#Blogtour Fish Swimming in Dappled Sunlight by Riku Onda

 It’s my turn on the Blogtour Fish Swimming in Dappled Sunlight by Riku Onda.

About the Author

Riku Onda, born in 1964, has been writing fiction since 1991 and has published prolifically since. She has won the Yoshikawa Eiji Prize for New Writers, the Japan Booksellers’ Award, the Yamamoto Shūgorō Prize and the Naoki Prize. Her work has been adapted for film and television.

Fish Swimming in Dappled Sunlight follows on from the success of The Aosawa Murders and is her second work to be translated into English.

About the Translator: Alison Watts is an Australian-born Japanese to English translator and long time resident of Japan. She has wrote the translation of The Aosawa Murders, Aya Goda’s TAO: On the Road and On the Run In Outlaw China and of Sweet Bean Paste by Durian Sukegawa.

About the book

Set in Tokyo over the course of one night, Aki and Hiro have decided to be together one last time in their shared flat before parting. Their relationship has broken down after a mountain trek during which their guide died inexplicably. Now each believes the other to be a murderer and is determined to extract a confession before the night is over. 

Who is the murderer and what really happened on the mountain? In the battle of wills between them, the chain of events leading up to this night are gradually revealed in a gripping psychological thriller that keeps the reader in suspense to the very end.


The story is set in a flat in Tokyo – a young couple removing all traces of their time their as they prepare to move on as individuals. Aki and Hiro have a complicated bond, one that was once strong and has become brittle and is now broken. 

The events leading to the demise of their relationship seem to be tethered to a trip they took together. A simple mountain trek that has left them both deeply suspicious of each other. The events of that day occur in moments of flashback, memories that are jarred from the deep recesses of their minds, and sudden realisations that perhaps they both never knew the other at all.

Onda has a remarkable talent for creating a captivating read by setting the scene with the bare minimal. Just two people, their heightened emotions, their suspicions, and their strong bond. A bond that takes on a destructive nature – possibly a lethal one.

I find the way this author plots quite fascinating. Giving readers an inch then retreating back into the circle of safety. Is this a goodbye with closure, one where they retain fond memories and part as friends, or will this end with just one of them closing the front door behind them. It’s a short and poignant read.

Buy Fish Swimming in Dappled Sunlight at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Bitter Lemon Press pub date 16 Jun. 2022. Buy at Amazon comBuy via Bitter Lemon Press.

#BlogTour The Aosawa Murders by Riku Onda

Today is the last day of the BlogTour for The Aosawa Murders by Riku Onda. This is a spectacular read.About the Author

Riku Onda, born in 1964, is the professional name of Nanae Kumagai. She has been writing fiction since 1991 and has won the Yoshikawa Eiji Prize for New Writers, the Japan Booksellers’ Award, the Mystery Writers of Japan Award for Best Novel for The Aosawa Murders, the Yamamoto Shūgorō Prize, and the Naoki Prize. Her work has been adapted for film and television. This is her first crime novel and the first time she is translated into English.

Follow Riku Onda on Amazonon GoodreadsBuy The Aosawa Murders

About the Translator

Alison Watts is an Australian-born Japanese to English translator and long time resident of Japan. She has translated Aya Goda’s TAO: On the Road and On the Run in Outlaw China (Portobello, 2007) and Durian Sukegawa’s Sweet Bean Paste (Oneworld Publications, 2017), and her translations of The Aosawa Murders and Spark (Pushkin Press, 2020) by Naoki Matayaoshi are forthcoming.

About the book

On a stormy summer day in the 1970s the Aosawas, owners of a prominent local hospital, host a large birthday party in their villa on the Sea of Japan. The occasion turns into tragedy when 17 people die from cyanide in their drinks. The only surviving links to what might have happened are a cryptic verse that could be the killer’s, and the physician’s bewitching blind daughter, Hisako, the only family member spared death.

The youth who emerges as the prime suspect commits suicide that October, effectively sealing his guilt while consigning his motives to mystery. Inspector Teru is convinced that Hisako had a role in the crime, as are many in the town, including the author of a bestselling book about the murders written a decade after the incident. The truth is revealed through a skillful juggling of testimony by different voices: family members, witnesses and neighbors, police investigators and of course the mesmerizing Hisako herself.


The Aosawa family is celebrating a triple generational birthday,  very auspicious and a day to welcome friends and family. The last thing they are expecting is the day to end in mass murder. The only family member to survive is surrounded by rumours and suspicion about her involvement despite the death of the prime suspect.

The story examines the nature of truth and justice by having different people recount their version of the event and their experience. It certainly does have the haunting atmosphere and style of Kurosawa’s Rashomon, but more importantly it has the same overall thread of morality about it. Right or wrong – evil or good. Does the deed become less important, as it slips into the darkened chambers of myth and history, ergo what’s the point of enforcing punishment?

I think the more poignant question the author asks is if the murders at some point become the silent trees – when a tree falls and no one is around does it still make a sound? The answer is yes, just because there is no one to hear the sound it doesn’t mean the sound didn’t happen.

I loved both the story and Onda’s style. The reader becomes the silent observer and simultaneously the occasional narrator as the story is relayed in a series of memories, statements and interviews. It often gives the sense of being on uneven terrain, unbalanced and not quite sure where this is going or why, and sometimes it’s not even clear who is taking us there. However that is part of the brilliance of the plotting, the meticulous stringing together of fragments, flashbacks and observations.

It’s literary fiction, a beautiful lyrical dance of words and a mystery, which may not give a satisfactory answer to the question that plagues both the reader and the characters.

I thought it was a captivating read. You can’t help but be drawn into the tragedy that becomes an obsession. The tragedy that is still collecting victims decades after the event. Onda is a force to be reckoned with and her name should be up there on the long and short lists of best books.

Buy The Aosawa Murders by at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Bitter Lemon Press; pub date 16 Jan. 2020. Buy at Amazon comBuy at Bitter Lemon Press.