26 May 2008


Random House 2006, 287 pages. ISBN 978-1-74166-527-7

Tokyo detective Aoki and his team are expecting that the case they have been working on for the last seventeen months will soon be over. Along the way they have lost 3 of their team who fell under the pace of the investigation, but it will all be worth it. This case is about to break and they will all have promotions.

But that's not the way it works out. They are called abruptly to a meeting with the superintendent and the director general and told that the investigation is over, no action will be taken, the case will not be proceeding. The ex-governor with connections to the yakuza will get away with it yet again.

In the following months, the ex-governor's star rises and people begin to talk of him as the next prime minister, and Aoki's star goes into decline. A member of his team commits suicide, a journalist, and both his father and his wife die and Aoki himself is suspended from duty. And just when things really can't get any worse, Aoki is sent by his superintendent to the Kamakura Inn, a ryokan in Hokkaido, to recuperate.

The detective in Aoki is revived as he realises that the other guests at the ryokan have secrets to hide, and he wonders if he has been sent there intentionally. He remembers an unsolved mystery of the disappearance of a woman 7 years earlier, and reaslises that at least two of the other guests have connections to that case. When the ryokan is cut off from the world in a snow storm, this tale becomes a classic locked room mystery. The ryokan is a house of many secrets, built to hide as well as accommodate, and the tension grows as first of all the telephone, and then the lights fail.

All the other Marshall Browne books I've read, the Inspector Anders ones, have rated highly. This one is no exception. My rating 4.3

I bought RENDEZVOUS AT KAMAKURA INN at Adelaide Writers' Week after I had heard Marshall Browne talk, and he duly signed it for me.

Meanwhile in Abu Dhabi
An inviting pile of books beckons outside the public library at the Cultural Foundation in Abu Dhabi.

Today was 44 degrees C, windy, and a bit dusty, so we spent a couple of hours viewing an exhibition about Sudan (in airconditioned comfort).

The pile of books is a "sculpture".

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