With her sleek bob, manicured nails and healthy appetite for good alcohol, Mami Suzuki cuts a sophisticated and determined figure in Simon Rowe’s new book, “Mami Suzuki: Private Eye.” Underneath this stylish exterior, however, is a harried single mom who works for a meager income as a receptionist at a busy hotel in Kobe. Mami moonlights as a private eye mainly to better provide for her preschooler and elderly mother.
The straight-talking sleuth first appeared as a character in the title story of Rowe’s short fiction collection, ”Pearl City: Stories from Japan and Elsewhere” (2020). Encouraged by the positive reception from readers, Rowe elevated Mami to a starring role in his latest book, which consists of four self-contained mysteries (including “Pearl City”). Cases come to the investigator via word-of-mouth, with troubled people seeking her help in solving matters that the Kobe police won’t touch — or her clients prefer to keep under wraps.
Mami Suzuki: Private Eye, by Simon Rowe. 203 pages, PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE SEA, Fiction.