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Book Nook: The Gentleman from Japan, by James Church


James Church is a man of mysteries. The man known as James Church (it is a pseudonym) is the author of a series of mystery novels that feature the North Korean security officer Inspector O. The author of these books is clearly familiar with North Korea, spycraft, and the perils of espionage. The actual identity of the man who writes under the pen name of James Church remains clouded in a fog that is as thick as the one which obscures the workings of the regime that runs North Korea. Fortunately we have this series of books available to us. They offer tantalizing glimpses of what life is like in that secretive society.

As "The Gentleman from Japan" opens Inspector O is still living in self imposed exile with his nephew in a Chinese city close to the border with North Korea. O spends his time puttering around in his workshop where he draws up plans for bookcases which he then lovingly crafts from wood he has collected. O's nephew is a high ranking Chinese security official. The two men have a somewhat testy relationship.

Soon there will be crimes to solve and mysteries to unravel. O's nephew is investigating some puzzling murders. Inspector O goes undercover and spends a lot of the book overseas trying to track down the source of a "dumpling machine" which is actually a device that could be put to use in the North Korean nuclear program. In this interview Church suggests that he had preferred another title; "Death By Dumpling," for this novel. After you listen to this conversation you'll better understand his preference for that title.

The Book Nook on WYSO is made possible by six local library systems in southwest Ohio:  the Greene County Public LibraryWashington-Centerville Public Library, MidPointe Library SystemClark County Public Library, Dayton Metro Library, and Wright Memorial Public Library.


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Vick Mickunas introduced the Book Nook author interview program for WYSO in 1994. Over the years he has produced more than 1500 interviews with writers, musicians, poets, politicians, and celebrities. Listen to the Book Nook with Vick Mickunas for intimate conversations about books with the writers who create them. Vick Mickunas reviews books for the Dayton Daily News and the Springfield News Sun.