Monday, November 3, 2008

BOOK: All She Was Worth by Miyuki Miyabe

All She Was Worth by Miyuki Miyabe, 296 pages (translated by Alfred Birnbaum)

Japanese Literature Challenge, 2nds Challenge

Another great Japanese mystery by Miyabe; I read Shadow Family earlier this year. This was named Best Mystery and Best Novel of the Year in Japan when it was published in 1992.

A woman goes missing, and her fiance asks a distant relative, Detective Honma to investigate. Honma is off on leave after being injured on the job and after the death of his young wife. His life is pretty quiet, and the investigation is a welcome distraction. The characters are nicely written and enjoyable to follow around. The plot was tight and suspenseful, quick turn after quick turn.

I really enjoyed the look at life in Japan, learning about family registrations, and the different types of red tape in that country. Same but different. The topic was timely as well, with a strong condemnation of consumer credit and the whole business of credit cards and consumerism. This book is fifteen years old, but in today's inflated finacial world, not much has really changed. There were a few sections that got a little preachy, but it didn't distract too much from the mystery. I liked how we followed the detective and learned clues along with him; there were no big surprise reveals, just step by step closer and closer to the end of the mystery. I must continue looking for Miyabe's mysteries.


  1. Oooh, I must find this book! I want so badly to jump into the world of Japanese lit, but for some reason I find it so intimidating. This sounds like a great way to maybe ease myself in.

  2. debi - this would be the perfect book! It's a great mystery that just happens to be set in Japan. It was so interesting reading about modern Japan, and how life is over there. Pretty similar to here in a lot of ways, naturally. There should be nothing intimidating about Miyabe's books. Very readable.


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