Member Reviews

I was really hoping to like this one because I have read one Japanese novel that I loved (The Traveling Cat Chronicles) but this one was hard to get into. I was pretty bored and didn't feel super connected to the characters. It also felt pretty unrealistic. But I did love all of the food descriptions! That was so well done. I also love Japan and have been to Kyoto so that I also loved that personal connection. It was just hard for me to really get into the story.

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This was such an enjoyable little story! The creativity of the plot and the descriptions of food were definitely where this book shined, and I think the atmosphere is one that a lot of readers will enjoy. I did find myself wishing that the chapters were less repetitive (I was able to predict entire sections of dialogue because they were being said in every single chapter) and we spent more time learning who the father and daughter were especially. I enjoyed having some regular customers that would return from chapter to chapter, but I still found myself wanting more characterization from each of the visitors as their stories and personalities really did begin to blur together by the end. In general, though, my complaints can be boiled down to wishing the vignettes were longer and more fleshed out, which is definitely not a deal breaker for me. The story was still very cozy, and a breeze to get through. A great book to curl up with in a warm cafe and read in one or two sittings.

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Quite possibly my favorite read since encountering the Thursday Murder Club series. This is the coziest of cozy mysteries, highlighting the restorative powers of food, community, and understanding the past to move forward in the present.

A father and daughter run a small diner tucked away in a quiet part of Kyoto. And if a certain type of diner is fortunate enough to find themselves there, the restaurateurs also are food detectives, helping track down and recreate the diners' favorite meals. Each chapter stands alone but, together, the vignettes draw a picture of the proprietors and their patrons. Even more than the mouthwatering descriptions of the food, the gentleness and care for these characters and their interior lives makes this the most delightful and gentle of reads that is the perfect respite from the chaotic world.

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Gentle, sweet, atmospheric, and oh so charming. This book will transport you into your own cherished memories and leave you feeling all of your feelings. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the chance to read this one early.

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Very sweet book about a food detective agency, linking foods to memory and sentiment. What a wonderful idea.

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A delectable read filled with wonderful characters and lots of good memories.

A quick cozy read.

Thanks NetGalley for this ARC.

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(Transcribed from video.)

A delightful little book, if I may say so. Delectable.

Okay, so check it out: dad-daughter duo (alliteration…I love it) running, simultaneously, a diner and a food detective agency. So…you ever have a food that you would do anything to be able to eat again? Maybe you went to a restaurant and you had something that you’ve just never been able to recreate? Or maybe it’s a recipe that somebody made for you in your childhood and nobody else has the recipe and nothing else tastes right? That sort of thing? They will find that recipe and recreate it for you. So each chapter is an individual little vignette, like an individual case, and somebody comes to them like “this is the recipe that I’m trying to find” and then they detect.

The side characters, like the regulars of the restaurant…quirky. Love some quirky individuals, I tell you what. And the way they describe the environment makes me want to visit. I want to go look at shrines; walk down streets, alleyways in Japan; I want to find a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant that makes delicious food, different food every day, like some sort of magical miracle place. Oh my gosh, seriously, it reminds me of that place from the show Eureka. They had this diner in town with this super-genius chef in charge whose whole thing was that he had this magic freezer/pantry with every food ever and he could make anything that you asked him for, no matter what, at any time. It’s not that but it felt like that…and I love that.

So it’s sweet and wholesome, cozy, almost bittersweet, ‘cause there’s a hint of sadness. Not every story is a happy story but they don’t just find the recipes, they find answers to questions that these people don’t even know they’re looking for. And I know it says “detective agency”, but it’s not like thriller-detective necessarily. It’s got a pinch of that Holistic Detective Agency…a soupçon of the Holistic Detective Agency. (That’s a thing, right? Soupçon? I feel like I’ve heard it used in the context of food before and I’m trying to stick with food analogies…because they’re food detectives.) It’s so cute! It’s sentimental and it’s just nice. It was just so endearing. I enjoyed it very much.

One of the things I think I like about Japanese books that are translated into English is that they’re very chill. I don’t know, maybe it’s just the ones I’ve read so far, but they’re so chill. They’re like…lo-fi, almost…for your reading pleasure. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the cat on the cover of the book is Drowsy, the cat from the book. It might not be true, I don’t care. I’m going to think so anyways, just because it makes me happy to think so.

I would read it again. And it’s not super long. It’s like 200 pages. Easy-peasy. Quick read. Delicious appetizer. Oh man, you can’t read it when you’re hungry though because it’ll just make you hungrier. And you’ll be really upset if you can’t eat the food that they’re describing in the book…which, in my case, is not really a possibility. So I’m just left frustrated. I really want to go get Japanese food now. I’m going to have to settle for a California roll from Kroger and miso soup from instant mix. I don’t care, though. I’ll do it. Or I’ll make onigiri.

