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A Detective Story Set in Japan

By Timothy Hemion

iUniverse, 2004 ($15.95)
ISBN: 0-595-33353-2

Reviewed by Cherie Jung

It must be frustrating for a policeman such as Inspector Morimoto, with a mind that grabs ahold of intricate puzzles and twists them into neat solutions that others would find nearly impossible to sort out, to have a job, important as it may be, that tends to supply mostly small, uninteresting crimes. Morimoto laments the lack of challenging cases just before a new and tangled case presents itself.

This case involves a famous and greatly admired family of Bizen potters. Months earlier the grandfather of the family died. Now two of his grandsons are discovered dead in one of their offices in Okayama. Morimoto soon learns that the brothers had been feuding for the past three years but had recently seemed to be mending their rift. He must consider how this relates to the deaths. The apparent means of death is poison. Inspector Morimoto doesn't believe the deaths were an accident, but were they murder or suicide, or both?

Once again the author has developed an intricate puzzle (crime) for Inspector Morimoto and his assistant, Officer Suzuki to solve using their deductive reasoning talents. It is a pleasure to watch these two sort through the clues and come up with their theories, inspite of pressure from their boss not to embarass the department, and pressure from the news media who are eager to know every detail of the shocking case.

As mentioned in an earlier review, I like the way the author uses characters from previous books without spoiling the story line from the previous books. A reader will find each of these books stands alone quite nicely. Readers who read the series in chronological order will recognize the returning secondary characters, yet readers who read the series out of order will not suffer for doing so.

For readers who enjoy Japan and its culture, each of these books is like a trip to Japan. The author's love of Japan and his experience traveling there are quite evident in his writing. I do hope there are more Inspector Morimoto cases on their way to print!

INSPECTOR MORIMOTO and the FAMOUS POTTER is the third of three novels to feature the Inspector and his assistant, Officer Suzuki. First in the series is INSPECTOR MORIMOTO and the TWO UMBRELLAS (click here for review). INSPECTOR MORIMOTO and the DIAMOND PENDANTS is the second in the series (click here for review).

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