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Black Lotus by Laura Joh Rowland
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Black Lotus (2001)

by Laura Joh Rowland

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406339,828 (3.6)4

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Another in the series of our Japanese detective from the Samurai period. I'm enjoying the series, though they move rather slowly. I can't imagine the pace any faster, as that wouldn't be true to the period, where everything involves ceremony, patience, protocol and more patience. I empathize with Ichiro's wife who simply chomps at the bit to be able to help in the detections, but can't. Women just don't do that. Oy. And when she does it anyway, she suffers the societal consequences, which is certainly accurate, but still irks me. ( )
  maedb | Nov 2, 2011 |
Sano must solve a murder involving a member of the Black Lotus sect but all is not what it seems at the Black Lotus compound.

Fans of historical mysteries might find this installment of the Sano Ichiro series "blah" if they want their historical mysteries to totally take them to another time and place because it definitely was a story in which the author could have placed at any time and place (even modern-day) with little changed.

That being said, I am of the opinion that those who do not pay heed to history will repeat it. There is much in the book about religion and cults with how they tend to operate that rings true with some religious groups today.

This book is not the average Laura Joh Rowland in that Sano is not forced to deal with his arch-enemy Chamberlain Yanigisawa and as a result the danger is somewhat unpredictable in that the dangers might come from an unforeseen direction.
  lmedgerton | Aug 9, 2008 |
Mystery novel set in 1693 Japan, bringing back the same samurai detective as in her other books. Fascinating setting for a mystery.
  sungene | Oct 29, 2007 |
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The day of tragedy dawned with an iridescent sheen in the eastern sky.
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"There was lamp oil spilled along the path to the cottage and on the ground around it."
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blurb: When veteran samurai detective, Sano Ichiro, the Most Honorable Investigator of Events, Situations, and People, is called on to investigate the burning of a cottage belonging to the Black Lotus Temple, he makes a shocking discovery. The three victims of the blaze did not die in the fire, but were brutally murdered before the fire even began. With a triple homicide on his hands,. Sano’s search for a killer leads him to Haru, an orphan girl found at the scene of the crime. But Sano’s wife, Reiko, investigating the case against Sano’s wishes, is convinced of Haru’s innocence. Reiko’s investigation leads her behind the walls of the Black Lotus Temple, where she discovers a sect involved in extortion, prostitution, and hedonistic rituals. Could one of the sect’s members be the killer? Now Reiko must risk her marriage to Sano in order to prove Haru’s innocence…..
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312979584, Mass Market Paperback)

Samurai detective Sano Ichiro, the hero of Laura Joh Rowland's beautifully written mysteries set in Shogun-era Japan, (The Samurai's Wife, The Concubine's Tattoo), investigates an arson murder at the Black Lotus temple, in which the only witness--a young girl who swears she doesn't remember what happened--is also the only suspect. But Sano's wife, Reiko, believes that Haru is innocent and that the real culprits are hiding behind the barred gates of the temple, home to a mysterious sect that is rumored to be responsible for a number of criminal acts. Under pressure to solve the crime, Sano agrees to let Reiko help, but when she takes matters into her own hands, it puts his career in jeopardy and nearly destroys their marriage. Who is the mysterious Abbess of the Black Lotus, and what is the sect's real goal? Is Haru the innocent youngster Reiko believes her to be, or does the evidence Sano uncovers reveal her deceitful nature and complicity in the murders of a child, a young woman, and a high-ranking police commander? As usual, Rowland turns in a brilliant re-creation of a time and place unfamiliar to most readers: the imperial court of 17th-century Japan, whose intrigues and excesses provide a fascinating backdrop for the most charming husband and wife detective team since Nick and Nora Charles. If you haven't discovered Rowland yet, Black Lotus is your opportunity; this is a series with real staying power. --Jane Adams

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:18 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

When an unknown arsonist sets fire to a cottage on the grounds of the Black Lotus Temple, killing three sect members, seventeenth-century samurai detective Sano Ichiro blames a deliquent orphan girl found fleeing the scene, until his wife, Reiko, becomes suspicious about the mysterious disappearances of newcomers to the cult.… (more)

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