By Sujata Massey

Harper Paperbacks September, 1997
ISBN: 0-06-104443-1 $5.99

Setting: Tokyo, Japan

Reviewed by: Cherie Jung (8/28/97)

Don't worry if you aren't familiar with the Japanese language or your tongue gets tangled when you try to order sushi from your local deli. The author has provided a cast of characters listing that will help you keep Mayumi Yogetsu separated from Mariko Ozawa...and others. (Remember those Russian novels that you had to take notes on as you read them?) Don't be intimidated. You'll soon sort things out here.

Rei Shimura is a Japanese-American English teacher who lives in one of Tokyo's seedier neighborhoods. During the New Year's holiday she travels to view a castle and discovers a body in the snow. The dead woman is, or was, the wife of a Japanese electronic firm's boss. Complications arise and Rei sets out to unravel the mystery.

This is a debut novel for Ms. Massey. I enjoyed her writing style and the way she weaves Japanese terms and culture into the mystery. The plot held my interest and the character development was better than I'd expected. I would certainly like to see more from this writer and another adventure with her plucky heroine.

If you can't afford a trip to Japan this year, you may find the pages of THE SALARYMAN'S WIFE an enjoyable substitute. With a cup of green tea in hand, retire to a comfy chair, and curl up with this book. You'll soon find yourself immersed in the people and places of Japan.

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