Cover Image: The Kamogawa Food Detectives

The Kamogawa Food Detectives

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

This is not your traditional detective story featuring a crime but rather a father-daughter duo in Kyoto who seek to rediscover and recreate a dish for their client which is tied to some fond memory or loss. As such the book is arranged into a couple of chapters dedicated to each client in which the description of the dish and the details of the location and association are related. There are plenty of vibrant descriptions of texture, aroma, and taste that bring the food alive. I hope you have something to satisfy cravings that are bound to come up while reading this delightful and charming story.

The most important part, though, is the connection between food, memories, atmosphere and emotions. The reliving of these recipes allows the client to rediscover important events and feelings and resolve things in their present lives. That is where this story transcends just a culinary delight. The stories go into some detail about the investigation about how they found the particular combinations that make this recipe just right and different than any other attempts to recreate the food. Sometimes it is a particular combination of spices that are specific to an area or even to one store, or locally sourced ingredients that might be influenced by the taste of the water. That is what is both very interesting about the book and also my one gripe comes from. I just don't believe that they would be able to recreate some of these recipes from 20+ years before in some cases. If a store is defunct how can they recreate the specific ratios of certain herbs to get just the right taste without having the client there to do multiple taste tests? Or if it is a secret recipe of a grandmother can they figure out what it could be. But that is a small complaint.

Enjoy this delicious and heart-warming story. Thanks to Negalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest opinion.

Was this review helpful?

3.5/5

“’Oh, there’s no such thing as rude or polite when it comes to food,’ said Nagare, clearing away the rest of her dishes and wiping the tables. ‘What matters is that you eat it the way you like it.’”

If there was a restaurant that could recreate a nostalgic recipe only based on your feelings and memories, would you go? It's the one dish you'd do anything to taste one more time - so you have to. In a quiet neighborhood in Kyoto called the Kamogawa Diner, the father-daughter duo that runs the place are ‘food detectives’ on the side, cooking up dishes for people who come hoping for a chance to eat their favorite memory again. Kamogawa Food Detectives is a mouth-watering book showing the power of a delicious meal - how lost recipes may provide a way to seemingly vanished moments, and lead someone into a present full of possibility.

This book reminded me so much of Before the Coffee Gets Cold - but for the foodies. The descriptions of the food shown throughout sound so delicious and make me want to book a flight ticket back to Japan just to have some of that food. I always had Google open just to understand exactly what foods everyone was eating in the bed, and it looked heavenly. Definitely not the best book if you’re hungry! In terms of the style of writing, was a bit simplistic and repetitive. Since the format is the same for every mystery that happens per chapter, towards the end it got very repetitive where I was waiting for something else to happen, and it never did. While I loved the characters that came in every chapter and their stories, I feel like the main characters weren’t doing much for me. I wish there was a bit more effort put into making the chapters seem like their own. But if you liked Before the Coffee Gets Cold, then it’s a similar structure and you’ll like this!

Was this review helpful?

I must be missing something, because this book is getting all sorts of rave reviews from around the world. For me, though, it was a total bore. Endless descriptions of foods, many of which I have no idea what they are (presumably Japanese specialties/ingredients). And random people showing up at this little restaurant to ask the owners to recreate a dish they remember from their childhoods. There really was no overall plot, just a series of people coming in with their requests. It was, as I’ve said, rather boring and it was also very repetitive, with the father-daughter restaurant owners explaining things to each customer, including the photos on the wall and the form each had to fill out. This made it seem like several independent stories, rather than one narrative. I stuck with it to the end in the hope that something interesting might actually happen. Nope!

Two stars simply for the lovely and loving descriptions of foods.

Thank you to NetGalley and G.P. Putnam’s Sons for the opportunity to read an advance readers copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

Was this review helpful?

This book is like a comforting, warm hug. The novel consists of a series of vignettes about various clients of the Kamogawa Diner and Detective Agency. Each person comes to the diner searching to recreate an important meal from their past. The owners of the diner, Nagare and his daughter Koishi, interview each customer to learn the story behind their mystery meal and then work to recreate it, The stories behind each client’s meal are heartwarming illustrations of the power of food, memory and nostalgia. Although I don’t know much about Japanese cuisine, the food descriptions were intriguing and mouth-watering, making me wish I could try the dishes. I also loved the relationship between Nagare and Koishi. I can’t wait to read future installments of this series. Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC.

Was this review helpful?

God I loved this delightful book. It was so pure and wonderful--I loved every minute of it. It was just a joy. Pure joy. My only wish is that the author's other books would get translated faster!

Was this review helpful?

