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The Daydreamer Detective

(Miso Cozy Mysteries #1)

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  483 ratings  ·  97 reviews
She’s got her head in the clouds and a taste for solving crime…

Mei Yamagawa is out of luck and out of money. After five years in Tokyo, she has little to show for it besides a laundry list of unrealized dreams. Left without a choice, she returns to her rural Japanese hometown, ready to be branded a failure by her relatives and rivals. At the least, she looks forward to see
Paperback, 228 pages
Published March 31st 2016 by Onigiri Press
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Average rating 4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  483 ratings  ·  97 reviews

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Trish at Between My Lines
This review was originally posted on [Between My Lines]I became absolutely fascinated with Japan in S J Pajonas contemporary romance Summer Haikus and when I knew she was writing a cozy mystery also set in Japan, it was a no brainer that I would sign up to participate in the blog tour!  This blog tour is organized by Lola's Blog Tours, it runs from 4 till 8 April and you can view the complete tour schedule on the website of Lola’s Blog Tours:

Quick note this is a long post but I didn't want to le
DNF at 15%. Would have been a quick read, but I couldn’t get into the writing style. While I can appreciate that the author is very into Japan, the book very much feels like “look at how much I know about Japan” in a way that’s inauthentic and annoying.
Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020-ebooks
This was a nicely-written mystery with characters that I immediately warmed up to, with the exception of the killer, of course. ;) It was interesting that in Japan, the police actually welcomed civilian input on murder and other investigations. It did seem to move a little slower at first than I'm used to as far as talking about the murder itself, but it was probably setting the scene for background stories of the characters. There weren't a lot of suspects, and I did guess who did it, but the f ...more
Patricia Hamill
The Daydreamer Detective is a sweet and wonderful story. As a cozy mystery, the story features a young, amateur sleuth, Mei, who has found herself back in her hometown trying to resolve herself against her failed attempt at life in the big city. But she isn’t there long at all until her best friend’s father is found dead and her friend is implicated as a possible suspect. Add to the mix a handsome chef and a matchmaking mom, and there you have it.

What I love most about this story is the attentio
Aug 07, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: canreadin2017
I only finished this book because I wanted to see if the ending was as bad as I expected. It was. The writing was poor quality, but what I really hated were the characters. The trope of a protagonist with poor self esteem that is entirely unfounded is boring. It felt like not a single character had any self-awareness and none of it was believable.
Dec 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My new favorite cozy mystery series!

I received this book free from a cozy promotion. I hadn't read anything from the author prior to this book, but I thought the cover and title were cute. This is my new favorite cozy series! I also liked learning about Japanese culture. I now want to travel to Japan. Highly recommended!
Stephanie Jane
See more of my book reviews on my blog, Literary Flits

I enjoyed reading one of S J Pajonas' Japanese-set shorter stories, Mamachari Matchmaker, a while ago so snapped up this first book in her Miso Cozy Mysteries series, The Daydreamer Detective, as well. To be honest, the story is a bit too undecided on what it wants to be for my tastes. It's a coming of age tale, a chaste romance, and a cozy murder mystery, but the main focus is on Mei's woe-is-me ponderings about the disastrous path her life
Jun 13, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 Stars

Mei Yamagawa loses yet another sales job in Tokyo and is forced to return to her old small-town life on her mother's farm. When her best friend's father dies under mysterious circumstances, she is forced to investigate or see her best friend imprisoned for a crime she didn't commit.

Usually, I find glossaries a bit of an irritation, but there were at least five words in this book that were not easily discernible. One I managed to get through context and one was in the Kobo dictionary but
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review

I was so excited when I first heard SJ Pajonas was writing a cozy mystery and this book definitely didn't disappoint. The Daydreamer Detective is about main character Mei, she has just been fired from her job and can't afford to pay the rent on her Tokyo apartment so she return to her small hometown. This book is a cozy mystery, but it's about so much more. the characters take a strong focus and Mei her search for what she wants to do next and fi
Mar 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I had described this book to some friends. I decided that it was as good of a review as anything else I could come up with.

