Hiroshima Boy by Naomi Hirohara

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The world’s favourite (possibly only) geriatric Japanese-American amateur sleuth A-bomb survivor is back and solving a murder on his home turf — Hiroshima. But while the believability of such a set-up (our hero is 86 in this, his last adventure) may elicit a sneer, the quality of the writing and the themes explored of what is home, what is loyalty and what is a life worth living demand a respectful bow of the head. This is no mere cozy mystery you might have thought the material would have been fashioned into. The seventh Mas Arai mystery, as is usual for the series, was a little hard to follow, but as is also usual for the series, the plot wasn’t the main source of enjoyment. The fun came from our hero’s lovable irascibility, honesty and sense of justice (and humor) that shine out from between his few, gruff lines that are always just enough, but no more, to get by in Japan or America. A touching end to a great mystery series.

Mas, you will be missed.

No. 32 of 100 books I intend to read and review in 2019.

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Patrick Sherriff publishes a monthly newsletter highlighting good fiction about Japan and featuring an original painting or sketch. He lives in Abiko, Japan, with his wife and two daughters.

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