Member Reviews

This was such a great start to this series, it had a great mystery going on and thought it worked overall. I enjoyed how well Hisashi Kashiwai wrote this and was invested in the mystery going on, the characters felt like they were suppose to and left me wanting to read more.

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While this wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, it was a quick and easy read with some interesting and (Avery) shirt stories. It wasn’t neigh for me to say whether or not I’d like a full book from the author, but it certainly introduced me to them.

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I fell in love with this idea: having detectives to recreate the dish that you thought you would never ever have again. Finding the same flavors, reliving same memories, remembering the people associated with those dishes - it would only be a dream

It looks like this book can blossom into another series like "Before Coffee Gets Cold". You will have your set menu like your cup of coffee, and you would be transported into another dimension. Because there is no denying that senses of taste and smell are closely aligned with memories. You can be the your 5 year-old self remembering that dish your mom cooked or go back to your 20s, to a moment when your life was about to change.

Now I want to find a place like this. I want to go back to specific moments of my life where I was happy as I could ever be and also to the moments when I didn't know was the last with certain people. This book is opening so many doors to forgotten times; hope there will be more of it.

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Do I want to go to Japan and ask for a detective to hunt down a long lost recipe from my memory? After reading this short and sweet novella of sorts, the answer is YES!

This is a book in translation - originally published in 2013- starring a father daughter detective pair who can locate and recreate a favorite dish from a delicate eel to spaghetti with hot dogs. They set up in a non descript location, relying on the customers to find them- ensuring indeed a certain type of clientele. The reader is led through a series of cases, featuring wonderful food descriptions and charming journies through the seasons in Japan. There isn’t an overarching plot of grand theme, but it is enjoyable all the same.
This would be a great gift book for the gourmand in your life. To me the translation is a little, unusual, giving the characters a bit of a British tone, but, I’m not an expert in Japanese so perhaps the translation is more real to life than I would know.

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I just finished and I’m already hoping for a sequel! I was a bit skeptical going into this, but I ended up really loving it. This manages to be sweet and heartwarming without feeling treacly, an issue I often find with cozy books. It did have a bit of a sad feeling as well and had so many poignant moments of nostalgia. It’s compared to the Before the Coffee Gets Cold, but I actually prefer this one, something about the father-daughter relationship and the aspect of food made me want to read more. Definitely don’t read this while hungry, the descriptions of food are so good I found myself *actually* salivating.

ARC provided by NetGalley.

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THIS BOOK IS JUST SO GOOD TO BE TRUE. Heartwarming and sweet! as J-lit 'lovers' you should give this book a TRY!!!!

Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Group Putnam for the arc

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I hope you have a delicious, gourmet Japanese restaurant nearby if you decide to venture into this sweet, cozy and delicious read. I am a foodie and was completely engrossed in each meal that was described in every chapter of this book.

The Kamigawa Food Detectives is a heart-warming series of stories about a father and daughter, Nagare and Koishi Kamigawa, who have a unique restaurant in a side street of Kyoto, Japan. Their restaurant and food detective agency helps recreate a person’s long lost meal that triggers an important memory in their life. Each chapter introduces you to a new character seeking out this one-of-a-kind gourmet retreat to recreate their most memorable meal from their past.

This little book was so thought provoking that it brought to light how important food and memories are to a person and how emotions and relationships are tied to food in your life. I found myself asking others, “What meal in your life brings back your fondest or worst memories?”

Thank you Putnam Books and Net Galley for allowing me to read this Advanced Readers Copy! @PutnamBooks

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Delightful stories of the memories attached to food and a girl and her father who help track down the recipes and help their customers relive those magical moments. I love the writing, I loved the concept, and I loved the memories this brought up about food. A lovely book. I recommend it.

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This book was cozy, comfortable, sweet, and full of a calm kindness. I loved every moment (and now I’m REALLY hungry!!!!) I believe this is the first translation of a series and I’m excited for the rest.


Thank you NetGalley for this ARC. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Delicious book about the power of food and it’s connection to memory.

On the surface, this is a fairly straightforward book. Father-daughter duo of Nagare and Koishi Kamogawa run a dinner - and a food detective agency with each ‘case’ being contained within a chapter. When someone shows up looking for a dish from their past, Koishi interviews them, then Nagare gets to work recreating the dish. The individual arrives, Nagare explains how he ‘researched’ and recreated the dish, and the individual goes on their way. But like a Haiku poem, there’s more to it than that.

For example, the first customer is an old friend of Nagare. His wife died 15 years ago, and he’s considering getting remarried, but has a few concerns. It’d be a new location, new family (they would be living with his elderly father-in-law, whom his new wife is taking care of) - lots of changes. He’s requesting that Nagare recreate a special dish of his first wife, Nabeyaki-udon - chicken and vegetables simmered with udon noodles. The new wife makes it, of course, but it’s not as good as the first wife. Nagare recreates it, and in doing so, explains how the second wife won’t be able to recreate it exactly the first - the water is different, the veggies at the local market are different, and so forth. It will still be good, just different. It’s almost like he’s telling the friend yes there are will differences, but it will still be good. Just different.

