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A Kinder Kind of Detective: Newcomer by Keigo Higashino

20 Mar

Newcomer
Detective Kyoichiro Kaga is a newcomer as an investigator in the Nihonbashi precinct in Tokyo. Instead of the usual trope of the tortured or flawed or divorced or somehow broken detective, Kaga is mostly…..kind. He doesn’t seem to have any of the personal problems that give other detectives a distinctive personality. He goes about his business, trying to piece together a crime solution, ruffling as few feathers as possible.

At times he buys small gifts for the people he interviews. Not just to gain their trust, although you can see that it helps, but because he is nice.

In Newcomer, he is investigating the strangulation of Mineko Mitsui.

Mitsui is, similar to Kaga, an individual who doesn’t seem to have any enemies. She is divorced and estranged from her son, and also a newcomer to the precinct where Kaga works.

In procedural fashion, Kaga visits stores in the surrounding area to talk with a variety of characters. There is a helpful list of the venues and people, with their roles set out, at the beginning of the book.

No spoilers here. The denouement is no real shocker, but more of a why-done-it.

I enjoyed the foreign setting and found it to be a quick and easy read.

My only quibble with the book was the translator. He seemed to use a lot of idioms as figures of speech. More than you would ever expect in a single book. Other than that, a quick and satisfying read that you might enjoy.

There are several other titles by this author available through the BCCLS system in English, Chinese, and Korean translations as well as in Japanese (this is the second novel translated in English to feature Detective Kaga), as well as a DVD movie, The Secret, based on one of his novels, Himitsu.  The first in the series available in English Malice is also available from the Hoboken Public Library.  Several audiobook versions of his work are available to stream from Hoopla.

Written by:
Victoria Turk
Reference Librarian

 

Haunting NY City History Mysteries: Murder on Millionaires’ Row & Gin and Panic

13 Mar

I always enjoy a good mystery series, but I find historical mysteries have the added charm of an interesting setting.  Since Hoboken is right across the river from New York City these especially caught my fancy since they depicted familiar haunts as they might have been years ago. These two books also have added some added spookiness with possible ghosts.  I hope you’ll check them out and enjoy them as well!

Murder on Millionaires’ Row
by Erin Lindsey
Millionaires' Row
Set in the end of the 1880’s this new historical mystery series includes a dash of gaslight fantasy.  In Murder on Millionaires’ Row, Rose Gallagher is a housemaid of Irish descent who yearns for bigger things than the small tenement apartment she grew up in Five Point.  Then her boss – who she has a crush on – disappears. It’s in searching for him that she finds she might just have the adventure and life she always dreamed of.  With ghosts and other supernatural elements giving a gothic feel, this novel should appeal to fans of Leanna Renee Hieber’s Eterna Files series which I had written about in a previous blog post.  Some elements of romance and other plot points setup a way in for other books in the series, which I look forward to reading when they are published in the future.  Lindsey’s clear love of her adopted home shines through in the interesting historical details she sprinkles throughout the work.

Gin and Panic
by Maia Chance
GinandPanic
I enjoyed Gin and Panic so much that I immediately went back and checked out Come Hell or High Ball, the first in this flapper era Discreet Retrieval Agency Mystery series.  Lola Woodby is a former socialite who manages to scrape by in Prohibition Era NY with the help of her former Swedish Cook, and now PI partner.  In Gin and Panic Lola and Berta head to a Connecticut estate to try to retrieve a rhinoceros head hunting trophy to its “rightful” owner, but soon their services are being retained to solve a possible murder.  Lola isn’t sure if she is being menaced by someone living or dead when she is attacked in the course of her investigation.  The light hearted humor of the novel will have you at the very least smiling, if not laughing out loud. If you enjoy the period setting of the series and feisty female detectives make sure to check out my favorite Phryne Fisher series set in 1920’s Australia which had previously been written about.

Looking for more novels with historical settings check out my post about mysteries set in the 1930’s.  Have a favorite historical mystery of your own?  Share it with us in the comments!

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Head of Reference

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