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Sunday 15 May 2016

'Yuki Chan in Bronte Country' by Mick Jackson

Published by Faber & Faber 
21 January 2016.
ISBN 978-0-571-25425-5

Japanese fashion student and visitor to the UK, Yuki Chan, has left her sister's home in London to travel to Haworth to visit the Bronte parsonage.  There is quite a lot of humour in the story of Yuki's adventures in Yorkshire.  She whiles away the coach journey with elderly Japanese, all at least 40 years older than her, with fantasies such as the idea of putting airports underground or the designing of a string of lifts connecting all the rotating restaurants in the world!  Her interest in the Brontes is tepid since her reason for visiting the Parsonage is a personal one - she has some photos of it taken by her mother years earlier and Yuki is retracing her mother's footsteps. Her impression of Haworth is of an overall brown-ness - since it then snows she presumably changes her view!

Yuki is an intrepid and sometimes ruthless heroine in a very cold Yorkshire, who manages, despite her limited English, to find a hotel and even finds a helpful local teenager to aid her quest.  There are many whimsical moments and even almost slapstick happenings.  The reader gradually appreciates what motivates Yuki and why she aspires to be a psychic detective.  She has several other disparate interests such as the science of snowflakes and the study of spirit photographs.  She is an appealing character although her responses often seem weird.  Detection is really rather limited - I think I would see this as a novel not a detective story but the charm of the tale certainly held my interest.
Reviewer: Jennifer Palmer
Mick Jackson has written several other novels

Mick Jackson was born in Great Harwood, Lancashire. He studied drama at Dartington College of Arts, Devon and was a singer in a band through his 20s. Between 1991-92 he attended the Creative Writing MA course at the University of East Anglia where his tutors were Malcolm Bradbury, Rose Tremain and Michele Roberts. His first novel, The Underground Man, was written in Cambridge and London, whilst Jackson worked part-time as a special needs assistant and is a fictional version of the life of the fifth Duke of Portland, an English eccentric, renowned for creating a network of tunnels under his estate at Welbeck Abbey. It was originally published by Picador in 1997 and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, the Whitbread First Novel Award and won the Royal Society of Authors’ First Novel Award

Jennifer Palmer Throughout my reading life crime fiction has been a constant interest; I really enjoyed my 15 years as an expatriate in the Far East, the Netherlands & the USA but occasionally the solace of closing my door to the outside world and sitting reading was highly therapeutic. I now lecture to adults on historical topics including Famous Historical Mysteries.

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