Cover Image: The Kamogawa Food Detectives

The Kamogawa Food Detectives

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Member Reviews

2.5 ⭐

(Thank you to Penguin Group Putnam for providing me with an eARC to review.)

The story was a quick, lighthearted read. I enjoyed reading about the variety of Japanese food that the restaurant made. My favorite parts of the story were where the restaurant owner told the customers how he prepared their meals. It highlighted the effort and care he puts into his cooking.

Unfortunately, there wasn't much substance to the characters. Even with Nagare (the restaurant owner) and Koishi (Nagare's daughter who runs the restaurant with him), we barely know them as characters. It was all surface level. Each chapter focused on a new customer as they sought out the restaurant; it was very repetitive how they found the restaurant through the food magazine ad, remarked that it was hard to find, noticed a photo on the wall in the corridor while heading to the detective office, and reacted to the food that they requested). The way Nagare and Koishi responded to them also felt repetitive. Also, the translation had oddly phrased sentences.

(CW: reminiscing of a dead parent, grief, dementia, mentions of death, terminal illness)

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4.5/5 stars! (Beautiful cover!!!)
I've been reading thrillers and fantasy lately so this was a nice palate cleanser that was a quick whimsical light read.

I probably should have read the description of the book a bit more as I was expecting it to be an actual mystery where someone dies and the father-daughter duo solve the mystery. Food is involved, perhaps the person died from their food being poisoned, or in their restaurant. That is not the case, but I did still absolutely love this book. What this book is really about is a father-daughter duo who are able to recreate a dish from a person's memory. Warning, don't read this book when you are hungry, or you will be even more hungry. The food descriptions truly were mouth-watering and the book itself was fun and whimsical. I really enjoyed the father-daughter duo. This book is broken up into multiple mini stories each featuring a different person wanting to create a different dish. Some stories are more engaging than others, but overall this definitely gave me the "Before the Coffee Gets Cold" vibes with the format and cozy feeling you get when reading each story.

Thank you NetGalley for providing an advanced reader copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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Thank you NetGalley and Penguin Group Putnam for my copy of The Kamogawa Food Detectives by Hisashi Kashiwai in exchange for an honest review. It publishes February 13, 2024.
What a charming little slice of life with a side of mystery! Wow, this book was a delight to read and I loved the rhythm and cadence of it. I would totally read more from this series. I loved all the traveling I got to do through Japan by reading this, and now I am so hungry!

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a short and sweet book about food. what would you give to taste a particular dish a loved one who passed on used to make?

the descriptions of food are mouthwatering and definitely made me hungry. it was fascinating to read about every complex dish.

however, i couldn't bring myself to care about the characters. the plot is slow. this is a short cozy book, but perhaps not the book for me.

thank you to netgalley and the publisher for an arc in exchange for an honest review!

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This is an excellent little book. It was so cozy and the food descriptions had my mouth watering. I would definitely read more about the food detectives, and would recommend it for people who like cozy, low stakes stories about food

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What’s the one dish you’d do anything to taste just one more time?

In Kyoto exists a special restaurant that serves up deliciously extravagant meals, but it is sought out for another kind of specialty: a father daughter duo of food detectives who pride themselves on being able to sleuth and recreate the cherished dishes from a person’s memory. From a widower’s treasured nabeyaki udon created by his late wife to a Napolitan that was shared between a granddaughter and grandfather, who now suffers from dementia, Nagare and Koishi Kamogawa specialize in making seemingly vanished moments come back to life.

This book had my mouth watering for food I’ve never tasted and filled my heart with a warm, fuzzy feeling as the Kamogawa’s reunited each customer with their cherished meal. Kashiwai weaves a magic that even left me filled with a sense of nostalgia, making me reminisce and crave the meals of my childhood. Warning: There is a very high probability this will make you hungry as well. The food descriptions are heavenly.

The Kamogawa Food Detectives is a charming read that celebrates the magic in simple moments such as sharing a good meal in good company and the often overlooked joy in these moments that manages to linger in our memory. There are no surprises in this book. Each chapter takes on the same format: customer manages to find the Kamogawa Diner, shares what little they can remember about their dish, and leaves Nagare to fill in the blanks and recreate the dish they’ve been longing for. However, each customer’s story is unique and left me craving to see what mystery was in store for the next chapter.

