Read chapter 11.
If I understood correctly, when you sat on that bench near the sea, you could only see the other person sitting next to you through thick glass with a red flower pattern? That might explain the “flowers speaking” better than the house window.
I’m a little confused about the book’s hidden message about the second hand book stores. Saiga had gone to that bookstore that later burned down, and had looked through the books rather thoroughly. If there was something to find she was likely to have found it. But I’m not sure she’d know about the delivery man’s books. While the detective seems to now have all the facts we have, after he talked with キミさん again, Saiga surely doesn’t know all the police knows, does she? So was she maybe looking for something else? Both the policeman and (possibly) Hisako got the message about the second hand bookstores, but neither seemed to realize that it might mean that Saiga had already looked there. One wanted to look in the bookstore and the other to destroy it. Was a clue to be found there, and if so, has Saiga already found it? If she did, did she retrieve it, or leave it there for fate to decide who would get to it first?
The theme of reflections comes up again. The daughter of キミさん had this dream that she was walking on water and her reflection was Hisako. The origami crane the detective gifted to both survivors was looking at its own reflection. Here’s what it looks like, by the way:
And Hisako commented on how it resembled the detective and her. Not sure exactly what to make of it. Or even why the detective wanted to gift one to Hisako, who he’s convinced is the murderer, in the first place.
Unlike the first policeman chapter, this one is in the “conversation with the unknown interviewer” format, which leaves the first one as a bit of an oddity format-wise.
Yes, that’s what I think the bench is as well – you just vaguely see the shape of the other person’s head. Definitely a strong candidate for communication with the delivery guy, especially since he seems to have had a habit of hanging around religious places, and you could have a relatively long conversation without it being obvious that the two of you were together.
On bookstores – I agree with the detective that Hisako wasn’t sure if there was a clue left there, but acted to destroy any evidence just in case. Incidentally, the last fragment of chapter 9 now looks like Hisako fooling some kid into taking fireworks? a bomb? to the old guy who lived behind the bookshop. (This seems super risky to me as a method unless Japanese fire departments are asleep on their feet about causes of fires…) Rereading chapter 10, Saiga’s diary entries say she heard a story from the owner of bookshop M, that they looked for books together and she bought some. So my guess is Saiga figured out at least that there might be something interesting there but maybe not that it was specifically the note. Saiga’s motives are very unclear, as the policeman notes. It’s possible she just wanted to attract the attention of any policemen who were still interested in the case to this as a possibility – if she tried to contact the police officially they’d just say “that’s a solved crime”, there’s no way for her to know who in particular might still harbour suspicions about it and be open to “this is maybe something overlooked”.
So, Saiga has died, and it looks suspiciously like poison again. Is the woman who did it Hisako, or somebody else? (I didn’t think she was in Japan at this point, though of course she could have popped across quickly.) I forget whether Hisako has a child.
The last letter in the chapter is Saiga’s brother’s suicide note that he left to her, I think (not the oldest brother who we’ve heard interviewed, the other one who killed himself not long after they moved). That puts this letter before Saiga wrote the book, and maybe explains part of her motives. We also now know what the weird white thing in chapter 3 was.
I have to admit that this is the point in a book where I get bored of spinning theories and just want to read on to find out the answers (the author had better not cheat us of them!). It’s terribly tempting just to read the next couple of chapters right now
So I was at least partly right, and it looks like Saiga was killed by her interviewer (or immediately after the interview, in any case). Didn’t they get drinks at some point because of the heat? I wonder if the other interviewees also have been killed as I had suspected, but the brother is still alive according to the journalist’s article (who is that journalist? first we hear of them), and when the brother is interviewed he doesn’t mention the death of his sister. Who knows when all these interviews took place. Maybe they’re not presented in order at all. Saiga’s death was in August, and Hisako was to come back for the demolition talks in June, I’m guessing the same year? I’ve liked from the start how the book took a 30-year-old crime and made it feel current and menacing, and now it actually is both these things, with victims still being added to the long list, and clues still possibly being around to find.
Did we know that he had killed himself? I don’t remember that for some reason. I thought the other brother had talked about the siblings living in separate places and not having much contact, and that he had talked with his brother about the income from the book? I may be misremembering.
The book was definitely published before the letter: 僕はそそっかして目立ちたがりだから、最初は、妹があの本を書いたということで、自分が関係者で、有名になったような気がしていたことを認めよう。
I had always thought it strange how the little brother never drank anything, just ran to call his siblings. Surely you’d drink first and then call them, if at all? So I’m glad this is explained. It doesn’t explain why a cat would drink something that smells suspiciously. They don’t even like proper tasty food, most of the time.
I feel the same way! Good thing I have about 3 other book clubs to keep up with, or I’d definitely read on at this point.
The journalist’s article says he talked to the older brother, and also mentions that the younger brother committed suicide – “すぐ下の弟さんは、二十代で自殺したそうである” in section 5. You’re right that the younger brother was still alive when the book came out, though. He must have died after that but some years before the events of the novel, given that he died in his 20s. (We can also kind of meta-deduce this because surely mystery-interviewer would have talked to him if he’d still been alive to talk to.)
I don’t think Saiga can have died on the day of her interview, because in chapter 1 we know that it rained that day. In chapter 10 the letter from the park employee talks about it being super-hot and 打ち水 having been ineffective to try to cool down the pavements a bit; if it had rained at all surely he’d have mentioned it.
(Edit: I do not understand the mechanics of spoiler tags here – sometimes the tag seems to need to be on a line of its own, sometimes not…)
Oh, I missed that. This also tells us the letter wasn’t left to Saiga, of course. So presumably to our mystery interviewer (who would therefore be a woman, given that the letter addresses the reader as 君) ?
