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In 1979 James Melville introduced a significant new figure in to British crime fiction the Japanese detective Superintendent Tetsuo Otani of the Hyogo Prefectural Police. Otani, a very human but also very Japanese policeman, has to supervise an investigation which begins with a murder (a relatively rare crime in Japan) in a small Zen temple community where all the suspects are foreigners, but expands into the murky waters of drug trafficking and organised crime. Praised for its 'entrancing, splendidly intricate description of Japanese society (straight, criminal and official)' The Wages of Zen was not only well-received in the UK and the US but also appeared in a Japanese edition under the title The Chishoji Temple Murder Case.
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