★★★★★ 4.5 Stars
In the scorch of summer, while the sea is illuminated in a million jewels, there still lies darkness after a man is found dead on its shores.
A Midsummer’s Equation is a gentle but involving mystery set in a crumbling tourist town by the ocean. The state of decay alongside great beauty mirrors a story of fortunes and good acquaintances turning sour.
An unfortunate awakening comes for the sleepy town when a former policeman’s corpse is discovered. At first his death is written off as an accident, until some grim details come to light which point to murder.
I like the main character, eccentric physicist and (unofficial) detective Yukawa, but I do agree with the criticism that his character can be lacking or borderline robotic at times, though I guess that could be on purpose. I heavily appreciate that the large number of POVs doesn’t get confusing, as well.
The plot is unusual and branches in strange directions, which is fantastic for a mystery as it can’t be instantly predicted after a few chapters. Some of the middle bits during Kusanagi and Utsumi’s search for obscure info can be slow-going.
It’s a healthy mix of unexpected puzzles and charming drama, and you learn a little something as well. I highly recommend.