Of course it does, I was just wondering whether the older brother had mentioned it and I missed it. Because I only remember him referring to his brother as if he was alive.
I had completely forgotten that! Huh. So maybe the interviewer is innocent, but someone is following them and killing off the interviewees? Did Saiga mention when she’d be going back? I probably need to reread the first chapter. And the brother chapter maybe.
If there are several paragraphs of text they either need separate spoiler tags or spoiler tags on a line on their own.
Why write a suicide letter to the interviewer though? Maybe his wife? I think he was married, but I admit I’m very hazy on all details.
Oh, right. No, I’m pretty sure this chapter is the first time we found out. I went back and skimmed the earlier chapter, and it never says. The older brother always talks about the younger brother in the past tense, but it’s always in contexts where it would be natural to do that whether he was dead or not. (And if the interviewer knew the younger brother well then it’s not too artificial that it doesn’t come up during the conversation that he’s dead – it’s assumed shared background knowledge.
Mmm, not clear – perhaps just because he wanted to tell this thing about the poisoning to somebody who understood and was interested in it? He does say he’s talked about the book with the recipient before. The older brother is married, but I don’t think it said either way about the younger one. I would vaguely guess not.
EDIT: Just finished Chapter 11, all comments refer to that chapter.
But the delivery man mentioned white flowers, while the glass had red flowers on it. So I’m still team window-and-tree.
My understanding from the diary was that Saiga searched the secondhand bookstores to find some “back volumes” but I never got it what she actually was looking for. Some sort of weekly local magazine or something? So it seems to me as if she didn’t know the note might been in a book in that bookstore, she just went to all of them in order to search for the magazines, was my take. But I could be very wrong as I found the diary part a bit confusing to read.
He did that time, yes. But he also talked with Hisako where you could hear the sea roar, so likely that very bench. Interestingly, the last chapter’s title mentions both colours. Maybe her voice was always the voice of flowers, and the kind of flower and colour changed? And now we’re talking about colours, what about that blue room mentioned in the prologue and first chapter? It’s been a while since we heard anything about it.
She does mention back issues in her notes, and the publisher explained about the local magazine. But she didn’t mention everything in her notes. She left Hisako out (number 6 I think?), so who knows what else she left out. It’s unclear to me whether this was the message she wanted to send through the book, or whether the detective (and the arsonist) understood something completely different. It seems like she could not have known about the delivery man’s books, but then why send a message about the back issues she already found? Now that I think about it, the bookseller might remember the delivery man bringing him books shortly before being revealed as the murderer, and he might have talked to her about it.
She was definitely looking for back issues of the local gossip magazine, yes. But I don’t think she would have referred to those as 本, and her diary says 本を探す about bookshop M, and she doesn’t use that word for any of the other shops where she looks for or finds the magazine back issues. So I think she must also have found out that the delivery guy sold off his books here, and looked for them. Interestingly M is the first place she tries – it’s only because it was closed for the holidays that she ends up checking it last.
That’s a very good point, and it’s true that she was interested in M specifically, even if she went to other books shops too. But how could she know about those books beforehand? And come to think of it, how did she have the Eugenia poem? So many questions.
I guess she would have done pre-trip research looking at old newspaper articles – it seems like they were pretty in-depth on the story at the time, so it doesn’t seem implausible that you could guess “he seemed like a studious guy but there were no books in the eyewitness descriptions of his room in the papers, wonder what happened to them” and then plan to talk to the nearest second hand bookshop owner? Or it could be that the author is deliberately faking us out
I thought this chapter was only her personal notes that were stacked in that box together with the tapes, and not necessarily something that was included in her book?
So while it’s of course possible that she left out more information, I doubt that she wanted to send a message through those notes.
Hmm… thinking about it… I think she left out the information about Hisako in order to leave her assistant in the dark (who would be the only one except her who got to see the notes, if my understanding is correct). But I think we ruled out the option that she wanted to convey a message to him. So I still doubt her private notes also contained a message.
Or to the one who specialized in scientific literature…
The notes weren’t included in the book, no. But she left the notes with the publisher and didn’t care what happened to them, which means at least the publisher saw them, plus whoever he showed them to. There was nothing in there that she minded people seeing. The message she wanted to send was through the book, and she sent it by very blatantly not mentioning the second hand book shops when describing the city in detail. So people who knew the city at the time, and were paying attention, would notice. The detective did, and we assume so did the arsonist. My question was, why send a message about the book shops in the first place? Was it about the books or the back issues, or something else entirely?
So initially she said she wanted to send a message to let the murderer know that she knew their identity, I think? And we now believe that Hisako is the murderer, so the message must have been addressed to her. But how could she read the book in the first place, if she is blind? Or would this be part of the proof that she is not?
But then she said it should be a message that only the addressee can identify. While everybody else can also see that she leaves out the bookstores. It’s just that only the addressee knows why she left out the bookstores, right? And she left them out to point at them. And I can only come to the conclusion that she wanted to tell her that there is the ultimate proof to convict her, i.e. the message with the address that she wrote. Which she promptly understands, and she reacts by setting the house on fire. (Through somebody else, of course.)
I don’t think she ever says that. She was wondering how to send a secret message out to someone in plain sight. We don’t know who that someone is. For all we know it could be the detective, or whoever understands it first.
As for the rest, yes, many people might realize she left out the bookshops, but it would mean nothing to them. The detective wrote her asking her about it, but I think he didn’t identify himself? And I didn’t understand her answer exactly, but she definitely didn’t give anything away. So you’re saying that she went to the bookshop, found the note to the delivery man, left it there, and sent a vague message about it? Or did she take it and the message meant “I found it”? Why burn the bookshop if the proof is (likely) no longer there? Or maybe she didn’t find it but still assumed it might be there? I’m very confused by it all.