Book Review: 『メゾン・ド・ポリス』by Miaki Kato (加藤実秋)

メゾン・ド・ポリス
Title: メゾン・ド・ポリス
Genre:
First published: 2018
Published: 2018
Publisher:
Format: Bunko
Series Number: 1
Page Count: 352
牧野ひよりは憧れの刑事になったが、毎日雑用ばかり。そんなある日、奇妙な焼死事件が発生、話を聞いて来いと上司からメモを渡される。そこはなんと、退職した元刑事たちが暮らすシェアハウスだった!敏腕、科学捜査のプロ、現場主義に頭脳派。刑事魂が再燃したおじさん4人は、老眼、腰痛をものともせず事件に首を突っ込んでゆく。失踪したひよりの父の謎、おじさんたちの過去も徐々に明らかになり…異色の連作ミステリ!

There are three books so far in the series 『メゾン・ド・ポリス』. The first book was published in 2018 and the third one just came out (February 2019). There is also a drama adaptation.

『メゾン・ド・ポリス』is a novel but it contains 5 different stories, all devoted to a different case.

Setting

Hiyori Makino is a young female police officer who struggles to find her place in the criminal division (刑事課) where she has been working for only 3 months.

“Maison de Police” is a house where several retired police detectives live together as flatmates. They have left the world of crime beyond them, but when Hiyori comes to consult them on an old case, they start to investigate again.

Review: Light and easy read, interesting characters

I overall liked『メゾン・ド・ポリス』.

First of all, I liked the unique setting of the book: with its bunch of retired detectives, it felt new and refreshing.

I also liked the overall tone of the novel. It is a light read, the author does not give a realistic account of a police investigation with all its different procedures, which can be burdensome to read in a foreign language. In this novel, the headquarter is the Maison de Police, and its inhabitants work much like private detectives to help Hiyori solve mysterious cases.

As each story is short (around 60 pages), the author focuses on the plot, without much descriptions or introspection, which makes it easy to read.

Another thing that I really enjoyed is that the cases are serious ones. When mystery novels have a light tone, they sometimes have light mysteries to crack, and I don’t feel very committed to them. In 『メゾン・ド・ポリス』, Hiyori works at the criminal division, so reading this novel feels like reading a police/detective fiction rather than simply mystery fiction, if that makes sense… I find that the author cleverly managed to mix a light tone and serious cases, and I loved the book because it has these two dimensions.

The characters are very interesting, and I felt I wanted to know more about them and their past. I will definitely read the second tome of the series.

To sum up, I would say that this novel is a good one for Japanese learners. It is relatively easy to read, it contains five short stories so you can take a break between them. The stories are suspenseful enough to encourage you to keep going even if reading in Japanese is challenging.

Note for Japanese learners: while I found the first 4 stories easy, the 5th one is more difficult. The writing style is the same, but the case is more complicated. But if you have read the first 4 stories, you will be able to read the last one too!

I also recommend to make a list of the main characters and a list for each story, or you might be overwhelmed with names.

I made a quick sketch of the cover to remember the names of the main characters.

Trailer of the drama:

https://youtu.be/WIcjjuE8xgY