Natsuo Kirino (桐野 夏生 Kirino Natsuo?, born October 7, 1951 in Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture) is the pen name of Mariko Hashioka, a Japanese novelist and a leading figure in the recent boom of female writers of Japanese detective fiction.
Kirino began her writing career in 1984 when she first started off composing novels in the romantic genre.
However, these types of novels were not popular in Japan, so she found it difficult to make a living while writing them.
She also did not have a passion for writing romance novels and wanted to concentrate on works focusing on the psychological aspect of crimes.
She then turned her focus towards writing mystery novels in the early 1990s.
To date, she has written several short story collections and many novels, and is now one of Japan's most popular writers.
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Real World (2003)