It makes me think of all the foods that I want to eat but can’t make. Like my mom’s biscuits and gravy. Or her spaghetti sauce. Nobody else makes it right! Although I did find out that the reason everybody else’s tastes wrong is because my mom adds red wine, literally any kind. Cooking sherry. She doesn’t care. Just red wine and brown sugar to any pasta sauce. Even if she uses it out of a jar, she’ll just doctor it with red wine and brown sugar. And we don’t drink, so we literally- the only alcohol that we ever have on hand is red wine. Just for pasta sauce and for no other reason. So I’ll literally just buy things for the labels, if I like the picture or the name of the company, because we just don’t care. We just get the cheapest. It doesn’t matter. Makes it so good. It’s the secret. It’s the trick. It’s really all that you need.

Or yeah, her biscuits and gravy. I would do things that should be frowned upon for my mother’s biscuits and gravy. It’s delicious and I can’t make it. So to have somebody go away and do a bunch of research and come back and be like “here’s the recipe, here’s how to make this food that you love…and I’ve made some for you, try it.” ::chef’s kiss:: Yes, please.

I’m going to give it a rating of: 8 Bowls of Rice. Because it was that good. It was that good. I would need to go back for seconds, thirds, fourths, fifths, sixths, sevenths, and then eighths because I enjoyed it that much.

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The Kamogawa food detectives are a father/daughter duo who can help you with your mysterious food memories. Did you spouse or parent make a meal for you that you just can recreate? The food detectives are here to help!

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A cozy atmospheric read. The "cases" that the father-daughter duo solve are all low stakes, and more about the human experience and empathy than the mystery itself. The food descriptions alone are beautiful and immersive, even for the dishes I was unfamiliar with and I was pulled into the connection these dishes have for the people involved.

Since this is a book where each chapter is its own self contained story (with the same cast - think low stakes tv show episodes) and I think that if you read it straight through it can be a bit repetitive, and I recommend instead reading and pausing and coming back. I do wish that we could have learned more about Nagare and Koishi as the book progressed.

This book is a sweet respite of a book that showcases the importance of food, culture, and empathy in being human.

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I loved this book! Who needs a comfort read? Think of a dish you loved and are unable to recreate, well this father daughter duo can and do with empathy and unique insights to the lives they are preparing this for which leaves them better off for it. My aunt and cousins and I will talk about certain dishes my grandmother made we each remember a little differently. This book taps into those dishes we remember almost in the way one remembers an old friend or love. You also feel as if you are traveling to Japan. I hope this is the first of a beloved series of these special characters.

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Hisashi Kashiwai's 'The Kamogawa Food Detectives' is the perfect cozy, non-stressful, and heartwarming book. Focusing on a father and daughter's detective work to connect people to their past with food, Kashiwai writes a simple yet effective novel about nostalgia and how remembering our past can allow us to move on to greater things. With the restaurant being so hidden, there is an idea of fate and how people are brought together towards new experiences by our past and our future, simultaneously. I do not often like low-stakes novels, but something about Kashiwai's writing was so charming while still being entertaining as a 'detective' book that I couldn't get enough!

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How do I put into words how this book, how these stories have left me? I’m at a list of coherent words, so I do apologize if this review is messy.

I have not read many translated books, but when I do, they are something else than native English novels. A part of me wishes I could read this story in its native language, as the author most likely intends it to be read. There are most likely certain nuances and other things I will not understand. However, I am fully grateful that this book was translated as well as it could be.

Nostalgia. Melancholy. Hopeful. Peaceful. Those are the words that would help me describe my mental/emotional feelings after reading this. My stomach though is saying it’s hungry, and I have been very cognizant of how much saliva production has been happening. A semi unlikely story of a detective turned chef, running a restaurant with their daughter who also is a, get this, a food detective too. Characters come to this hidden spot in search for the meal, the memory, the moment of their past. The food detective chef is able to sleuth around and meet the challenging requests of their clients.

Many people can relate how good triggers memory, and vice versa. This book definitely allowed me to reflect on my food memories and how that has influenced my own life. This is a four star recommendation to all.

Thank you Netgalley and Mantle for allowing me to read this book.

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Chasing memories through food with the help of food detectives who recreate dishes from the past.

A widower needing one last taste of his wife’s Nebeyaki-Udon before moving on to a new life with a new wife or a beef stew to remind of a path not taken are just two examples of these bittersweet stories.

Readers who like food themed stories should give this one a go.

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"The Kamogawa Food Detectives" by Hisashi Kashiwai is a delightful and heartwarming novel that celebrates the power of food, memories, and human connection.

