Member Reviews

This book is wonderful if you enjoy dialogue between characters, as that is mostly what this one is.
It isn't bad by any means, just sadly not my cup of tea when it comes to reading.
I wonder if maybe the audiobook would be a better experience, you can just sit back and listen to the conversations and enjoy the mood more that way.

The food all sounded delicious though and had me running to my local Japanese restaurant after :)

And I absolutely loved the concept of trying to discover the recipes people enjoyed via detective skills. So fun! :)

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This was less a novel than it was a collection of short stories, and I think my biggest problem with it is that it would've worked better AS a single short story. Each one was effectively the same story with a few different characters, and nothing ever really happened. It was 95% dialogue. I usually really like cozy reads, so this was disappointing to me.

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This is going to be a shorter review, because I don’t like to share spoilers, so some straightforward sentences…

Comfort food in literary form.

I adored this cozy novel. I loved the way the chapters were written and set up, and am very glad that this is book one and there will be more to come 😍



Thank you to G.P. Putnam’s Sons and NetGalley for the DRC

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Set in an unmarked restaurant in a Kyoto alleyway, the father and daughter detective duo draw people from all over Japan who are looking to find a taste of the past. This absolutely charming, feel-good book has an element of serendipity in how people come to find the Kamogawas and each chapter is a self-contained story. Initially, I was turned off by the repetitive nature of the structure of each story, but came to appreciate it (and really enjoy it) as a device to expose more of each customer's personality and motives. I believe I saw that this was the first book of a series and I certainly hope that is the case as I will be eager to read more of these stories and by this author!

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Thank you to NetGalley and Putnam Books for allowing me access to the E-arc.

3.5 stars*

This is a beautiful and cozy tale about a father-daughter partnership to help people rediscover their favorite foods. I think this book is a great example of how much food is woven into our memories. A certain dish can bring us back to the time that we ate them.

If you love Before the Coffee Gets Cold then you will enjoy this novel. I highly recommend it!

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It is so true that food and scents can unlock memories. This reads more like a collection of short stories rather than 1 novel as some of the information about the restaurant and the owners is repeated. I liked that the customers came in and tried to recall this one dish that impacted their lives and the chef and his daughter did what they could to help them. Some of the stories brought a tear to my eyes. This was a quick read at 200 pages and is a good palate cleanser in between longer books.

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This book was incredible. It look about the length of the first story/chapter to get into the cadence but it was absolute joy to read. I liked that each chapter was another food case and the continuing story line was Nagare, Koishi, Kikuko, and the locals who became regulars at the diner. I would absolutely come back for a second volumes of more stories. Did Nagare come to accept Drowsy the cat? Did Koishi end up with Hiroshi? Did Koishi become a detective herself? Its formula at its best. I will absolutely be reading Before the Coffee Gets Cold and be buying copies of The Kamogawa Food Detectives for my personal library and as gifts for friends/family. Truly magical. And made me very hungry!

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3.75

This was a sweet little story in the same vein as [book:Before the Coffee Gets Cold|44421460]. Koishi Kamogawa and her father Nagare, run the Kamogawa Diner, where they can make any food you request. Each chapter follows a different customer, each of whom want a dish from their past but with varying memories of what the dish actually was.

While I personally would have preferred something that tied everything together more in the end, I did enjoy learning about each of these characters and each of these meals. The food descriptions here were fantastic! Every time I read the book I was disappointed I don’t have easy access to authentic Asian cuisine.

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During the pandemic I started watching the Japanese import, Midnight Diner series on Netflix and became entranced by the culinary skills and philosophic reserve of the owner/chef, Master and the parade of lost souls who searched for gastronomic and spiritual nourishment in the very late hours of the evening. Often they weren’t even sure what they were looking for until they took the first bite or sip and then other parts of their lives: memories of unresolved traumas, of childhood, love, and death played out at their seat at the counter. Much of the same magic happens in The Kamogawa Food Detectives by Hisashi Kashiwai though it is on a more focused and yet, on a larger scale.

