Red Tea


Jordan Howard is the new assistant English language instructor at the Ogawa High School in Japan. Shortly before her arrival, a student, Yuki, committed suicide, clouding Jordan’s first day of school.  Another student, Akira, confides in Jordan’s fellow teacher, Tatsuyasensei, Yuki was not a suicide. Several people believe this, especially after a second student, Emi Hirata, commits suicide. After her death, Inspector Toshihito Sakurai is called out to solve this suicide club case. Jordan can’t help but be intrigued with both the inspector and the idea of a suicide club that is taking her students from her, so she tags along for the ride. Will she come through unscathed?

“Red Tea” is written as intricately as a puzzle box is carved. There are twists around every corner and thinly veiled evil lurking everywhere. The story arc is good and parts of it keep the reader on the edge of their seat. The novel starts out tediously slowly and stays that way for the first third of the story. There is an exceedingly large cast of characters making it difficult to keep track of them all, but it is vital that the reader know them in order to solve the case along with the Inspector. Written as mostly narration, this tale has little dialogue, so one doesn’t get to truly know the characters. The world building is delightful and gives one a nice view of what living in rural Japan could be like.

Belinda Wilson