Massey, a biracial (Indian-German-American) woman, used her experience living in Japan and dealing with cross-cultural issues to create a series of mysteries featuring a biracial Japanese-American woman antique dealer living in Tokyo.

I read the first bunch years ago and was charmed by the vivid and down to earth depiction of Tokyo, which was very close to my own experience of the city. The novels themselves are fluffy mysteries with romantic elements, each focusing on a different aspect of Japanese culture, such as ikebana in The Flower Master. I recall them as fun but not terribly well-written, and may also be quite dated by now judging by my experience with the one I just read.

Bride's Kimono, The is mostly set in American, as Rei Shimura gets a job shepherding a set of valuable kimono from a museum in Tokyo to one in Washington DC; naturally, a kimono is stolen, someone is murdered, her ex-boyfriend appears, and she’s accused of being a prostitute (!) and must clear her name, find the kimono, pick a man, and solve the crime, all the while stumbling through culture clashes with both Japanese and American people.

The new setting took away a lot of the fun of the series for me, though I did enjoy the details about antique kimono. I was a little boggled that in a book written in 2001, Rei had never used a computer and didn’t know what a mouse was; this was presented as slightly eccentric but not bizarre.

Nothing special, but I was entertained.

From: [identity profile]

Massey's novels are the only English description of Tokyo that even came close to the city I lived in myself. Then of course she moved her heroine from a lower class residential district on the Hibiya line to the high-livin' expat manshons of Roppongi, and I no longer knew what she was talking about.

I do wish someone would write a novel that shows characters living in haitsu (two-storey wood and plaster buildings, cold in winter and hot in summer) and coping with fractious kitchen water heaters and those large, flying, light-loving cockroaches.

From: [identity profile]

Sometimes Massey knows what she's talking about, and sometimes she just ... doesn't, omfg. The doujinshi one really made me twitch a lot.

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