A seamless melding of pathos and problem-solving logic, this novel was a gargantuan hit in Japan, selling 2.7 million copies (hardcover and paperback) as of February 2012. Its English translation, released in 2011, was nominated for Best Novel in the 2012 Edgar Awards.
The tale centers on Manabu Yukawa, an associate professor of physics at the fictional Teito University, who bears the nickname "Detective Galileo." His friend from college days, a detective named Kusanagi?a Watson to Yukawa's Holmes?brings him seemingly uncrackable cases, which Yukawa solves with logic, flashes of brilliant inspiration, and a keen eye for human observation.
Yukawa goes up against rival genius Ishigami, another old university classmate who was known for his unparalleled skills in math. Now a high-school math teacher, Ishigami pours his energy into finding solutions to the most difficult problems from the history of his field. One day a murder takes place in the apartment next to his when Yasuko Hanaoka and her daughter slay Yasuko's estranged husband, who had demanded to be given another chance and threatened violence if he didn't receive money. A daily customer at Yasuko's box-lunch shop and a quiet admirer of her, Ishigami determines to conceal the crime when he learns of the murder. Aided by his faultless logic he constructs an airtight alibi for the women.
Things start to unravel when Kusanagi is put on the case and Ishigami encounters his old friend Yukawa once again. In Ishigami's slightest of gestures, Yukawa sees the truth of the man's feelings for Yasuko. In the end "Detective Galileo" proves that Ishigami is not just covering up for Yasuko, but that he himself is the perpetrator of another crime. How much will a man sacrifice for the object of his unrequited love?