The third case for Tokyo homicide detective Shunpei Kusanagi and professor Manabu Yukawa, who teaches physics at Imperial University, takes them far away from Tokyo—and far back from the present day as well.
Yukawa, aka Detective Galileo, has come to the Green Rock Inn, in the little resort town of Hari Cove, to participate in a discussion of proposed undersea mining. Everyone involved agrees that Hari Cove is in danger, but some see the enemy as potential environmental disaster, while others, alarmed by the town’s steep decline from its heyday, see the project as a potential economic savior. The morning after the conference, the body of Masatsugu Tsukahara, another guest of the inn, is discovered at the bottom of a sea cliff. The local police are eager to close the case as an accident, but the discovery that Tsukahara was retired from Tokyo homicide brings his former colleagues into the case, and they soon discover that he was already dead from carbon monoxide poisoning when he fell, or more likely was tossed, from the cliff. Further inquiries reveal that Tsukahara came to Hari Cove not for the mining conference but to seek out Hidetoshi Senba, a man he’d arrested 16 years earlier for the murder of an unemployed nightclub hostess. Kusanagi can’t help thinking that his path would be a lot smoother if only he could locate the missing ex-convict himself or if he could at least figure out what business Tsukahara had with him. Yukawa, for his part, seems interested mainly in constructing experiments designed to teach elementary concepts in physics to Kyohei, the fifth-grader whose parents have sent him to Hari Cove to stay with his uncle, Green Rock Innkeeper Shigehiro Kawahata, his aunt Setsuko, and his cousin Narumi. But it’s Yukawa, as usual (Salvation of a Saint, 2012, etc.), who’ll carry off the sleuthing honors.
Less playful and more labored than its predecessors but just as ingenious in working one twist after another in a case that seems absolutely twist-proof.