Illusory Night* is the sister story of Journey Under the Midnight Sun, that’s why I chose to read this one straight after. It was also written by Keigo Higashino/東野圭吾, who is well-known for detective fiction. The story of Midnight Sun starts in 1973, ends in 1992. The story of Illusory Night starts in 1995, ends in 2000.There are many links between the two stories. If you read them together, it makes you feel like an “insider”.
A lot of the story is told through the voice of the accomplice, Mizuhara Masaya. So the “detective work” is not mainly on how the crimes are done, but the real identity of the main character, a woman called Shinkai Mifuyu. If you read the Midnight Sun, it’s pretty obvious it’s the same woman. So on one hand, it’s enjoyable to see how the policeman tries to put the puzzle together, on the other hand, there’s no surprise in that either.
What I was really excited about, was the fact that the accomplice Mizuhara Masaya realised slowly (stupid man) that the promised happy future was a lie and never going to arrive. In the end, he decided to “achieve” his happy future with his beloved (evil) woman in his way, which was to kill her and commit suicide. I was so looking forward to seeing this evil woman face the consequences of her actions, that it was really disappointing to have the story end in the way it does.
Illusory Night feels a lot less thought through and less well crafted. The elements I liked about Midnight Sun are absent in this story, for example, the emotion, the historical and geographical background. The complexity of the story is a lot narrower with fewer people involved. The motivation for the crime is unclear (for example, why does Shinkai Mifuyu commit all the crimes?).
If you can only read one, read the Midnight Sun definitely. But Illusory Night is entertaining too.
*Illusory Night is my translation of the title. I couldn’t find an official English title. It wasn’t published in English.