Book Review: All She Was Worth by Miyuki Miyabe
by V. Shalace [June 23, 2021]
It all begins when bank employee Jun Kurisaka discovers that his new fiancé Shoko Sekine has no credit cards. While applying for a credit card on her behalf, Jun is shocked when he is told that Shoko has a bad credit record and confronts her about it. Shortly after, Shoko disappears without a trace. Desperate to find her, Jun brings the matter to his uncle, police detective Shunsuke Honma, who is currently on medical leave. As Honma begins to investigate the disappearance, it quickly becomes apparent that there is much more at stake than his nephew’s broken engagement.
This book was a great read, even if parts of it were a little dark. Mystery stories have long been a favorite of mine, and this was the rare kind of mystery that became more and more mysterious the further I read.
Although Detective Honma begins by investigating the disappearance of his nephew’s fiancé, each new piece of information he uncovers brings up more and more questions about a life that seems to have been built on deceptions. It was like each new detail I learned about the case made the mystery of what happened more complex, and the process of piecing together the truth with Detective Honma made the book difficult to put down.
The story delves into the underbelly of the credit industry, the history of consumer financing in Japan, and issues created by credit cards and money lending. The author paints a compelling picture of how perfectly ordinary people can be driven into crime, and I learned a great deal about consumer credit and its associated problems.
There is an interesting theme throughout the story regarding women as well, and how they are often underestimated. The roles of women in modern society are changing, bringing with them different expectations, different goals, and different dreams. Misconceptions and preconceptions about what women want and are capable of, as well as about debt and debtors, are all woven together in order to explore some of the intricacies of Japanese society and human psychology.
Perhaps my one complaint would be that I wish the story had gone on a little further and told me more about what happened afterwards. Even though the mystery itself was unraveled by the end, I wanted to know more about the aftermath. Instead, I was left to wonder what, after everything, each of the characters thought and felt when the case was finally solved.
Regardless, I found myself still pondering this story long after I finished it, and I’m already in the process of reading it over again.