Sunday, June 1, 2008

BOOK: Shadow Family by Miyuki Miyabe

Shadow Family by Miyuki Miyabe (translated by Juliet Winters Carpenter)

Orbis Terrarum: Japan; novella challenge (188 p)

A great, short detective mystery set in Japan. I usually like a mystery from the police point of view; it comes from all those Ed McBain 87th Precinct books I read. I was a little confused with the names but only because I wasn't careful enough in paying attention and they looked too similar to me but the plot is revealed deliciously slow to make this a terrific little novel.

There have been two murders in the city and the police have eventually connected them. It turns out that one of the murder victims, a middle aged man had a secret online life, including a wife, son and daughter. As the police dig deeper into this 'family', the virtual shadow family come under suspicion.

from the cover: Veteran Desk Sergeant Takegami finds himself unexpectedly in center stage of the investigation after his colleague is hospitalized. Adding to his surprise, he is partnered with his old friend Detective Chikako Ishizu after a break of fifteen years. Working on a hunch, they collaborate to unravel the fine line between fantasy and the harsh reality of murder.

I can't say much more, because the plot and pacing were what made this a great story. Details are thrown out suddenly that make the reader go 'oh' and then it continues. The looking into what is real, and what is role playing, the effect of betrayal and family dynamics made the psychology fascinating.

The author is one of Japan's most popular authors, with a number of best selling mystery and suspence novels, but only two have been translated into English. I'd read another of her books.

1 comment:

Joy said...

Hmmm, this sounds good - especially the psychological part of it. Thanks!