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Monday 23 October 2023

The Kamogawa Food Detectives by Hisashi Kashiwai


I rarely enjoy translated books because many of them are translated by people for whom English is a second language, and the result is invariably a bit stilted. This, though, was extremely well translated and the prose flowed very fluidly.

However, I struggled a bit with the actual story. A father-and-daughter detective duo…food-detective duo, in fact…try to recreate dishes for their customers for whom a dish from their pasts is sentimentally significant.  (Full synopsis here)

Each of the six chapters focusses on a different client. Whilst each has a different memory and reason for recapturing the essence of the pertinent dish, the format of each chapter was the same. I found this a little tedious and repetitive. Maybe it's because I don't understand the Japanese food culture, but the endless description of every food that went into the dishes (do onions from different areas really matter? An onion is an onion to me).

It was quite a departure from my usual diet of crime thrillers, but it didn't really grab me. I was actually quite glad it was a short book. If you live to eat rather than, like me, eat to live, I reckon you'll find this a treat.

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