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Book Review: 라 트라비아타의 초상 by DO Jin-gi 도진기

A picture of the cover of the novel 라 트라비아타의 초상 by 도진기.

An exciting whodunit that will seriously test your power of deduction! Fans of detective novels, you will love it!


Title: 라 트라비아타의 초상
Author: DO Jin-gi 도진기
Published by 황금가지 (2017)

This book is the second volume of the series “lawyer GO Jin” 변호사 고진, but it can be read independently. The series features the duo inspector LEE Yu-hyeon 이유현 & lawyer 고진 GO Jin.

The author DO Jin-gi is a lawyer and one of the most successful contemporary author of crime fiction. He won the Korean Award for Crime Fiction (한국추리문학대상) in 2014 for 유다의 별, a novel of the series “lawyer GO Jin”.


Two persons found dead in an apartment… One person lived there, but not the other… What was he doing here? How did he enter? Was there a third person? How and why did they die?

Police inspector 이유현 has a mysterious case to solve. With the help of lawyer GO Jin, he will try to assemble the puzzle of this double murder.

Why I absolutely loved it

It is not every day that I have the luck to read such an exciting whodunit. 라 트라비아타의 초상 is a remarkable detective novel where the reader can take an active part. Like inspector 이유현, I had my head full of this case even when I was not reading the book.

What I liked the most was to consider all the scenarios that could explain what happened. In Lord Edgware Dies by Agatha Christie, Hercule Poirot says to his friend Hastings:

“We are only considering possibilities. It is like trying on the clothes. Does this fit! No, it wrinkles on the shoulder? This one? Yes, that is better—but not quite large enough. This other one is too small. So on and so on—until we reach the perfect fit— the truth.”

This is exactly what GO Jin and LEE Yu-hyeon (and the reader!) did in this novel, and it was extremely exciting.

Another thing that I really appreciated is that we, as a reader, are conducting the investigation with LEE Yu-hyeon. Whenever I see a fictional couple of detectives, I am always afraid that they will be based on Conan Doyle’s characters, with a brilliant detective who knows everything but does not reveal it until the end, and a puzzled narrator who can only follow and admire.

In the couple LEE Yu-hyeon & GO Jin, the lawyer gives the result of his deductions and the inspector investigates to check alibis and motives and see if it fits. Deduction on one side, investigation on the other, the balance is perfect and the result is a real delight.

I highly recommend reading DO Jin-gi if you like detective novels!

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