By Akimitsu Takagi
Setting & details: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Authenticity of Japanese characters & dialogue: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Translation quality: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Entertainment value: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
My recommendation: A real page-turner of a police procedural that also gives a glimpse into the postwar demimonde of the tattooed
Why would someone kill a beautiful tattooed woman, and steal her inked torso? That puzzle is just the first mystery in this psychological thriller, in which the author skillfully leads us deeper and deeper into a tangled web of forbidden relationships that gives motives to a satisfying array of suspects.
There’s a reason this is a classic of Japanese crime fiction. From a murder committed in a locked room, to characters who give us a glimpse into a world none of us have ever visited, this mystery has it all,
First published in 1948, the author paints a picture of post-WWII Japan that is vibrant and not at all dated. The relationships between the characters are both shocking and believable, and it’s written so skillfully, you’re not aware of how much you’ve learned about this strange outcast world until you turn the last page.
You can get it right now from your favorite bookseller, or check out the Mar-Apr Japanagram to see if you won a copy! All subscribers are automatically entered to win—if you’re not among them yet, click this button to subscribe, and be automatically signed up to enter.
How I pick the book giveaway winners: On the last day of each month, I load all the email addresses of Japanagram subscribers into a random name picker on the Web and ask it to choose subscribers to match however many books I’m giving away that month. Then I publish the emails in the next day’s Japanagram (all emails obscured in a way so only the subscriber will be able to recognize it as their own, of course!)
The Last Tea Bowl Thief was chosen as an Editor’s Pick for Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense on Amazon
“A fascinating mix of history and mystery.” —Booklist
Jonelle Patrick writes mystery novels set in Tokyo, and blogs at Only In Japan and The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had