A van Gogh heist, a trip to Japan and a yakuza attack: Could there be a better summer?
Violet's an otaku—a comics-loving Japanophile, derided as a "Manga-loid" by her school's mean girls—who draws her own manga and makes scarves out of vintage kimonos. Her dreadful summer plans (working at the comic-book store) are delightfully derailed when she has to join her estranged artist father in Tokyo, where he's been commissioned to paint a mural. But what's this? Her father's employers have been relieved of three van Gogh drawings, and Violet knows just the suspicious characters who might be guilty! The plucky detective investigates in both Seattle and Tokyo, following suspects around town in a tangled blonde wig and deciphering codes incorporated in both art and kanji. Soon the mystery begins to resemble an episode of Violet's own manga, Kimono Girl, complete with dangerous yakuza (Japanese mobsters), blackmail letters and FBI stings. Eagle-eyed Violet's sleuthing is assisted by her keen love of art, from manga to van Gogh to ukiyo-e, Japanese woodblock prints.
A proficient caper spiced up by Violet's eye for art. (Fiction. 12-14)