It's Ken Tanaka's turn to stage a mock mystery for the L.A. Mystery Club and he's determined to do it right. Tanaka sets himself up as a fake P.I., office and all, only to have a femme fatale straight out of the movies try to hire him. Taking the case on a whim, Ken's detecting leads him to a mutilated corpse in a Little Tokyo hotel room. The police suspect Tanaka, and to clear his name, he becomes caught up in a mystery involving the Japanese Mafia and an international smuggling scheme. Martin's Press.
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Ken Tanaka isn't a real P.I., but when he poses as one for his weekend mystery club--printing up phony business cards, renting a storefront office, buying a trench coat and fedora--he gets some real business in the form of Rita Newly, who offers him $500 to help extricate her from a blackmail scheme. Unemployed and with too much time on his hands, Ken can't resist the prospect of adventure or cash. He takes the case, only to find himself the prime suspect when a member of the Japanese mafia turns up dead and in several pieces. To exonerate himself, Ken must find the real killer, and his inexpert gumshoeing tangles him in a complicated plot involving strippers, gangsters, and the World War II-era Japanese "relocation" camps.
The Anthony Award-winning Death in Little Tokyo introduces "the very first Japanese-American amateur sleuth mystery series written by a Japanese-American." Ken Tanaka is a welcome addition; he's likable, charming, nerdish, and unfailingly polite around old people and the police. He has a gently self-effacing sense of humor and a girlfriend, Mariko, who is an actress struggling against the lack of parts for Asian Americans. Set in Los Angeles's Little Tokyo, the mystery unfolds around interesting little lessons on subjects as wide-ranging as woodblock prints, Latino culture, the game of Go, Japanese American history and social ritual, and the intricacies of plotting a mystery weekend. The city and neighborhood are evoked in especially vivid detail; food, in particular, is lovingly described. This is the commendable debut of a refreshing, somewhat less-than-gritty new voice. --R. EllisFrom AudioFile:
This Agatha Award Nominee derives its plot from Japanese-American history and a WWII internment camp, imparting a modern murder mystery with ties to the past. Jonathan Marosz personifies Ken Tanaka's pleasant and clever character as he concocts a weekend for the L.A. Mystery Club. Marosz successfully moderates the subplots, support characters and discussions pertaining to race and ethnicity. This short novel, only four tapes unabridged, informs and entertains. B.J.L. (c) AudioFile, Portland, Maine
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