The Kamogawa Food Detectives is a uniquely beautiful enjoyable book whose stories combine tantalizing food dishes with the search of said dish by people’s long-lost memories. All this done by a father-daughter food detective team. It’s completely satisfying with remarkable food dishes as well as the mysteries surrounding them. For those able to find the detectives, they hope their search for the missing taste will also help them find the peace they are searching for in their life.

Although they own a restaurant, the father-daughter duo also has an advertisement in a food magazine which allows those who find the ad, to find the detective agency within the restaurant. The clients come in and relay a memory of a certain dish they were fed, try to give as much information about who, what and where they were when they ate it, and then leave the rest to the detectives. Along with the detectives, is an adorable cat named Drowsy, who seems to have terrific intuition as to the emotions of the people trying to find their memory.

Without giving too much away from this delightful story, there are four people who come to visit the detective agency. The food dish stories are:

Nabeyaki Udon which is about a man seeking resolution in order to move on with his life.

Beef Stew about lost love, but was it really lost?

Mackerel Sushi about forgetting where you came from and the importance of the past in order to live in the present.

Napolitan Spaghetti is about food memories which we see and feel one way, not realizing what the truth was from the past which follows us forever.

The Kamogawa Food Detectives is a book of hugs. One for the stories and one for the readers.

Thank you #NetGalley #G.P.Putnam’sSons #HisashiKachiwai #TheKamogawaFoodDetectives for the advanced copy.

Was this review helpful?

The Kamogawa Food Detectives are father and daughter duo set in Japan. I found this book very fascinating and very original. Their customers come to them searching for a particular dish from their past. The detectives research and find and prepare the food for them. They often leave changed for the better. The stories are heartwarming and each one unique in it's own way. The only hard part for me were the city names I was not familiar with in Japan. Thanks to #Netgalley for this ARC.

Was this review helpful?

Thanks for the free book PRH International

Un curioso cozy mistery donde un padre y su hija son capaces de fabricar platos exquisitos pero también son detectives gastronómicos, pudiendo reproducir o encontrar cualquier plato de comida que sea un misterio para usted.

A través de 6 historias independientes que descubrimos gracias a la Taberna Kamogawa , donde la la comida es un pilar esencial para el desarrollo de la narrativa, ya que la comida es una de las formas en la que los seres humanos encerramos recuerdos.

Un libro con muchas enseñanzas y que te llevará a través de un viaje culinario ( y te dará hambre ). La edición con esta portada salió a la venta en 13/02 y también se encuentra en español con el título Los misterios de la taberna Kamogawa.

Was this review helpful?

Imagine a meal you've had once or twice so long ago but could never find something that tastes like it. Now imagine if there was a detective agency made just to make the long lost meals you can't find anymore. Meet The Kamogawa Food Detectives, a father-daughter duo who own a restaurant that happens to be an agency to find the meal you've been searching to have again.

I honestly really enjoyed this book and thought it was sweet, but I was in a reading slump which is the only reason I didn't rate it higher than. 3. But generally, the plot was sweet and it made me think of all the meals I would want them to recreate for me. I highly recommend it because it's short and sweet and is honestly fit for every kind of reader.

Was this review helpful?

In Brief
Light, soft, and nostalgia-inducing, The Kamogawa Food Detectives is the first in a bestselling Japanese series that offers a charming low-stakes collection of chronological stories following a different client to the detective agency. Nagare Kamogawa and his daughter run a difficult to find diner that also serves as a detective agency. Their clients are an assortment of individuals who come looking to have a certain dish from their past recreated in order to move forward in their lives or experience something they haven’t in many years. From a retired detective nervous about moving on with another woman years after his wife’s death to a woman living with regrets, these stories are filled with food, nostalgia, and the human need for comfort and the ability to move on. While it is disappointing the reader never gets a good look into how Nagare tracks down the ingredients and cooking methods for each dish, the payoff is in the emotions the dishes, and the story Nagare weaves on how he cracked the dish, gives the client. Simple and easy to read, The Kamogawa Food Detectives is a different sort of novel, but it can certainly speak to the human heart.

Extended Thoughts
Right off the bat, I’ll say The Kamogawa Food Detectives is not for everyone. But it’s certainly filled with food, Japanese customs, and a softness in the detective’s ability to offer things like closure and nostalgia to his customers. Told in a series of stories, this novel introduces a father and daughter duo who run a diner with no real signage that also doubles as a unique detective agency that helps clients taste dishes they hadn’t eaten in years. Readers looking for a story detailing how the detective tracks down the dishes and recreates them will be disappointed, but it does offer an easy and quick read that just might make the reader nostalgic for dishes they’ve had in the past.

