Book Review: A Quiet Place by Seicho Matsumoto

a quiet placeWhile away on a business trip, Tsuneo Asai, a section chief in the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, learns that his wife, Eiko, has died suddenly back in Tokyo. It transpires that Eiko suffered a fatal heart attack while walking up a hilly street in a part of the city that Asai is certain would have been unfamiliar to her.

Why was Eiko there in the first place? Apart from knowing no one there, Eiko had a weak heart and would have surely avoided walking up the rather steep hill.

When Asai pays a courtesy call to the woman who tried to help Eiko and in whose cosmetics store his wife died in, he notices a love hotel on the street and begins to question what he think he knows about his wife’s life, and what he’s been told about her death.Read More »


Shanghai Detective

qiu-xialongCould it really be nine years since I interviewed Qiu Xiaolong, the author of the Chief Inspector Chen series? He was an easy man to talk to, warm and forthcoming, and I remember our conversation clearly, including details that never made it into my article – for example, how German publishers often hire actors to perform (i.e. read) at book launches, and that the actor who usually reads Qiu’s work is actually known for his role as a detective on German television.

Back in 2007, I was given the first Chen mystery to read as prep for the interview. I enjoyed the book, but never got round to reading the other titles in the series (there are nine in total). This year I acquired e-copies of books two to six. I have now read two to five, and will be starting on six shortly.Read More »

Top Ten Tuesday: All-Time Favourite Detective Thrillers

I’ve been so busy/distracted lately that the Top Ten Tuesday meme (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) seems to be all I’m posting #sadface

This week, we’re supposed to share our Top Ten ALL TIME Favorite Books Of X Genre.

I choose detective thrillers – not that I have read so many of them, but then that makes choosing favourites a lot easier.


Why, BBC? Why?

There’s this murder mysteries series I like by Qiu Xiaolong. The lead character is Inspector Chen and I’ve just found out that three of the books were made into BBC Radio 4 dramas. Well, look at who they got to play Inspector Chen: Jamie Zubairi. A British-born, English-Malay actor. Yes. However, they let a Chinese actor (Dan Li) play second banana, Detective Yu though. How kind of them.


Jamie Zubairi. The epitome of Chinese hunkdom -_-

‘Was it your dead child?’

by the pricking of my thumbsWhile I was saving book cover pics for my ‘favourite mysteries’ list, I got the urge to re-read Agatha Christie’s By the Pricking of My Thumbs, so I am. It has been many years since I read this book, but there are some details which I remember quite clearly, like the ruby and diamond brooch that Tuppence puts on to cheer herself up after the funeral; and the jeweled ring that spells ‘regard’; also, of course, the old woman with the cloud of white hair, drinking milk and asking Tuppence, ‘Was it your dead child?’ Looking forward to the story unfolding as I don’t recall the finer points of the plot.

It feels like I may also be re-reading Pale Horse, another Agatha Christie murder mystery. Didn’t expect to this Christie re-visit (not right now, anyway), but, as I said in this post, it’s hard to predict where my reading will take me. I could of course force myself to stick to lists and plans, but I think this way is more natural and enjoyable.