaha killed and incinerated the 12-year-old girl and buried it in the mountains in the first case. After his acquittal, He demanded criminal compensation and legal fees and earned more than 10 million yen. In the second case, He murdered Saori and then carried her to his parents’ home that his stepmother lived in . And three years after the corpse abandonment statute was established, Hasunumaha set fire to his parents’ home and burned the bodies of his stepmother and Saori, who had already died.

In addition to the fact that the suspect remains silent and wins innocence, the suspect incinerates the body, ignites the house, and demands compensation, which is common to the case of Hasunuma and the case of Jomaru-kun.

Empathy for the avengers

Is revenge by the bereaved family allowed when the judiciary is powerless?

At the end of the novel, the truth of the case was revealed, and each person involved in attempting revenge on Hasunuma was interrogated. Saori’s older sister, Natsumi, works at the Izakaya run by Yutaro and seems to get information from them and police officials, and shared her outlook on the sentences that the avengers will receive. She says that one would be guilty of directly reaching out to Hasunuma and confessing it, and everyone else wouldn’t be guilty of a big crime.

Yukawa sympathizes with the avengers. He cooperated with the police because he understood Kusanagi’s remorse that he could not convict Hasunuma. As Tojima, who is the central figure in the revenge plan, Yukawa told Natsumi, “I wanted to get rid of the regrettable feelings of his best friend,” and promised to come back to the Izakaya as a guest. This seems to be the answer to the question that this novel conveys to its readers.

Author : Kenshiro
He is a Journalist , etitor in japan

*This book review is a translation of a Japanese article and is based on the Japanese edition.