Overall, The Kamogawa Food Detectives is a comforting read, perfect for taking a step back and escaping the hustle and bustle of everyday to savor the simplicity of a good meal and the memories it has the potential to create. I highly recommend you keep this book on your radar for 2024 as the English translation will be published this upcoming February.

Thank you NetGalley for providing an advanced reader copy.

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Ahhhh man, I really wanted to like The Kamogawa Food Detectives much better than I did. I’ve been craving cozy books and I thought that this story of a chef who investigates the history of a recipe to recreate it for a customer would be perfect.

The food descriptions are my favorite thing about this book. I love how detailed they are and I do think there’s something fascinating about the ways in which our memories and times with certain people are connected to food. There’s even the idea of how water that we use to cook our noodles or rice affects the taste and I love that kind of thing! Anything that really gets into the intricacies of food and how important it is to us as individuals and humans as a whole earns a point in my book.

Sadly, that’s where my enjoyment of the book ends. I found a lot of the characters tedious and there wasn’t anything for me to connect to. The writing was also very stilted and not immersive so it was hard to get invested in this world that Kashiwai and Kirkwood have created. I wanted to like the investigator/chef but sadly, that connection was not there for me.

Overall, The Kamogawa Food Detectives has delicious food descriptions and sparks here and there, but it sadly wasn’t the delicious and heart-warming meal that I expected.

Thanks to NetGalley and G.P. Putnam's Sons for an ARC in exchange for my honest review!

This review has been scheduled to be posted on Goodreads, Amazon, and my blog on January 25, 2024.

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A former detective turned restaurant owner who uses his detective and cooking skills in tandem to find and recreate dishes from customers’ memories.

This story was so cute and wholesome. Very similar structure-wise to Before the Coffee Gets Cold, with a bit more focus on the restaurant owners. I generally enjoy Japenese literature, especially books with cats on the cover, and The Kamogawa Food Detective was no exception. And I’m really happy it actually featured a kitty. :)

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The Kamogawa Food Detectives is a cozy book featuring a father and daughter who run a restaurant and food detective agency. People find their way to them via a one-line ad in a magazine that promises that they will find the recipe their client seeks.

The book is set up as a series of vignettes, with each section detailing a different meal for a different client. I'm not a foodie, but I enjoyed the descriptions of the meals and the way the food inspired the memories of the clients.

This book was sweet, easy to read, and an enjoyable experience.

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This completely charming book is about a father-daughter duo who run an unmarked restaurant in Kyoto. The secret behind the tiny place is that it also is a detective agency where people come to have a dish from their past recreated. With clues that are often both vague and sketchy, the dishes are recreated and the clients can unlock the clues to their past. I loved this short boo!=k!

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This book was short and sweet. It doesn't take long to read and some of the stories were heart-warming. It would be nice to be able to replicate meals we remember from long ago that have wonderful memories for us. I think my favorite was the man seeking to recreate a dish his mother had made for him before a stepmother and stepsister came into his life. I love the father, but his daughter would get on my nerves a bit. She seemed abrasive to me but this may be the translation. I would enjoy reading another in the series if it is published.

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"The Kamogawa Food Detectives" by Hisashi Kashiwai, translated by Jesse Kirkwood from Japanese, is a whole new take on cozy mystery. I would create new genre for it if it doesn't already exist. Cozy Foody Mystery or Cozy Food Investigative. The mystery isn't a dead person but rather the investigation to find the right recipe to match a particular memory of a food someone had.

I do wish there was more to the actual investigation Narare, widower and single father, does. Each dish he makes he throughly explains why he made it how he did. However, I wish the reader could tag a long as he discovers and experiences these interactions. It makes the book feel like a collection of short stories where each one could be a book of it's own. This would bring them truly into the mystery genre.

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Not many people know about the Kamogawa Diner in Kyoto: there's no sign, nothing to reveal the delicious food within. Even fewer people know about the father-daughter team that owns the restaurant AND runs a food detective agency, tracking down lost recipes from people's pasts. But when six individuals find a cryptic advertisement in a gourmet magazine, they find their way to the Kamogawas' doorstep, discover amazing food, and relive memories held dear.