I really enjoyed this book. I’m a bit of a foodie though, so I may be biased. It is a little slow moving - we never get to see Nagare researching the recipe, going to other locations, interviewing people, making the dish, etc, only him describing the process to their client; almost all the action takes place in the dinner. But it’s like a good meal - it’s meant to take a while, not be quickly devoured. There were some quirks; it was translated from Japanese into English so phrasing was a little unusual. I think I googled what two dozen dishes to figure out what they were, and I’m unfamiliar with the geography of Japan, so I checked google maps several times. With some books, outside research like that becomes a distraction, but with this book, it was almost like it was simmering.

Highly recommend - if you enjoy books that are meant to be savored.

I received a copy of this from NetGalley.com that I voluntarily chose to review.

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"The Kamogawa Food Detectives" by Nisashi Kashiwal is a heartwarming exploration of culinary nostalgia. Set in a charming Kyoto restaurant run by Koishi Kamogawa and her father Nagare, this novel unveils their unique talent as 'food detectives.' They recreate dishes from cherished memories, offering a glimpse into the past and future happiness. Through delightful short stories, it showcases the powerful connection between food and emotions. This cozy read is a captivating journey into the heartwarming world of culinary magic and human connections.

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short, heartwarming story about a father/daughter duo who recreate meals from their customers past. themes of loss and grief. overall, really reminiscent of the before the coffee gets cold series. i would rate it 3.5/5, and would recommend it if you like this type of book!

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A short and sweet story about food and nostalgia. I think if you like low-stakes books, this will be a good for for you: this is a very cozy and warm book with very little plot. Perfect for a cold winter evening, ideally.

The descriptions of the food were fantastic and made me want to try so many of them. The daughter and father who work the store weren’t the most interesting, but their relationship with each other was very cute. This is very dialogue heavy to explain what’s going on, and I actually prefer more inner musings than dialogue. I felt like I was being told, for straightforward and simply, what was happening. It also did tend to get repetitive towards the end and some of the translations were a bit odd, but that’s to be expected sometimes.

I think there is definitely a niche group for this type of book, just not sure if I am part of that.

Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Group Putnam for the arc. Opinions are my own.

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This a collection of short stories, all of which center around The Kamogawa Food Detective Agency. and its affiliated restaurant The Kamogawa Diner. The clients of the agency, drawn in by a cryptic ad in a gourmet magazine, all come to recover the taste of a meal from their past. It is run by a former police detective, now chef, Nagare Kamogawa who is assisted by his daughter Koishi.

Each episode follows a set pattern in which the client must find the agency in an unmarked, unassuming building in Kyoto. Upon arrival they are greeted by a cat named Drowsy, fed an unexpected expertly prepared meal and then are interviewed about their request. Two weeks later, they are fed the meal they requested along with being given new insights about their past. The Western reader is given some peeks into Japanese culture-how a meal is served, mutual bows of respect, Japanese regional differences. Even religious custom is explored as Nagare's wife's ashes are kept at an altar in the restaurant where he spends time praying. Perhaps most important is the attention paid to the subtlety of the flavors of the food and the act of being present and attentive to the act of eating.

I found these episodes to be formulaic to the extent of the dialogue being repeated word for word. It could well be that I am missing some essential cultural meaning that is somehow lost in translation. I can however only speak to my own. experience. Two stars.

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A one line advertisement in the Gourmet Monthly says:
𝙺𝚊𝚖𝚘𝚐𝚊𝚠𝚊 𝙳𝚒𝚗𝚎𝚛  –  𝙺𝚊𝚖𝚘𝚐𝚊𝚠𝚊 𝙳𝚎𝚝𝚎𝚌𝚝𝚒𝚟𝚎 𝙰𝚐𝚎𝚗𝚌𝚢  –  𝚆𝚎 𝙵𝚒𝚗𝚍 𝚈𝚘𝚞𝚛 𝙵𝚘𝚘𝚍.

Sometimes there is a dish that we’ll never forget, whether it’s one made by a loved one who is no longer with us, a meal we want to share with someone, an item from a restaurant one visited in childhood, or our comfort food. Whatever the reason, Koishi and her father Nagare investigate and recreate the food sought after by their patrons!

This book is incredibly cozy. It is broken up into 6 chapters, each titled by the food item that a particular patron is seeking to savor once again. The stories are someone repetitive, but sometimes cozy repetition just hits the spot. The handful of clues associated with the nostalgic memories of each patron is a sweet reminder of the power of food over our past experiences and feelings. Food brings comfort and warmth, extends love and hospitality, and lets us relive some of our most sentimental moments.

