RARA-AVIS: Detective Stories Set in Japan/Australian Crime

From: T. Kent Morgan ( tkmorgan@shaw.ca)
Date: 10 Jul 2004

Barbara Fister wrote:

>Sujata Massey who writes about a Japanese-American in Japan, and Dale
Furutani who has written an historical trilogy and some contemporary mysteries featuring a Japanese American sleuth who travels to Japan in at least one of the books in the series.I've heard them recommended by others... just haven't read any of them >myself.

I've read three of Sujata Massey's books and I enjoyed them although I think they would be a little too cozy for most Rara-Avins. However, her main character Rei Shimura, an antiques dealer, is a lot tougher than she appears on the surface. I also read Dale Furatani's Death in Little Toyko, his first Ken Tanaka mystery set in contemporary L.A. Based on reviews, I brought a signed copy across the border at high cost, which was a big mistake. Perhaps If I known that they described Tanaka on the DJ as "an endearing wanna-be detective" I would have been smart enough to back off. I think his books set in Japan are historical mysteries.

I had to drive someone to the airport early this morning so stopped on my way back at a garage sale down my lane. I'm not a garage-saler, but every once in awhile I get the urge. I found a copy of The Final Fear by Laurance Jenifer, which was published by StarBooks in Australia. There is no date of publication and no author bio, but here's the back cover synopsis.

"It had started in the arms of the woman I love - or thought I did. But it wasn't going to end there. Her husband wanted to put me on a slab in the morgue...and it's hard to remember that the old rules don't apply anymore. I could be shot dead in broad daylight in the middle of a crowd of witnesses. I can't forget - I can't ever forget - that a man with a gun is stalking me, a man whose singleminded idea of venegeance feeds his passion for murder."

Anyone know anything about this book or Jenifer?

My next stop was on a nearby street where I saw a box of books in a driveway. Not much there at first glance and then...And The Girl Screamed by Gil Brewer. I've never spotted a Brewer book, but have looked since hearing about him on this list and Ed Gorman's blog. It turned out that it also was an Australian edition published by Eclipse. Again there is no publication date, but the cover has a photo of an almost nude woman. I also got a copy of The Grave's in the Meadow by Manning Lee Stokes. Total cost: $1.25 Canadian.

Earlier in the week I found the Pan 1991 reprint of Leo Malet's Mission to Marseilles for .79, which I wouldn't have bought if he hadn't been discussed on this list. It's been a good week.

Kent Morgan Book Scouting Today in Winnipeg

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