The setting is in Kyoto at a restaurant so well disguised that most long-term residents of the city have never heard of it. A small notice in a gourmet magazine mentions the services of these food detectives in finding that crucial and elusive taste or dish from your past. The book is divided up into “case studies,” or deftly written vignettes of those seeking the services of Nagare and his daughter Koishi. Koishi does the interview/interrogation and then often dolefully presents the near impossible assignment to her chef father. The hopeful clients often have the barest shreds of memory to share as clues, a childhood train ride to a diner or the color of a sauce in a dish a deceased relative made or a meal in a nameless restaurant in a half-remembered place, just before a traumatic parting. Two weeks later, on their return, Nagare has performed a culinary miracle; the recreated meal is presented and the case is solved. He then details his considerable investigative work on the original cook as well as extensive research into the local terrior and the geographical/cultural factors for the ingredients sourced in the original dish. It’s all fascinating and as finely delineated as any Arthur Conan Doyle story: the smallest items such as the thickness of breadcrumb as a batter or an obscure local fruit used as one of the flavors in a dipping sauce can make a crucial difference in taste. Nagare’s findings usually go well beyond just the reproduction of a memory; the discoveries he shares with his diners prompt revelations and introspection, often intensely bittersweet. There is a beautiful delicacy throughout this small gem-like collection, both in the descriptions of food, but also in the rendering of individuals haunted by the meal that got away. It is a deceptively easy read that casts a long shadow. Recommended

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A real gem of a book, filled with food and love. Nagware and his daughter, Koishi have a restaurant in Kyoto, with no sign or name in the outside. When people come to the restaurant, they are looking to recreate dishes from their past, and enter the back room which is the Kamogawa Detective Agency. Koishi takes down all the details, while Nagare does the detecting. What they are really doing is recreating the events and emotions surrounding the memory of the food. Each chapter features a new character with their own unique story, I really enjoyed this one. Recommended. Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC.

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What a sweet, heartwarming book.

In this story, there is a food detective who can find (abs recreate!) any recipe you’re looking for.
He can make the exact recipe your grandmother made and make it the exact way she did.

Each person who comes to him has a reason they want the recipe they’re looking for. The first character is a widower planning to remarry and move away but before he does, he wants to have his wife’s udon recipe again exactly the way she made it.
Another customer wants his mother’s recipe for a dish he loved as a little boy.

Each recipe has its own challenge to recreate but the food detective can raise to every challenge.

I loved the foodie talk too. But I really enjoyed the lengths the food detective went to in order to research each recipe. I also loved the touching reactions each customer had to trying the dish they chose.

Beautiful story.

Thank you to NetGalley and Goodreads that both gave me copies of this book (a ebook edition and a physical arc respectively).
I loved it!

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As someone who is not a fan of winter, I was hoping to find a book that would feel comforting but also be a mystery, one of my favorite genres. I don't know why but mysteries during the winter months just seem to coincide in my mind and this book definitely brought that atmosphere to me. Not only were the stories very touching and thought provoking, but I feel that I also learned about Japanese cuisine, another area of interest of mine. Very nice book.!

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This book was so cozy. It was the perfect read on this cold, snowy, January day. This book reads like a collection of short stories. A father and daughter run a restaurant, and on the side they also run a detective agency that will recreate any meal from your past. Each “story” focuses on a different investigation. The food descriptions will leave you drooling but it’s the depictions of human relationships and interactions that will leave your soul full and warm.

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Koishi and Nagare Kamogawa operate two businesses from the nondescript building on Shomen-dori in Kyoto: The Kamogawa Diner and the Kamogawa Detective Agency. Clients arrive, are invited to eat from the day’s set menu, then head to the back where Koishi interviews them to get an idea of the dish they want prepared - its historical value, where food items were probably sourced, and any other qualities that will help Nagare, a former police detective, to track down and recreate the dish.

Each of the six chapters follows the same formula: the client has a tricky time finding the place, looks around at the interior and is impressed with the high quality of the food they are invited to eat, then they go through the interview, wait a couple of weeks, get the dish served to them and an account of Nagare’s detective work that led him to successfully recreating not only the specific dish, but helping to open up the client to the emotional impact it had on them then and now.

While some might find the repetition tedious, I loved it. Each chapter reveals a little more of Nagare and Koishi, so that by the final chapter, you appreciate the roundness of their characters. I think most people will be struck the most by the delicious food and the great descriptions of the dishes. Lots of reviewers say, “I devoured this book” for good reason! I get the feeling that the formula helps to establish a sense of solidity; the world is always changing, restaurants disappear and beloved family members pass on, but the Kamogawas exist to ensure that lost things can be found. This sets this apart from other detective stories because of that focus on re-establishing a connection to the past through taste. I can think of several dishes that I’d love to have someone recreate for me from my past!

I look forward to more tasty dishes in the future from Hisashi Kashiwai.

For those of you unfamiliar with Japanese cuisine and culture, you’ll want to look up dishes and ingredients, and you may even want to have a map of Japan open so you can follow along for full immersion into the book. I loved learning more of the etiquette around eating as well as Buddhist traditions honoring departed loved ones. Thank you, Hisashi Kashiwai, and thank you to Jesse Kirkwood for the great translation to English!

