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Black Lotus (2001)
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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)
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.
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