The Guest Cat – Judging a Book by its Cover

The Guest Cat cover detailIt’s not often that an unknown Japanese writer publishing their first book in the UK hits the bestseller lists. In fact, it’s not often that any Japanese writer (other than Murakami) does. And yet Takashi Hiraide’s The Guest Cat has become one of the must-have Christmas books of the year. Thousands of people will be waking up to find it in their stockings on Christmas morning. So what has it done right? Continue reading

Autumn leaves, autumn colours… and murder

Autumn Leaves in Hockley, CanadaAutumn leaf viewing is a big thing in Japan – almost as big as cherry blossom viewing in the spring.  Plus, it has a special significance for me this year because the murder in my new book, The Haiku Murder, happens against the background of golden autumn leaves in Matsuyama, on the island of Shikoku. So I had to do a post on autumn leaves didn’t I? There’s just one thing I have to confess. Continue reading

The Haiku Murder is here!

The Haiku MurderIt’s publication day! The Haiku Murder is out!

A haiku-writing trip turns to tragedy when a charismatic financier falls from the top of Matsuyama castle. But was he pushed? Expat Londoner Josie Clark thinks so, but her life goes spinning off the rails as she tries to find the victim’s missing bag and its mysteriously valuable contents before more people die. Who’d have thought poetry could be so dangerous?

Praise for the Josie Clark in Japan mystery series:
Lush imagery captures Japan’s bustling cities and restful countryside… believably crafted characters, a fast pace, and clean prose. – Publishers Weekly

The Haiku Murder is the second book in the Josie Clark in Japan mystery series, but you can read it as a stand-alone story as well. Get the ebook at Amazon UK and Amazon USA, or the print version at Amazon UK and Amazon USA.

And, as a bonus, there’s also an ebook prequel novelette, The Tokyo Karaoke Murder. It’s a short read – should take about an hour – that challenges you to solve the mystery faster than Josie can. It’s on Amazon UK and Amazon USA.

The Tokyo Karaoke Murder

Another murder case (or two) for Josie Clark

Josie Clark in Japan mysteriesBack in February I published The Cherry Blossom Murder, the first book in the Josie Clark in Japan mystery series. It’s done really well, reaching the quarter finals (meaning it was one of the top hundred in the mystery and thriller category) of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, a competition with 10,000 entries worldwide. Now the next book in the series, The Haiku Murder is coming out – plus a prequel novelette, The Tokyo Karaoke Murder. They’ll both be published on 13th October, but you can pre-order the ebooks now. Continue reading

Book Review – The Art of the Japanese Garden

Art of the Japanese GardenA few weeks back I reviewed David and Michiko Young’s book on Japanese architecture, and now I’m covering the companion book on gardens. As with the architecture book, it’s published by Tuttle and is copiously illustrated with colour photos taken by the authors. I have to admit, when it arrived the first thing I did was check to see whether my favourite gardens were included. Some were, and some, to my surprise, hadn’t made the cut. Continue reading

Book Review – The Art of Japanese Architecture

THE ART OF JAPANESE ARCHITECTURE

I’m an ebook person most of the time. I like being able to download a book and start reading instantly, and I like that when I’ve finished I don’t have a book to clutter up my shelves. But I’ll make an exception for a beautifully illustrated book like The Art of Japanese Architecture. Continue reading

Granta does Japan

Yuji Hamada - Primal Mountain Here’s a bit of a change from art, food and flowers for you: a magazine. A literary magazine, in fact: Granta, whose spring issue focuses on Japan. It’s a special issue published simultaneously in Japanese and English, offering ‘twenty new Japans’ by Japanese and non-Japanese writers and artists who are residents, visitors or neighbours of the country. It looks like a fascinating selection. Continue reading

Book Review – Sayonara by James A Michener

SayonaraThis year marks the sixtieth anniversary of the publication of Sayonara, bestselling author James A Michener’s towering novel of racial prejudice and its tragic consequences in Korean War era Japan. The hero is an American ace fighter pilot; the heroine, a top star at the Takarazuka Revue. And since it’s also Takarazuka’s 100th anniversary this year, I thought this was a good time to tell you about one of my favourite books. Continue reading

Out now – The Cherry Blossom Murder!

The Cherry Blossom Murder

My book The Cherry Blossom Murder is out today!

Stubborn, down-to-earth Londoner Josie loves her life in Tokyo and her friends in glamorous actress Tammy’s fan club – until she finds a body under the cherry blossom. Determined to find the killer, she goes behind the scenes of the spectacular Takarazuka Revue to expose the secrets and lies, save a priceless treasure – and sort out her own increasingly tangled love life. Continue reading

Look – new website for The Cherry Blossom Murder!

franpickering.com

With the publication date of my new book, The Cherry Blossom Murder, galloping towards us (It’s coming out in February – I’ll let you know the exact day soon) I’ve started to spread my wings with a new website, franpickering.com. Take a look and let me know what you think! Continue reading