October 19, 2001
MarkBernstein.org
 

All She Was Worth

All She Was Worth
Miyuki Miyabe

Inspector Honma, recovering from a bad leg, investigates rumors surrounding the disappearance of the fiancee of his unloved second cousin. This police non-procedural (Honma is freelancing, so he's essentially an enfeebled, elderly, and exquisitely polite rogue cop) has a nice sense of place. It has received prizes and accolades: "best novel and best mystery novel of the year in Japan," says the cover. The book is marred by an excess of exposition; we learn too much of the surface of credit trouble in Japan, and too little of its depths and dynamics, or its real impact on people.