If you’re a fan of Toshikazu Kawaguchi’s Before the Coffee Gets Cold series, then check this book out!

On a personal note, I love food, so much so that I married a chef! I liked the concept of this book in that this little nondescript, family restaurant makes delicious food and is able to hunt down the recipe and ingredients based on the clues provided to recreate a dish. It sounds like a fun, mouthwatering challenge that I may want to present to my husband!

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This was marketed as being "for fans of Before the Coffee Gets Cold" and that's what drew me to pick it up. That and the cat on the cover.

It's a simple read, but I found many passages to be repetitive and the characters rather flat. I am not sure if the dialogue is juvenile and overly simplistic or if something is lost in the translation. It just doesn't really read like this is for adults. The conversations seem boring and that makes it a bit difficult to read. I'm partial to books with a lot of character building and interesting conversations. This did not deliver in that regards.

Also, I thought the cat would play a larger role in the stories, but nope.

Overall I think the concept had a lot of potential. I just wish it had been executed better.

Thank you to netgalley and the publisher for an arc in exchange for an honest review.

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The Kamogawa Food Detectives is an excellent atmospheric read. The story follows a father-daughter chef-detective duo who find long lost meals for customers. The meals eaten in this story are so mouthwatering (definitely don’t read on an empty stomach) and the Kyoto setting is so enchanting it made me fall in love with Japan all over again. This is a great book for fellow fans of Before the Coffee Gets Cold, but Kyoto edition and just your everyday, good ole detective work. I would love to read more food adventures with Nagare and Koishi. Thank you Netgalley and Putnam Books for the ARC!

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4.5/5 ⭐️

This book follows the story of a father and daughter who owns a restaurant called The Kamogawa Diner in Kyoto, Japan. Despite its good reputation, this restaurant is crummy and shabby-looking, lacking a sign outside, which always confuses potential customers. But the chef and father, Nagare, always thought that the customers destined to go there would find a way, leaving it all up to fate.

The customers always get perplexed when they see the restaurant in its state, but once they step in, they feel that welcoming warmth from inside. Koishi, the daughter, would then bring them back to their office to be interrogated regarding the dish they wanted with whatever information they could remember about these foods, which were only bits and pieces most of the time. Koishi would take down notes and give them to her dad, who would then set off to solve this. Nagare and Koishi's goal is to find the exact ingredients of the dishes the customers were asking them to make and to ensure they prepare the food the way the customers had them in the past.

This book is about love, friendship, and divine, mouth-watering Japanese food. It's about reminiscing moments in the past and thoughts of "what ifs." The dishes the customer asks for remind them of moments they've had with people they loved, places they've been, or, for some, to have courage in their new endeavors. Every story was heart-warming and poignant.

This book was a fast and comfy read. I ended up craving almost every food described in this book, making me miss Kyoto a lot. I enjoyed reading this book so much and recommend it to everyone!! I will always have a soft spot for Japanese literature.

Thanks again, Netgalley and G.P. Putnam's Sons, for letting me read this Arc in exchange for my honest opinion/review.

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I loved this delightful, heart-warming book. Koishi Kamogawa and her father Nagare run a restaurant/ detective agency that helps people to recreate foods that are of sentimental value. The 6 chapters in the book each cover a different customer with a unique touching story. Koishi and Nagare extensively research each dish to be prepared in the context of the customer's recollection and personal history to re-create the special dishes and associated memories. This is one of the best "feel good" books that I have read in a long time.

Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Group Putnam for an advance copy of this manuscript in exchange for an honest review.

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3.5 stars. I grabbed this to give myself a bingo on the Seattle Public Library Summer Reading Bingo ("translated") and the NetGalley August bingo ("publishing in 2024").

This is a sweet book and an easy read. This would be good for book groups, especially the situations in which nostalgia is the most important ingredient and how the chef sets the scene. There's also a chapter in which food really does represent love from emotionally stoic family members, and how this is sometimes only recognized much later as an adult. These were touched on only lightly in the book.

Not a higher rating from me because the writing was often repetitive, to the point that it interfered with the reading. Sections of each story are repetitive to point of likely being word-for-word reenactments. The chapter's character comes in, has a meal that they enjoy, and askes about the detective service. Lines from the father and daughter are nearly the same in each instance. The character is walked down a hallway hung with photos, which is described every time (the description does vary a little bit, but not significantly, as if to match the mood of the character, or enough to really add to the reader's impression of the hallway). After the detective work is done and the character has eaten their meal, the instructions for payment are almost bang-on word-perfect every time (I didn't scroll back to check, but it sure felt exact).

There's also a lot of repetition in the writing style. Instead of asking a question, or when making an observation, all the characters will make a statement and then end with "do you?", "have you?", etc. While the same exact 2-word appendment is not repeated in a row, the overall vibe is very same-y.

A worthwhile purchase for libraries, especially if looking for translated content and/or Asian writers.

eARC from NetGalley.

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