Set in Kyoto, the story revolves around the Kamogawa Diner, a special restaurant run by Koishi Kamogawa and her father, Nagare. This unique eatery is not just known for its delicious meals but also for its role as a place where food detectives work their magic. Koishi and Nagare have a special talent for recreating dishes from people's cherished memories. These dishes often hold the key to forgotten pasts and the potential for future happiness.

One of the strengths of this novel is its ability to evoke the sensory pleasures of food. The descriptions of the dishes are mouthwatering and evoke a strong sense of nostalgia. Readers will find themselves craving the flavors and aromas described in the book.

The characters in the story are endearing and well-developed. Koishi and Nagare's father-daughter relationship is heartwarming, and their dedication to helping people reconnect with their pasts through food is touching. The book also introduces a cast of diverse and interesting customers, each with their own unique story and connection to the Kamogawa Diner.

The narrative is structured in a way that weaves together various stories of the diner's patrons. Each chapter focuses on a different customer and the dish that holds significance in their lives. This format allows for a rich exploration of human emotions, memories, and the role that food plays in our lives.

"The Kamogawa Food Detectives" is not just a story about food; it's a celebration of the universal human experiences of loss, nostalgia, and the enduring power of cherished memories. It beautifully illustrates how a single dish can transport us back in time and help us reconnect with our pasts.

In summary, "The Kamogawa Food Detectives" is a heartwarming and beautifully written novel that will appeal to readers who enjoy stories about food, memory, and the profound connections we can make with others through shared experiences. It's a book that will leave you not only craving delicious dishes but also appreciating the richness of life's flavors and the importance of preserving cherished memories.

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I enjoyed this short novel. The food descriptions are expectedly stellar! I liked the format, although I don't think it's the kind of book to read straight through; each chapter corresponds to a client, it's very formulaic and repetitive. But there human stories are moving.

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Father and daughter Nagare and Koishi Kamogawa run a small-time "food detectives" agency in Kyoto in the back of their almost obscure restaurant. Nagare is a retired police detective and now an enthusiastic chef and Koishi is his assistant. Clients find the Kamogawa Diner after seeing a small ad in "Gourmet Monthly" magazine that doesn't even list an address. All of the clients are longing to taste a dish from long ago that is recessed into their memory, but the details of which are hazy. All of these dishes evoke strong feelings of nostalgia.

There are basically six short stories in this book and while I thought the theme was rather cute, I found all of the stories to be pretty similar and repetitive. It would have been more interesting to me to find out more about Nagare and Koishi in each subsequent chapter, but all we really know is that Nagare is widowed and that Koishi is single and in her 30s. There just wasn't enough in here to make me recommend it to others.

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I read "The Kamogawa Food Detectives" as an ARC off NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I enjoyed the book. Due to the conversation and description of food, the book made me hungry. It is comprised of cute tales of people looking for food that they find nostalgic. Food is memories. The little details littered throughout the book were nice too. For example, there is a cat mentioned throughout the book, the photo wall, and some commentary on Japan's cultural aspects. However, the things I had issues with were some technical aspects: incorrect use of quotation marks, repetitive dialogue tags, spelling discrepancies, and how the story started out kind of slow. These are all very small potatoes and did not bother me too much though. All in all, I thought this was an enjoyable quick read if you want something cozy.

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This book is part a Japanese series described as a bestseller and mouth-watering. It was translated quite well from Japanese, however, there are still many Japanese words interspersed throughout the story. The Japanese names for the characters remained the same as in the Japanese version. I often did not know if a character was a male or female since the names are not familiar.
Much of the story takes place in the unique Kamogawa Diner, known for their exorbitant, and delicious meals. A father-daughter team specialize in recreating dishes whose recipes are long lost, but the memory of them is not. This restaurant of “lost recipes” provides many with a link to their past.
The story for me moved along rather slowly, and despite loving to cook and bake myself, I did not really relate to any of the characters, who spent most of the time experimenting with various combinations of ingredients to produce the treasured recipe in someone’s memory.
I received a complimentary copy of this book. All comments and opinions are my own.

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This book was charming and heartwarming and it made me so, so hungry. Food is so much a part of our lives, and tied intricately to our celebrations and relationships. Thinking of a beloved dish that you can no longer eat is a particular type of nostalgia—one that this book exploits in the best way. I could have read about Koishi, Nagare, and their diner patrons for far longer than this book lasted. While its rhythms and references are particularly (wonderfully) Japanese, it appeals to the human in everyone.

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**Thank you for the ARC!! All opinions are completely my own.** 4-4.5 stars. Enchanting, magical, and heartwarming (like a bowl of steaming hot ramen). Highly recommended for foodies looking for a cozy read. This collection of short stories revolves around customers' requests to find meals that evoke special and personal memories. If this cozy restaurant existed in real life, you can be sure I'd be there every week!

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