Reader advisory: great book for readers of all ages, and definitely recommended to Japanese language students. Readers may also want to visit Japanese restaurants to sample some of the dishes mentioned!

Thank you, G.P. Putnam’s Sons and NetGalley, for granting me a copy of this book for review. Any opinions are my own; I’m not receiving any kind of douceur for my write-up.

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Do you have a dish you wish you could taste for one last time? Something so far-fetched and random, you can't even remember a lot of the details but you remember the taste and other memories surrounding it? That is where the Kamogawa Food Detectives come in! A daughter and father run a diner together and they help recreate specific meals that are connected to specific memories and people.

I really liked this book! I feel like a lot of the Japanese literature I have read has been very cozy and this one is no different. Each chapter is about a different person and we learn their backstory and what meal they want. A lot of the meals are connected to specific memories or people. I loved the different stories and the nostalgia connected to the food. It made for a cozy environment. I also loved the different food descriptions. I am not super familiar with Japanese food but all of the food described in the book sounded delicious! The characters were all very likeable and it made for a very cute and cozy story. We also have a cat that makes an appearance and that was fun too. The book was only about 200 pages so it was also a quick read. I also think the cover is super cute! Time to go get some Japanese food!

I do wish we got a bit more of the actual detective work that was done. It basically skipped over all of that but I think it would have been a fun addition to see. We only got a bit of how the dad tracked down the recipe but I think the book could have been a bit longer and could've followed the dad through his discoveries. That is my only complaint!

If you enjoy cozy books and Japanese cozy books, I would definitely recommend this one! Thanks so much to netgalley and PENGUIN GROUP Putnam, G.P. Putnam's Sons for the arc of this book in exchange for an honest review!

I posted this review on netgalley and Goodreads. I will also post an Instagram story about it. I also plan to post a review on my Instagram closer to the release date.

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This was such a fun and cozy read!
I love a lot of Japanese fiction and I couldn’t resist the cover art of this one. Some people might be confused with detective in the title and expect something a little darker, but this is truly a light hearted comforting read.
Featuring a father daughter duo that recreate nostalgic dishes for patrons who wish to remember a moment of their past, this collection of 'mysteries' will leave your heart warm.

Thank you to NetGalley and G.P. Putnam's Sons for the eARC.

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translated, Japan, foodie, contemporary, ex-cop, detective, father-and-daughter, investigations, friendship, friends, family, nostalgia, culinary, cultural-exploration, cultural-heritage*****

The Kamogawa Diner is a restaurant of “lost recipes” where patrons request the Food Detectives (ex-cop father and modern daughter) to unlock a prized memory from their past. The mystery and the investigations are very uncommon to many of us but the foodie aspect is somewhat similar to the foodies of some European nations. I was delighted to find that it has a fluid translation and that I could use it to go on a cultural expedition as well as a foodie delight. Now all I need is an audio so I don't have to mangle the Japanese in my head!
Thanks to Jesse Kirkwood for the smooth translation.
I requested and received an EARC from PENGUIN GROUP Putnam, G.P. Putnam's Sons via NetGalley. Thank you!

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A sweet read from a prolific author who also writes really good nonfiction.
This was a popular series in Japan and I've seen it dramatized for television as well. In the process of translation, some nuances are lost, but it was a fun read and yet another charming book for those readers of Japanese literature who enjoy a warm and cozy read.

Thank you to NetGalley for an advance copy of this book. It's a sweet addition to the genre of translated Japanese literature.

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"The Kamogawa Food Detectives is the first book in the bestselling, mouth-watering Japanese series, for fans of Before the Coffee Gets Cold.

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

Down a quiet backstreet in Kyoto exists a very special restaurant. Run by Koishi Kamogawa and her father Nagare, the Kamogawa Diner serves up deliciously extravagant meals. But that's not the main reason customers stop by...

The father-daughter duo are 'food detectives'. Through ingenious investigations, they are able to recreate dishes from a person's treasured memories - dishes that may well hold the keys to their forgotten past and future happiness. The restaurant of lost recipes provides a link to vanished moments, creating a present full of possibility.

A bestseller in Japan, The Kamogawa Food Detectives is a celebration of good company and the power of a delicious meal."

Could this be my favorite cover so far this year? Yes. Yes it is.

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3.5 stars. A cozy read about a food detective. Definitely a quick book to curl up with. Cute cute cute.

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