Kamogawa Food Detectives

Books on Tape. (Kamogawa Food Detectives, Bk. 1). Feb. 2024. tr. from Japanese by Jesse Kirkwood. 4:54 hrs. ISBN 9780593863862. $47.50. M
The first book in Kashiwai’s “Kamogawa Food Detectives” series, a best seller in Japan, follows retired detective Nagare Kamogawa and his daughter, Koishi. The pair run an extraordinary restaurant where they recreate long lost dishes from their customers’ pasts. The cozy cases in this novel are less mysteries than meditations on the power of food and memory. Every story opens with a client searching for the café where they’ll receive instructions, tell their story, and then have their lives improved by the rediscovery of the dish they remember from long ago, accompanied by the story of how its recipe was found. Finally, each story closes with an almost ritualistic explanation of payment. Rather than feeling repetitive, this predictable structure creates a comforting rhythm that narrator Hanako Footman fully leans into. And, like in any long-running mystery series, while the focus is on the case, the real stars are Nagare and Koishi. Perfect for book clubs or anyone who enjoys delectable descriptions of food. Every chapter features at least two lovingly detailed meals, likely to send listeners searching for a nearby Japanese restaurant.
VERDICT A heartwarming feast for the senses, for fans of Kim Fay’s Love and Saffron, Michiko Aoyama’s What You Are Looking for Is Inside the Library, and Hiro Arikawa’s The Goodbye Cat.
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