I've had Steph Pajonas' The Daydreamer Detective in my TBR for a while. I truly regret having waited this long to read a really excellent story. When the murder is revealed, you immediately have 4 suspects. The angry son who wants nothing to do with his father or his property, except to sell it. The doting daughter who hoped to get her father's property, she's a nurse by the
S.J. Higbee
May 04, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This one is an interesting mash-up. Yes, there is a murder mystery running through the middle of the narrative, which draws together the narrative. But it isn’t actually the pivot of the ongoing story. At the heart of this one is the fact that Mei, after being a bright, hardworking student and a talented artist, somehow has lost her way.

Instead of finding herself in charge of a project team and going from strength to strength, as she’d confidently expected when moving to the city some five years
Apr 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to the author, S.J. Pajonas, as well as Lola's Blog Tours for gifting me with a copy of The Daydreamer Detective in exchange for an honest review!

I really loved this book, honestly. It was such a... nice mystery. Yes, it was about a murder, but somehow the whole book wasn't sinister. There are just a few tiny things that would have made it even more perfect. Let's jump in!

1. The mystery itself. So this book is centered around a murder mystery. Mei (our MC) comes back to her home town t
Apr 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
*I would like to thank the author for providing me an ARC in exchange for my honest review.*

Right off the bat, let me just say that I will follow S. J. Pajonas anywhere her writing wants to go. I’ve read her sci-fi, contemporary romance, and even her short stories. And now, we come to cozy mysteries. This book is the first I’ve read in that genre, and if it’s anything to go by, I will certainly have to investigate it further.

The titular daydreaming Detective was Mei. She was someone I found t
Caroline Cairn
Apr 20, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I can't say I clicked with any of the characters. I didn't dislike any of them per se, but they were maybe too bland and nice for my tastes, the side characters in particular. The MC was so-so, nothing to hate, nothing to love. The mystery was too predictable, I had guessed everything (and I mean, everything) very early on. The pace was also too slow, and the scenes dragged on.
That said, the writing style flowed very well, and the Japanese setting was so vivid it was palpable. The descriptions w
Stephanie -BooksLessTravelled
*I received a free copy of from Lola's Blog Tours and the author in exchange for honest reviews*

This book is a great start to what looks to be a great adventure! The characters are well written, each having secrets of their own, some much darker than anyone ever guessed! When Mei returns home, the last thing she expected was to find her best friend grieving the sudden loss of her father! Mei is far from perfect, but having a kind heart, she sets out to help, and along the way finds that things i
Jan 28, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really thought i would like this more than i did. A day dreaming detective who loses jobs, has an awesome mum and paints is pretty much me. I loathe ‘Friends’ and the other American sitcoms mentioned, but otherwise me and me would be pretty tight. But, i needed a lot more background to take the way she horns in on the investigation - because that’s just how things are done in japan - as real; and what aikido knew made the story absolutely stupid and pointless. killed any sympathy you could hav ...more
Laz the Sailor
This is a cute and sweet story about a young woman who fumbles her way through life. She's living at home again after being fired from her past 3 jobs. Home carries old memories, both comfortable and not, plus new situations.

There is not much plot here; this is more of an exploration of how life is evolving in Japan, and how it affects people from each generation differently. There is a budding romance, a murder mystery, and some internal angst, but nothing dynamic.

Still, this was well written,
Feb 02, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
From the title you would think the book is about a detective who is a daydreamer. You'd be mistaken. It really is about a young woman with self doubt and low self esteem. We learn more about her struggles with these issues than anything else.

She does fall into detective activities as she attempts to clear her friend of suspicion. She does put clues together, but most progress comes from purely accidental coincidences. It was interesting to watch the story develop. My hope is that she matures in
Feb 17, 2016 rated it liked it
Cute premise and ultimately a nice story. I was put off a little by the ' I am such a screw up' litany from Mei, although I understand how it sets up what follows. I enjoy SJ Pajonas' other books enough that I look forward to seeing her develop these characters. Mei's mother is lovely.
I didn't like this as much as some of her other books (Face Time, Nogiku series) but I liked it well enough to want to read the next one.
Denize Chung
Flimsy story, I was expecting a light detective story but instead, the love element dominated the storyline, serving the main purpose in the story, the development is barely sensible, and I figured that if you knew nothing on Japanese Culture, you find it difficult to understand the vocab the writer used to illustrate the story, like kotatsu, they are literally Japanese romanisation.

