Recently, I've been reading sequels from a variety of mystery authors. Writing a full review post of every sequel seems a bit redundant, but here's a quick report on some recent ones. As I often do, I'm notably interested in the way these authors use food to tell their stories.
The second in the Rei Shimura series is titled Zen Attitude (published in 1997). I enjoyed it very much, for its many Japanese scenes set in several Japanese cities. Rei Shimura, the amateur detective who just happens to be around when murderers are busy, has become an antique dealer, with customers whom she must handle with Japanese tact despite her American upbringing. There's plenty of suspenseful detecting and escapes from dangers, as one would expect.
"You drink mugi-cha, don’t you?” My hostess poured cool barley tea for me into a dark earthen-ware cup. (p. 41).
Or another occasion when she slept at a friend's house:
"She showed me a thermos of green tea and a tiered basket filled with pickled vegetables and onigiri, fresh rice balls stuffed with pickled plums that I loved. I must have smelled them when she walked in and woke me up." (p. 166).
If anything, I liked the second in the series better than the first one. I'm surely expecting to read more!
Cara Black's Aimee Leduc
Black's Murder in Belleville is the second detective tale in the Aimee Leduc series (published in 2000). It's every bit as over-the-top violent and exciting as the first in the series, maybe more so. By the end of the first chapter, Aimee has been a witness to a fatal car bombing, has picked up the survivor (a friend who had phoned her for help), stolen a moped, dragged her injured friend onto the moped, and avoided an unknown but clearly evil-intending pursuer. She rides the moped down the steps of a Metro station, with her friend somehow on her back, avoids the enemy, and gets away. That's just the first chapter. Oh, yes, she also is always dressed perfectly for every scene.
Not much more about this that I would want to say. Lots of bad guys! Really bad ones! Will I read another? Probably. Will I read all 20 of them? Probably not.
Tana French's Dublin Murder Detectives
"Becca digs her heels into the ground, stares at her beef casserole and refuses to get pulled in. If they want to act like idiots, that’s their problem; they can fix it themselves."(p. 427).
"A heavy girl with her back to me looked like she was lashing into her food, but over her shoulder I caught a full plate of chicken pie chopped into tiny perfect squares, getting tinier with each vicious cut." (pp. 232-233).