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 »

Susan Saves the Day!

susan sandsI couldn’t resist buying this book today: The Riddle of Raggedrock Ridge, #4 in Marilyn Ezzell’s Susan Sand Mystery Stories series.

I found it at that grubby secondhand bookstore in Amcorp Mall – the very one where I once found a first edition of Antonia Forest’s The Player’s Boy; and where, today, I found two old Kaye Webb-era Puffins: Catweazle by Richard Carpenter, and The Rifle House Friendsby Lois Lamplugh.

But back to Susan Sand. O.M.G.

I’ve never seen or heard of this series before. It’s a Nancy Drew wannabe of course, but I think it’s also  a parody of sorts.Read More »

Interview: Qiu Xiaolong

This interview was first published on 27th May 2007 in The Star

qiu-xialongBy DAPHNE LEE

LAST year, The Wall Street Journal published its list of five best political novels. In first place was Anthony Trollope’s The Prime Minister. At number three was Qiu Xiaolong’s Death of a Red Heroine.

The book, published in 2000, was the debut novel of Qiu, and the first in what was to become a detective series set in present-day Shanghai featuring Chief Inspector Chen, a police officer with a love for food and poetry.

“It was not my intention to write a political novel, or a series for that matter – that was my publisher’s idea,” says Qiu during a recent interview conducted while in transit in Kuala Lumpur, on his way to a book festival in Shanghai. Read More »