I don't think I would like to read the sequel, only if I read most of the books on my reading list.
Tess Ailshire
Oct 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty good; a little slow for the genre. It was interesting to have one set in Japan; I had to constantly remind myself to drop the US-centric norms.

I don't like Mei, but perhaps she'll grow into someone I like. While I sometimes feel for those people with such low self-esteem and self-worth, I also tend to ignore them. They're just not the kind of people I want to associate with. Mei *might* grow in confidence; then she'd be a person worth knowing.
Carol Lee
A cute mystery that happens to take place in Japan

If you like the quilting mystery series or one of the series about living in the gothic South with kooky neighbors, then this is a good series for you. It has those same elements but also takes place in Japan. If you want a dark, cultural jaunt through Japan, this is not for you.
maria helena
Jul 12, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-cozy
I liked the setting, and it had potential. Unfortunately, the MC is one of the most annoying characters I've come across with no character development during the book, and the plot is very weak. I cannot even remember what significant events happened in the book. ...more
Feb 10, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is fine for what it is, but the 'detective' side of it was shunted into the background for some toe-curling girl-meets-boy romance that was just too much. The main character was not entirely likeable either. Cozy, undemanding but lightweight. 2.5 stars. ...more
Lee Simpson
This book was okay, but I like a Cozy Mystery that focuses more on how the "detective" figures out who committed the murder. This story seemed to focus more on her personal life and her struggles with her past. It seemed to me the figuring out the murder was a side note and not the main focus. ...more
Main characters I want to punch are not a huge draw for me.
Apr 09, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is a cozy murder mystery, set in small-town Japan. The protagonist, Mei Yamagawa, has lost the big-city job she'd longed for, and gradually acclimates to life back in small-town Japan.

This was a pretty generic murder mystery. More than half the book was focused on the romance sub-plot instead of the mystery, and the solution was very simple, only reached by Mei instead of the police because the police didn't seem to actually feel like doing police work.

There was a lot of contrived, idiotic
K. Lincoln
Aug 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In as fictional small town near Tokyo, Mei returns home to her farmer mother's house after losing another in a long string of dead-end jobs, getting kicked out of her Tokyo apartment, and basically feeling disappointed and sorry for herself.

But Chikata isn't the small town she left behind anymore. There's a big grocery chain developer, a hipster farm-to-table restaurant run by a France-trained hottie chef, and her best friend's father suddenly dead under mysterious circumstances.

This is an enter
Mar 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was going to give this book 3 stars, for reasons I will explain, without spoilers (I hope) but went with 4 since several other reviews gave it 4 as well, while complaining of my complaints. I like mysteries, hence the reason I jumped on this book, luckily, I also like travelogues, but this is a travelogue of a fake place in a real country.
There was a mystery, a murder most foul, but all that seemed to take a backseat to Mei walking around and filling us in on why she is so miserable, while be
Meghashyam Chirravoori
Nice in parts, but too stretched out for my liking

This must be a nice novel, but I won't know because I abandoned it right after chapter 14. Why? It was too slow and stretched out for me. I just skipped to the last chapter which served as an epilogue and figured that my guesses had been right.

I did like some things about the book - Mei seemed to be reluctant towards adulting, which was relatable. I also loved the chemistry between Mei and her mom.

After Totto-Chan, The Memoirs of a Geisha and Tok
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Steph Gennaro is a long-time Japanophile, and she’s been studying Japanese culture and language for over 20 years. She loves dreaming of far-off places, going for walks with her dog, Lulu Ninja Assassin, hanging out with her family, and reading outside in the summertime. There is no better season than summer. She’s a Capricorn, mother, knitter, and web developer, and pasta is her favorite meal. St ...more

Other books in the series

Miso Cozy Mysteries (5 books)
  • The Daydreamer Detective Braves The Winter (Miso Cozy Mystery #2)
  • The Daydreamer Detective Opens a Tea Shop (Miso Cozy Mystery #3)
  • The Daydreamer Detective Returns a Favor (Miso Mysteries #4)
  • The Daydreamer Detective Finds Her Calling (Miso Cozy Mysteries #5)

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