When I heard that fellow Japan blogger Fran Pickering, of Sequins and Cherry Blossoms, had written a novel (a murder mystery set in Japan, no less) I knew I had to read it.
When Tokyo-based Londoner Josie finds a body under the cherry blossom, she sets out to track down the killer.
But she finds that everyone has a secret and no one can be trusted as the questions pile up. What is sinister Ms Kato up to? Who is the strange man who waited for the victim and does glamorous actress Tammy know more than she should? And who could get through the locked door?
Josie must shatter the smooth surface of Japanese life to solve the puzzle and stop the fan club killer striking again.
An entertaining murder mystery that takes you backstage at Japan’s spectacular Takarazuka Revue, as British amateur sleuth Josie tries to expose a murderer, save a priceless treasure and sort out her tangled love life.
Before I delve into my thoughts on Fran’s book, we should take a look at the author herself. Fran is a proud (south) Londoner who has lived and worked in Japan, which has clearly inspired the fantastic regular content her blog. If it wasn’t obvious from the blurb of ‘The Cherry Blossom Murder’, one of her favourite things about Japan is the Takarazuka Revue, the world famous Japanese all-female musical performance group.
My favourite thing about this book was the little details and observations that the main character, Josie, makes throughout her investigation. There’s clearly an autobiographical element to the story that only someone who has spent time in Japan can successfully convey, whether that’s the elderly gentleman sat on the bench, the trinkets in a Japanese family’s home, or the sights and sounds of a festival. This allows the reader to see things through Josie’s eyes, as a foreigner living in Japan who has time to notice the little things, rather than as a bright-eyed tourist who is just passing through, which you don’t always get in novels set in Japan that are written by westerners.
The murder itself is, you’ll be glad to know, juicy. There are plenty of suspects and surprises along the way, so it won’t disappoint fans of the classic ‘whodunnit’ genre. I whizzed through the book in just two days, which is always a sign of a good story!
I really enjoyed ‘The Cherry Blossom Murder’ and am very happy to be sharing the achievements of a fellow Japan blogger with you all. If you aren’t already, you should definitely subscribe to her blog! ‘The Cherry Blossom Murder’ is available in both paperback or for your Kindle, so get your copy today!