The first in a bestselling Japanese series, The Kamogawa Food Detectives introduces Nagare Kamogawa, a retired police detective, and his daughter Koishi. Together, they run the Kamogawa Diner, which also essentially fronts as a unique detective agency. Here, they don’t take on things like murder mysteries, but, instead, the mystery of how to perfectly recreate a dish a client has eaten in the past and can no longer find. These vary from home cooked meals to special dishes cooked at various restaurants that may no longer exist. With each story split between one half that details the client and what they’re looking for and the other half that brings the client back to sample the dish, this novel is essentially a series of short stories linked by Nagare and Koishi, but the beauty in them is what this father and daughter duo can offer to help bring peace to their clients so they can move forward.

The Kamogawa Food Detectives is a light, easy read, but, since each story is set up in the same way, it can become a little too formulaic. The charm, though, is that each story both introduces someone new and incorporates some characters from other stories as other diners. I had a lovely time getting to know each client, whether or not I was destined to see them again in one of the other stories. It just offered a bit of life to this novel, something that indicated that, yes, each story is an isolated event, but life continues on. And, really, that’s one thing this book comments on. Each client comes looking for a piece of their past and finding it helps them move on, whether to new locales, new relationships, or just to move past a painful experience. Life continues on, and it was a quiet thrill I got when someone from a previous story showed up.

Each story follows a different client, and I liked that the first one was someone who once worked with Nagare. It was also a fantastic introduction to Nagare and Koishi as it also involved this particular client seeking a dish his late wife used to make so that he could move on to another relationship. It gave Nagare an excellent starting point, and created an easy way for the reader to follow the layout for each story. I did wonder how Nagare could possibly recreate dishes from restaurants that had closed down, or were created by a private individual, but he does reveal how he did it, and I was impressed with the amount of legwork he does for each dish. While I would have loved to travel with him as he figured out how to recreate the dishes, I also really came to appreciate the way each story was told. It was succinct, making it easy to read, while also holding that emotional piece that was so important to each client. From an anxious client hoping Nagare could recreate the dish, to an in-depth interview that helped the client relive the memories, to the tasting of the dish while Nagare wove his tale of how he figured it out, it really focused on letting the client feel and offered a look into the depth of emotions a person is capable of.

While Nagare and Koishi are the food detectives, the focus is never really on them. The reader follows them from story to story, as well as a certain diner Koishi seems to have her eye on though the reader never really gets to know much about him, but it’s difficult to really get to know them. They’re professional while working, familiar when with those they know, and delightful when they’re just father and daughter. Nagare was, through and through, quite the professional, and I adored his commitment to his late wife. Koishi, being much younger, felt a bit more explosive, letting her emotions get the better of her now and then. There was no real growth to them, but the reader comes to understand them a bit more from story to story and, after a while, they come to feel familiar.

The Kamogawa Food Detectives is certainly focused on the food. Each client is served something different when they walk into the diner, and they each come looking for a different dish. It could be overwhelming, at times, the amount of detail the author went into with all the food, but I also found it delightful. Then again, I do enjoy a book with lots of food, even if I’m not particularly familiar with it. I really enjoyed reading about how Nagare managed to track down specific ingredients and cooking methods. Since I wasn’t as familiar with these dishes, it didn’t exactly make me feel hungry, but instead made me crave dishes from my own childhood.

This is, of course, set in Japan, but, as I’ve never been, I struggled a little to picture it. Fortunately, most of the novel is set inside the Kamogawa Diner. This isn’t particularly well-described, either, but my active imagination was able to fill in the gaps. I would, though, love to have seen some of the pictures of the different dishes Nagare had hung up. I loved that each client stopped at a different photo and that it imparted some information to Nagare, and I wish I could have seen them for myself. But I really loved how all the little details made me feel like I was in Japan. The customs are not mine, but they’re similar enough to how I was raised that it felt familiar, and I liked that it felt authentic. I loved that it was so different from Western cultures, and that this wasn’t lost in translation.

The Kamogawa Food Detectives is certainly a different sort of novel. It’s light and easy, but has the potential to pack an emotional punch now and then if the reader is sufficiently engaged in a particular client’s story. I liked the soft edges of this one, and appreciated all the food talk. It took me a couple of stories to acclimate myself to the storytelling, but, when I did, I came to really enjoy it. This novel is sparse on details, but the details that are there spoke volumes. By the end of it, I was sad there were no more stories, but now I’m eagerly anticipating the opportunity to read the rest of the series.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a review copy. All opinions expressed are my own.

Was this review helpful?

It was very formulaic and repetetive, the same thing happened, verbatim, in each storyy and it was frustrating considering it is a 200 page book. Not sure if the translation was the issue but it didn't flow well.

Was this review helpful?

A great read! A father-daughter food detective duo in search of customers favorite 'lost' meals. the food descriptions are amazing and the story heartwarming. I look forward to reading more in this series, this is definitely for fans of the Before the Coffee Gets Cold series!

