Member Reviews

This book is the perfect cozy read for this time of year! I throughly enjoyed reading it. I don’t typically see healthy father/daughter relationships in books so that was a major plus for me. Their banter is so fun and I loved the stories that came with each of the characters. I wish we got to see more of the actual detective process but regardless, it’s such a heartwarming book! A book that you can finish in one sitting for sure.

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The Kamogawa Food Detectives is rather light fare when compared to its genre counterpart, Before the Coffee Goes Cold. Kamogawa Food Detectives is split into 6 stories that all revolve around people wanting to reconnect with a meal lost in time. While this premise is interesting, the rather short 200 pages of the book don't lend well to providing emotional depth for the individual characters and their diverse quests. Each character brings with them their own emotional situation, but with very direct writing and repetitive scenes throughout all 6 characters, hardly any storyline is given enough time to marinate into a memorable experience (minus the final story that felt like it truly got the ingredents right and delivered a gut punch).
With less characters/stories and more time with a select few individuals, Kamogawa Food Detectives could have landed a more poignant entree.

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This was a delightful little palette-cleanser! I was not sure what to expect but this truly is a little novella about a father/daughter food detective agency. They own a restaurant where the father, a former true detective, cooks and his daughter runs the "detective" part of the operation. If you remember a meal from your past and want it to be recreated, they search for and cook it for you. Admittedly a little weird, but recommended for foodies and someone who just needs a little break from the regular.

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I was so hopeful I would like this. The cover is adorable and it did seem like it would be a good read, but the writing style and the plot of talking about food exclusively for almost the first 10% of the story is not working for me. I could see getting this for the library for people who like these plots, but it is not for me.

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-Netgalley Arc Review-

Do not read this book while hungry- I repeat- DO NOT READ THIS BOOK WHILE HUNGRY.

Although this book is billed as a "Detective" novel, the actual mysteries themselves take the sideline. The writing on the importance of food in our lives is the shining star of this novel.

Each chapter is its own little episode with a new customer and a new dish to reminice, reconnect, and remind them of some important memory in their lives.

Koishi and Nagare are the cutest father/daughter, detective/chef duo. Their humor and caring for each customer is too wholesome and Kamogawa Diner is now a member of the growing list of fictional places that I wish were real.

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Thank you to NetGalley for this ARC.

The Kamogawa Food Detectives is a delightful story that is guaranteed to bring a little joy to your day. This sweet tale focuses on a family that tracks down nostalgic dishes for its clients based on their memories and recreates them. It’s a simple story and a quick read that I would definitely recommend.

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Kamogawa Food Detectives is such a lovely story. Nagare, a retired detective, and his daughter Koishi work together to recreate food memories. Koishi does the interview gathering past memories and Nagare does the investigating. Together they nourish your soul. Thank you, NetGalley and Penguin Group for the opportunity to read an ARC. My opinions are my own.

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This was a delightful surprise. Having just returned from Japan, I enjoyed the detailed food descriptions...mouthwatering! What an idea...a food detective recreating recipes from someone's past. Each of the short stories was touching and successful!

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This lovely book of short stories tells tales of a father-daughter duo who runs a restaurant in Kyoto — and a detective agency that helps clients discover/recover favorite meals. Japanese cuisine features heavily in these stories, with excellent and evocative descriptions of tastes and smells. In one story, for example, a client wants to find out why his deceased wife was able to make a recipe that his current girlfriend (and potential next wife) cannot duplicate — the detectives help unearth the recipe but, more importantly, help the widower move on to the next phase of his life.

This is a quick, yummy read with feel-good vibes.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the digital review copy.

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Hello new comfort read! This is a wonderful addition to the cozy mystery genre.

This story follows a father-daughter chef-detective duo who find long lost meals for customers. Don't read this on an empty stomach, because the food descriptions will have you craving every dish! I've never been to Kyoto but the loving details in this book have me wanting to plan a trip now.

There's not much plot to this book, and that's not the point. It instead is a collection of short stories infused with the importance of food, family, and memories. I hope more people will pick this one up when it comes out!

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I was lucky enough to win an eARC of THE KAMOGAWA FOOD DETECTIVES by Hisashi Kashiwai through a Shelf Awareness giveaway. Thanks for the early look, and have a safe and happy holiday season!

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Just returned from Japan and really enjoyed this book of stories about a Kyoto food detective. The stories were lovely and the food detail was mouth watering!

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This is a classic case of a good book, but not for me! I think this book would be great for those who enjoyed 'Before the Coffee Gets Cold' by Toshikazu Kawaguchi. I like the father-daughter dynamic featured in the book, but the book was hard for me to get into.

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Calling all fans of nostalgia and comfort food - The Kamogawa Food Detectives delivers a father and daughter pair that work hard to recreate dishes that are connected to precious memories for their clients. The Kumogawa's run a restaurant that intentionally makes itself hard to find, but they also run a side business as food detectives. Their clients describe the food they want recreated with as much detail as possible, including when and where they ate it. These conversations reveal quite a bit about each individual character and paint portraits of people that are very different from what might first be assumed of them.

This work definitely leans into the feel-good vibes. If you are not familiar with Japanese cuisine, I highly recommend having a search engine available as you go through so that you can see visuals of the food listed. It all sounded scrumptious to me - and left me wanting to try and hunt down some of the dishes described. The tone is very similar to that of Kawaguchi's Before the Coffee Gets Cold, so for those of you that enjoyed that work I would be sure to check this one out.