This lovely book feels almost like a cozy fantasy (like The Nameless Restaurant) but features no magic, just the determined cooking and food detective skills of Nagare Kamogawa and his daughter Koishi. Each chapter reads like an individual short story, each one beginning with someone searching for the restaurant in hopes of recreating a dish from their past. The plot and characters are lightly drawn but give the reader enough to savor the food described and to embrace the feel-good results of the detective agency. A wonderful little escape from your everyday life. 4 stars.

Thank you, G. P. Putnam's Sons and NetGalley, for providing an eARC of this book. Opinions expressed here are solely my own.

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A very lighthearted cozy novel. The reading felt like being snuggled up in a warm blanket. While I wouldn't call it magical realism, it has similar tones to stories that are in that category. Before the Coffee Gets Cold is an accurate comparison given that the settings of both novels are similar and have an air of mystery. I would recommend this one be read in parts rather than all at once. This is because it can come across as a bit repetitive since each story follows the same pattern with some variations. Even despite some of the repetitiveness, I just enjoyed the characters and seeing what old memory was unleashed through the love of food. The only thing that bothered me was that there weren't any recipes for the dishes!

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The adorable cover with the cat in the ramen bowl is what really made me want to read this book on NetGalley. I thought The Kamogawa Food Detectives was an endearing Japanese book that serves as a love letter to food - and proof that food can serve as a love language!

Nagare is a retired detective who now runs a small restaurant with his daughter. On top of being a restaurant, they also offer “food detective” services for those who want to track down a dish from their past. I think the sentiment is really fun and beautiful - the importance of food to our psyches is crazy powerful, and the memories tied to certain periods of our life can be pulled from the food we used to eat. This book had me starving each time I picked it up because of how descriptive it was with the different elements of the food being cooked. I will say that I found it easy to read because I’m a bit familiar with Japanese cuisine, but if you’ve never eaten or seen Japanese food, this might be difficult to get through because not a lot of context is given. I feel like I could easily picture these delicious foods in front of me like I was one of the diner’s customers, but that’s only because I’ve heard of this food before. For example, tonkatsu is made, which is a deep fried pork cutlet typically served on top of a bed of rice, and I know that because I’ve eaten it before and not because the book explained to me what it was. I think if I wasn’t so familiar with Japanese cuisine, I would feel a bit frustrated or would pause a lot (which would sour my reading experience) to Google what they were talking about.

I also think this book felt a tad repetitive, because the chapters have very similar storylines: a customer comes in, harps on Nagare for how difficult it is to find their restaurant, tells their story, and later gets to taste the food. But regardless, I liked every single storyline! I loved seeing the thought process of Nagare looking for the dish’s background or origin. It was interesting seeing him dig into the details of his customers’ past and find things I wouldn’t have expected. Even if it became a little repetitive, I still really enjoyed this book.

I’ve found that sometimes, the beauty and nuance can be lost when Japanese literature is translated into English. Sometimes the sentences can feel stilted or too straight forward, but I understand that fundamentally, their linguistics and overall structure of language and grammar are vastly different. This book unfortunately falls victim to the inevitable problem of things getting lost in translation.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Penguin Group for giving me this e-arc in exchange for my honest review!

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The Kamogawa Food Detectives is a hole-in-the-wall diner owned and operated by a father and daughter. The duo are food detectives who are sought after by locals looking to recreate dishes of their past.

This is a quick, and easy read, and do not read this while hungry because the dishes describes are mouth watering.

I love Japanese food and my stomach ached at list of dishes prepared for the diners.

The issue is that each section deals with one local and his or her problem recreating a dish from their childhood or past, offering little in the way of character development.

Each chapter begins the same; with the customer mentioning how difficult it was to find the diner, the father's devotion to his deceased wife, and how well the father has recreated the food and how touched the diner is at being able to taste a dish beloved from the past.

All of these elements were in each chapter featuring a particular dish and soon became repetitive and tedious to read.

The translation was also kind of odd, but I know it's not easy translating any original work from its native language to English.

The premise had great potential, if there was more of a mystery element added in it would have held my interest, but this didn't meet my expectations.

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