Thank you to NetGalley and G.P. Putnam's Sons for the eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

This book is the new definition of a delightfully low-stakes cozy. A former police detective and his daughter open a small, almost impossible to find restaurant with a back room focused on solving the food mysteries that clients bring in, for a cost of whatever they want to pay. Not only did this book (linked short stories) have deliciously described foods that had me drooling, the minute dramas in each chapter were really satisfying to follow. Shockingly, you don't "see" on the page any of the detective actually "solving" the nostalgia quests, you just hear about them later. Really lovely. Will recommend to anyone who wants a gentle read.

Was this review helpful?

I thought there would be more of a true mystery rather than just a food mystery. I found a lot of each section repetitive and the characters just ok. The setting was interesting.

Was this review helpful?

I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. Nagare and his taught Koishi run the Kamogawa Diner. The back of the diner also functions as the Kamogawa Detective Agency. In each chapter we are following the story of different person and their experience at the Kamogawa Diner. I enjoyed reading this book. I wasn't rushing to finish it, but I was invested in Nagare and Koishi. I wish the book contained a pronunciation table for the characters' names. I found myself glazing over the character names because I didn't know how to pronounce them.

Was this review helpful?

4 stars!

I'm very guilty of judging a book by it's cover and not reading the description/summary at all before starting, so when I picked this up I was expecting a cozy mystery, where food somehow helps solve crimes.

While there wasn't any violent crime, I might argue that it is a crime to lose recipes over time, or only get to eat an incredible meal once. Koishi Kamogawa and her father Nagare are crime fighters in that regard — they help recover "lost" foods, so that an aging man can enjoy a childhood meal, or so that a woman can enjoy the meal she was eating when she was first proposed to again, for example. This was a very cozy story about the connection food can have with emotions, memories, time and place. It made me nostalgic for my own past meals, and very hungry too!

Thank you so much to Netgalley and the publisher for a DRC in exchange for my honest review :)

Was this review helpful?

The Kamogawa Food Detectives is not exactly what I expected, though the title makes it very clear. Instead of being a cozy (or any other) mystery, it is quite literally about a daughter and her father who find and make important recipes for their clients and unearth the stories behind them. Koishi and Nagare run a little, unassuming restaurant in Kyoto with the primary purpose of helping people find what they lost, relive memories, and heal through food. The format feels almost like interconnected short stories, with each chapter focusing on a different character/client that needs the Kamogawa's help. The Japanese setting and atmosphere is lovely, and the food descriptions are wonderful. The overall vibe is one of nostalgia and comfort.

I am not a big short story fan, so this format was not my favorite but the author succeeded in creating a book that feels undeniably pleasant, like a warm hug or rather a warm bowl of soup. Fans of "What You Are Looking For is in the Library" will also likely enjoy this translated work.

The Kamogawa Food Detectives published on 2/13/24.

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

Was this review helpful?

Gratitude to NetGalley, PENGUIN GROUP Putnam, G.P. Putnam's Sons, and Hisashi Kashiwai for the ARC of "The Kamogawa Food Detectives." The cover's charm, featuring Asian cuisine and a cat, piqued my interest and set the tone for a delightful read.

Within Kyoto's Kamogawa Diner, Koishi Kamogawa and her father Nagare embark on a unique culinary journey as 'food detectives.' The narrative, rich with heartwarming stories, revolves around recreating dishes tied to customers' memories. From a widower's quest for a special noodle dish to the nostalgia of a first love's beef stew, the book seamlessly weaves food, emotion, and connection.

"The Kamogawa Food Detectives" is more than a book; it's a celebration of shared meals and the connections they forge. Warning: Do not read hungry! The vivid descriptions led me to pause mid-read, succumbing to the irresistible allure by preparing a bowl of Ramen. This Japanese bestseller is a heartwarming tribute to good company and the magic of shared culinary experiences.

Was this review helpful?

The concept of this was very precious. I love the idea that there is a detective team tracking down what made a culinary dish taste perfect at one moment in time. Nothing can evoke a memory quite like tasting or smelling a dish so delicious we’d been dreaming of it ever since our first taste.

I thought the characters were very sweet and the premise was very unique. This is a short read, but is definitely a book I will think about for a long time after. What would my nostalgia dish be? Honestly, I try to do this detective work myself already. I just recently solved my 18 year mystery of the best pizza pie I’d ever had in Chicago. All I remembered was the front door, the taste of course, and that the pizzeria was within walking distance of the Peggy Notebart Nature Museum. I like to think I’m one of the Food Detectives now, too.

Was this review helpful?

Translated from Japanese a quirky little story about a father and daughter detective team. They don't solve crimes. They food mysteries. Cute.

Was this review helpful?