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Nagare Kamogawa, former policeman in Kyoto, Japan, runs a diner and food detective agency with his adult daughter Koishi. Nagare does the sourcing of ingredients and the cooking, while Koishi's job is teasing out the details of from the clients. In order to even find the restaurant, the customers have to be very motivated. The building itself is nondescript and has no signage, and the only advertising is done via a very vague mention in Gourmet Monthly magazine. If people are determined and can track down the restaurant, they will be treated to the chef's daily special, and once they are suitably impressed with his skill, Koishi takes the customer back to the office where she can get the details of why they came. The detective agency exists for one reason: to recreate dishes that people have had at some point in their lives and want to experience again. Koishi tries to get as many details as possible: where was this food eaten, who was the person with, how old were they, what sights/smells/sounds can they remember, etc. As the dishes were eaten long ago, most of the details are rather vague. The clients are instructed to return in two weeks, at which time Nagare will present them with the dish that they remember from so long ago. Of course, the dishes all were eaten with people who are no longer alive or are ill, so a big part of the memory is tied up with longing to be back in a time or place that can never be experienced again.

While the stories are all very touching, the book itself is an ordeal to read. There are so many Japanese foods, dishes, ingredients, place names, etc. mentioned in nearly every sentence that it's difficult to get any "flow" when reading. Then there is the excruciating detail about how each ingredient in the various dishes was tracked down and prepared -- and every dish has dozens of ingredients. It's hard to believe how the people in the "memories" and the chef of today spend hours and hours sourcing individual ingredients from various locations and then have to subject each item to meticulous treatment (such as drying mushrooms in the sun, "rehydrating" them, and boiling them down with other things before adding to the main dish). Each recipe had numerous ingredients, and the chef was happy to list them all, where they came from, how they were prepared, and how each individual step was necessary to recreate the exact dish the person remembered. It was exhausting to read. Maybe people who are massive foodies will enjoy reading about such things as mame-mochi, nabeyaki-udon, kamaboko, nikujaga, hirosu, okara, kikuna, ebi-imo, kujo negi, tonkatsu, etc. but after just a few chapters I was craving something with simple ingredients!

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Dnf at 35%. This book is a classic case of not for me, but can definitely work for someone else. Loved the mouthwatering description of Japanese cuisine and the cute and cozy components of the story but I didn’t find it very engaging and my attention constantly kept wavering as I felt the story did not offer much in terms of character development or some background of the characters Nagare and his daughter Koishi. I would have liked it much better if there would have been a strong plot with these two characters and less focus on the diner part. I also thought that the translation could have been a bit better as I have read quite a lot of Japanese translated fiction and it felt way engrossing. But having said that, this book can definitely be loved by foodies or people who like to read food centric books and if you love Japanese food, this is a solid book for you!

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This is fun and already has lots of helpful reviews, so I'll just recommend it to cozy readers.

I really appreciate the free copy for review!!

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Book: The Kamogawa Food Detectives
Author: Hisashi Kashiwai; Translated by: Jesse Kirkwood
Format: Digital
Genre: Food & Wine, Short Stories
Places Featured: Kyoto, Japan
Review Score: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Review: I was a little surprised at how much I enjoyed this–it doesn’t really have a plot, but it is just a collection of sweet short stories about the power of food, family, and memories. Nagare, a retired police detective, and his daughter, Koishi, run the Kamogawa Diner in Kyoto, Japan–a small hard-to-find place with a very specific clientele. The diner mostly serves guests who are looking for a specific meal–a dish that meant something to them at some point in their lives they want to recreate. Each chapter is the story of a certain guest, the dish they’re looking for, why they’re looking for it, and how Nagare works to recreate it. Although I had to spend some time researching many of the Japanese ingredients and dishes mentioned in the book, the descriptions still made my mouth water. (There are also some great descriptions of Kyoto.) For a short, quick, feel-good read (especially if you’re a Japanophile for a foodie), check out this book.

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★★★★☆

The Kamogawa Food Detectives is a heartwarming culinary tale translated from Japanese by Jesse Kirkwood. Centered around a Kyoto restaurant run by Koishi and her father Nagare, this light mystery follows the Kamogawas as they recreate meaningful dishes from customers' pasts. It's a poignant celebration of food, memory, and human connection.

Author Hisashi Kashiwai brings the setting of Kyoto to life through vivid sensory details, particularly the mouthwatering cuisine. Protagonist Koishi is spirited and curious, complemented by her father's wisdom and cooking expertise. The "food detective" premise is original and intriguing. Each chapter focuses on recreating a touching dish for a customer, seamlessly blending miniature mysteries, cooking, and emotion.

The soothing pace, uplifting tone, and focus on food over plot make this perfect for foodies seeking a gentle read. While the mysteries themselves are relatively simple, the stories behind each lost recipe are moving. Food and memory are deeply intertwined here; the Kamogawas' dishes unlock powerful nostalgia and closure.

Readers seeking an in-depth thriller should look elsewhere, but as a heartwarming journey celebrating food, family, and second chances, The Kamogawa Food Detectives delivers. Kashiwai's prose is inviting, with restaurant scenes sure to make your mouth water. A poignant four stars, the only way this could have been improved is if recipes had been included in-depth for all the meals.

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This cozy collection of stories set in a Japanese restaurant with a food detective agency was the perfect palette cleanser for me. It’s short and sweet and I appreciated the same structure of each story (person comes in wanting a meal recreated, then when they come back and try it). Some of the stories were more endearing than others, but I overall enjoyed this book and the beautiful descriptions of Japanese food and the relationship between the father and daughter who run the restaurant/detective agency.

Thank you Netgalley and Putnam for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

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