All She Was Worth

Title: All She Was Worth

Author: Miyuki Miyabe
Publisher: Mariner
Number of pages: 296
Genre: Crime Fiction/Mystery
Awards: Best Novel of the Year and Best Mystery for 1992 in Japan
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
When police inspector, Honma, is asked by his nephew (Jun) to investigate the disappearance of Jun’s fiance, he has no idea that he will be enmeshed in an enormous tangle of deception and woe.
Apparently, the fiance has had her identity stolen by a beautiful girl who must escape a life of desperation which is brought upon her by enormous financial distress.
I found it terribly ironic to read such a novel considering the economic struggles America is currently suffering:
“Honma could well imagine the vicious circle the Shinjo family had been caught up in. A small down payment and a large loan. Then, when things got tight, a second loan, for a smaller amount, this time from a loan shark. That set the pinball rolling, picking up speed, than going too fast for anybody to stop. Finally, they came up against one of those operations that charge ten percent interest every ten days, a front for the yakuza-all the debts had fallen into their hands, apparently.” (p. 231)

Every country has people who want the best, and want it now, regardless of their ability to pay for it. Credit card debt, mortgages much higher than the property is worth given to families who cannot afford them…these very issues are raised in this novel which not only examines a murder mystery but Japan’s contemporary life. Which is not so very different from America’s.
With this important exception: in Japan, the creditors hunt you down. Until the hunted become the hunters as they are in this crime thriller.

Also reviewed by Tanabata.

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7 thoughts on “All She Was Worth”

  1. Oh, that sounds perfect for the moment. Excellent review. I'm a little horrified that I talked my son into putting his summer income into a mutual fund, just before all hell broke loose. I guess we'll have to pay him back and his "college money" is now a long-term investment.

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  2. Well, if there's a bright side to any of this, I suppose I can be glad my son's grade point isn't high enough to get him into college. All that money I saved will have to build up again, which ought to give him enough time to earn some better grades. At least our boys aren't into the things the characters in this novel are!

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  3. I hope you like it, Samantha.Tanabata, it is ironic how the economic situations are similar between this book and the current state of affairs (almost globally, now). Maybe you would like it more if you'd waited, but I still thought it was going to dwell more on the shopping tendencies of one girl rather than her swapping identities.

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