SLOW FUSE by Masako Togawa


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 A sluggishly paced and indifferently written whodunit from an acclaimed Japanese practitioner of the genre (A Kiss of Fire, 1988, etc.), whose sole (though scarcely unique) distinction is its employment of a young psychiatrist as detective. When Dr. Uemura sets out to investigate a murder to which one of his patients has confessed, he finds the alleged victim inconveniently alive. She is Mrs. Owada, the seductive and mysterious wife of an airline pilot, and she denies any knowledge of Akio Tanno, the deranged young man who insists he's murdered her. Captain Owada doesn't remain around long enough to confuse matters further, nor does Akio himself, but the embattled Dr. Uemura finds his attention distracted by the lissome flight attendant who was adulterously involved with the pilot, by Mrs. Owada's disturbing habit of removing her clothes and sunbathing whenever he visits her, and by other overwilling females variously connected to or involved with an impotent homosexual professor preying on male students lured to his home by his sensual young wife, who may also have shared a lesbian relationship with. No wonder, the,, that it takes Dr. Uemura so long to figure things out, considering the number of women who keep dragging him into bed to divert his attention. It's a great pity that Carol Burnett isn't still doing her weekly TV variety show; she'd have a fine time with this hysterically overplotted soaper. Togawa has been called ``the P.D. James of Japan.'' Well . . . maybe she's the Erle Stanley Gardner.

Pub Date: Nov. 15th, 1995
ISBN: 0-679-41862-8
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Pantheon
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 1995