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The Kamogawa Food Detectives


Japanese pottery in a cupboard

Author: Hisashi Kashiwai –

Publisher: Mantle –

Genre: Short stories, Fiction –

Overall rating: 4/5 –

Writing: 4/5 –

Duration: 4:58 (short) –

Narrator: Hanako Footman –

Narrator/performance: 4/5 –

Impressions: 4/5 –

Performance errors: 0/5 –

Complexity/reading level: 1/5 –

Audience: General, possibly also Children


This book is a set of cute and wholesome standalone short stories about an imaginary food detective agency in Kyoto. It is not “procedural” fiction; we share only the beginning and the end of investigations. The main point is the transformation of each subsequent client. The stories are immersed in Japanese culture yet the subject remains universal. It is an easy read but the stories seem remarkable, coherent and somehow immune to the inevitable passage of time.

The book is professionally produced, with a lector able to pronounce lovely Japanese words and names. It can be enjoyed by an adult reader but at the same time is (most probably) suitable for children from the age of 7 or perhaps younger. There is a lot of expression of familiarly and neighborly emotions in the book, reminding of lighthearted Japanese anime and literature for children.

There is none of the freakish mystery some other popular Japanese authors are known to promote. No lurking of the hidden gods, none of the Japanese animistic mysticism – just the shrines and the Buddhism. People are professional, taking the suffering that is life in their stride. The keepers of recipes will cure your soul but only if you are able to find them.

The Kamogawa Food Detectives audiobook cover

This cover is cuteness itself, a lovely, warm and simple image. A perfect incitement to read the book. Note that Drowsy the Cat would not be let anywhere near your food in reality.

Cover Photo by Diana Lisunova on Unsplash