The Bullet Train Murder is the latest in Fran Pickering‘s ‘Josie Clark in Japan’ mystery series:
When a body’s found on Japan’s famous bullet train it’s got nothing to do with Josie Clark. Or has it? Tokyo-based expat Londoner Josie Clark hopes her transfer to Osaka will give her career a boost, even though it means commuting weekly on the bullet train. But when a colleague is found stabbed to death on the train she’s forced to take a fresh look at her fellow workers. One of them is a murderer – but which one?
As I’ve said before when reviewing this series of books, murder mysteries aren’t really my top choice of genre, but I do enjoy Fran Pickering’s books for the slice of Japan each one provides. The Bullet Train Murder is set in Osaka and Tokyo, and as usual Fran’s descriptions of the cities and life in Japan are spot on. Josie Clark is a likeable character; an expat Brit living and working in Japan. In this novel, as well as seeing Josie’s crime solving skills at work again, we also see a softer side of Josie and get to know more about her relationship with Dave, her on-off, sometimes long-distance boyfriend. Josie has two big loves in her life – Japan and Dave – and finally she is faced with choosing between the two.
For anyone who loves Japan and wants to read stories set in Japan, this is a great choice. There are bullet trains, secret noodle shops, bars full of salary men and there’s a taste of Japanese office life many tourists would never get to see. I’ve not worked in a Japanese office myself, but I can imagine Josie’s office very clearly and it seems pretty real!
How Josie continuously finds herself caught up in murder mysteries is a little far-fetched, but if you can suspend disbelief long enough to skip past this and get into the story, it’s a good story and I have to admit I had no idea who the murderer was!