Crime & Thrillers
Paperback Published on: 29/02/2024
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Bookseller Reviews

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Dark and delicious
This rather gorgeous proof (many thanks @harperinsider )has been waiting for me for a while, slightly intimidating me with its hefty blockiness, but once I... READ MORE
Beth at Chesterfield
A compelling crime thriller that critiques the institutional misogyny that permeates work/ home life.
An absolute SERVE!
What's a better combination than food and female serial killer? Food & female serial killer being told in the most beautiful and lyrical prose that I've ev... READ MORE
Josie - Broadgate
Aasako Yuzuki's novel is based on the real-life events surrounding the 'Konkatsu Killer', the case of Kanae Kijima who was found guilty and sentenced to de... READ MORE
Alan M
To Be Savoured
This book caught my eye even before publication, and I was eager to grab a copy. (In my haste nearly grabbing it out of my colleagues hands in fact... So... READ MORE


The cult Japanese bestseller about a female gourmet cook and serial killer and the journalist intent on cracking her case, inspired by a true story.

There are two things that I can simply not tolerate: feminists and margarine

Gourmet cook Manako Kajii sits in Tokyo Detention Centre convicted of the serial murders of lonely businessmen, who she is said to have seduced with her delicious home cooking. The case has captured the nation's imagination but Kajii refuses to speak with the press, entertaining no visitors. That is, until journalist Rika Machida writes a letter asking for her recipe for beef stew and Kajii can't resist writing back.

Rika, the only woman in her news office, works late each night, rarely cooking more than ramen. As the visits unfold between her and the steely Kajii, they are closer to a masterclass in food than journalistic research. Rika hopes this gastronomic exchange will help her soften Kajii but it seems that she might be the one changing. With each meal she eats, something is awakening in her body, might she and Kaji have more in common than she once thought?

Inspired by the real case of the convicted con woman and serial killer, "The Konkatsu Killer", Asako Yuzuki's Butter is a vivid, unsettling exploration of misogyny, obsession, romance and the transgressive pleasures of food in Japan.

  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • ISBN: 9780008511685
  • Number of pages: 464
  • Weight: 440g
  • Dimensions: 216 x 135 x 40 mm

Customer Reviews

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An interesting and entertaining read.
Butter is the first novel, of several award-winners by Japanese author, Asako Yuzuki to be translated into English by Polly Barton. After many frustratingl... READ MORE
Marianne Vincent
You butter believe it
I deeply enjoyed this for its exploration of food, friendship, and the unreal standards women in Japan have to navigate at every stage of their lives. Rika... READ MORE
Kate ♡
Highly recommended
Dark, original, fascinating. A book that I thoroughly enjoyed and kept me reading. A twisty and surprising plot, well rounded characters, plensy of surpris... READ MORE
A story of food and death
Manako Kajii is a convicted serial killer. She’d seduced three men by cooking them gourmet food and then killed them off, one by one. Or did she? There is ... READ MORE
Andrew Smith
Don't listen to the hype because if you, you'll be disappointed...
Thank you Fourth Estate and NetGalley for the early review copy ahead of its publication on February 29th in return for a fair and honest review. Butter... READ MORE
Katherine Carr
Really different but captivating story
Thoroughly enjoyed this book. The storyline, the setting, all so different. At first, it seemed like a strange title for a book that isn’t a cookbook - ... READ MORE
Gillian Frost
I really enjoy reading Japanese fiction (translated of course) and I was intrigued when I read the blurb for Butter. Particularly that is it was inspired b... READ MORE
Siobhain (What You Tolkien About)
Will leave you hungry
When journalist Rika pursues accused serial killer Manako Kajii for an exclusive interview, her life changes. Rika’s determination to not only catapult her... READ MORE
Decidedly different
LOST IN TRANSLATION? Gourmet cook Manako Kajii is in a Tokyo detention centre, accused and convicted of murdering three lovers and extorting money from... READ MORE
Celia Short
I think my cholesterol will need checking after this!
My sole experience of Japanese literary fiction is Yoko Ogawa’s “The Memory Police” (2019), admittedly a good one as I rated it five stars. I thought that... READ MORE
Phil Ramage
too long
This is a story based on a real-life serial killer in Japan. I have to say that the translation is really good and very immersive! However, the story in it... READ MORE
Deliciously Twisted
Based on true story of the ‘Konkatsu Killer’, Butter is not the high octane thrill ride one might expect - it’s far more physiological. We follow Rika,... READ MORE
Sarah C
A must-read for fans of Japan and cooking
"Butter" by Asako Yuzuki is a fascinating read. Translated into English from Japanese, I think the translator did a good job. If you like food and crime ... READ MORE
Mel Pretorius
Plenty of butter
Plenty of butter and descriptions of food and how food makes you feel - a journalist investigates the case of a female serial killer, accused of taking adv... READ MORE
Chiara Cc
some interesting themes
I was looking forward to reading this book, I've enjoyed visiting Japan in the past, experiencing a difficult culture, and really loved the food! There wer... READ MORE
Manako Kajii is being held in Tokyo Detention Centre convicted of the murders of multiple lonely men, who she allegedly seduced with her delicious home coo... READ MORE
Ella - The Story Collector
A delightful insight into Japanese culture, murder and food
I can promise you one, possibly two, things about this novel – it will make you hungry and may very well inspire you to prepare and eat food in a way never... READ MORE
Butter had a vociferous appetite and provided the goods to satisfy any reader craving a complex culinary delight of a book. This is such a stunning boo... READ MORE
Emily (ashortbooklover)
I was sent a copy of Butter by Asako Yuzuki to red and review by NetGalley. At first I thought I would despair of yet another book that seemed to be on th... READ MORE
Loved this book. Took so many turns that I didn't expect. Loved the way it explored and exposed modern day misogyny. But most of all, I loved the journey t... READ MORE
Lou Stephenson
Facinating read
I found this book an absolutely fascinating look at Japanese culture in relation to women and food. Through the exploration of the recipes and restaurants ... READ MORE
Claire Darke
Fantastic read, not what I expected
This is not my usual type of read. In fact, I would have never picked it up had it not been for a recommendation from one of the team in the Chesterfield s... READ MORE
Kelly Stafford