11 February 2014

The Cherry Blossom Murder, Fran Pickering - Reviewed.

When Tokyo-based Londoner Josie finds a body under the cherry blossom, she sets out to track down the killer.

The mark of a successful author, is the ability to transport a reader to a different place, absorb our imagination into a realistic character, and envelope us until we are a real part of their unfolding story. Fran Pickering's The Cherry Blossom Murder does just this, introducing the (somewhat kaleidoscopic) settling of British expat and amatuer sleuth Josie Clark into the mysterious Japanese way of life. In addition to solving her fragmented love life, Josie sets herself the task of unravelling the seemingly random murder of a member of staff in her Takarazuka Revue fan club.
Josie "finds that everyone has a secret and no one can be trusted as the questions pile up. What is sinister Ms Kato up to? Who is the strange man who waited for the victim and does glamorous actress Tammy know more than she should? And who could get through the locked door? Josie must shatter the smooth surface of Japanese life to solve the puzzle and stop the fan club killer striking again"

I was honoured to be asked to review Fran's debut novel, and was really surprised to find myself sinking back into the Japanese world we experienced whilst travelling. As we made our way through Japan we experienced a Tourist version of Kyoto, Tokyo, Hiroshima & Nara; so it's wonderful to experience an insiders view. Her writing evokes the Eastern beauty of Japan's Cherry Blossoms, the abstraction adapting to unfamiliar cultural norms, and the focussed interest of Japanese fascinations. Whilst reading, I found myself wishing my way back to Japan, to experience the shimmering light reflecting from Kimonos worn during performances and beautifully made bento boxes, fresh from a local kitchen.
The Takarazuka Revue is a Japanese all-female musical theater troupe based in Takarazuka, Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan. Women play all roles in lavish, Broadway-style productions of Western-style musicals, and sometimes stories adapted from shōjo manga and Japanese folktales.

I wasn't the only fan...
We follow Josie Clark in an enthralling romp through glitz, intrigue, theatre, sake with a dash of the humble cup of tea. Essential in any investigators kit.
I highly recommend The Cherry Blossom Murder, especially for escaping dreary urban bad weather. There are several ways to get your hands on a copy; Amazon UK for Kindle or in paperback, Amazon.com for Kindle and paperback and Kobo and other ebook readers worldwide.

I can't wait for the sequel!

Twitter | Google+ | Facebook | Bloglovin' | Email


  1. Hi Emma, thank you so much for this review! I was holding my breath wondering what you'd say, so it's such a relief to find you liked it. You're my first reviewer, so this will always be very special.

    1. It was an absolute pleasure to read!

  2. This sounds like a great read and totally in the genre of books I love!

    1. Honestly Bailie, it's such a great book!

  3. Fabulous review Emma! I can't wait for the sequel.


So, what do you think? Comments are blogging mana; short, sweet, long, loquacious, deep and meaningful...