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The Dragon Scroll: A Mystery of Ancient Japan Featuring Sugawara Akitada Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 338 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; First Edition edition (June 28, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143035320
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143035329
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #624,129 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Shamus-winner Parker's impressive third Sugawara Akitada mystery (after 2003's The Hell Screen) deftly pulls the reader into the world of 11th-century Japan. Someone sets up Akitada, a young junior clerk in the ministry of justice, to fail on his first assignment, which is to travel to the province of Kazusa and track down the thieves responsible for missing tax shipments from that remote region. While Akitada's suspicions center on Kazusa's governor, he has to rethink his plans when the governor's predecessor, who had requested a clandestine meeting with Akitada, is murdered. Before he can make much headway solving either crime, Akitada is recalled to the capital, where he faces additional challenges. Parker manages the impressive feat of presenting a classic whodunit in an exotic and unfamiliar setting.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Is there room in the mystery genre for two series set in feudal-era Japan? Laura Joh Rowland's Sano Ichiro series is well established, but it's been showing signs of lethargy. Now comes the first Sugawara Akitada novel, a rousing, whip-fast story of political intrigue and adventure in eleventh-century Japan. Akitada is on his first assignment for the Ministry of Justice, investigating the disappearances of imperial tax convoys. He finds himself set upon by bandits, rogues, and--worst of all--shifty politicians. Told with a sure hand and a sharp sense of humor, the novel is certain to capture the interest of readers of historical mysteries, especially those who like a touch of Shogun along with all the action. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

I.J. Parker was born and educated in Europe and turned to mystery writing after an academic career in the U.S. She has published in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, winning the short story Shamus award in 2000. The Akitada series, about an eleventh century Japanese nobleman/detective, now consists of eleven titles plus a short story collection. The books are available in print, audio format, and on Kindle and are translated into twelve languages.
The two-volume historical novel THE HOLLOW REED is available on Kindle, and so is THE SWORD MASTER. These are set in twelfth century Japan during the Heike wars. An eighteenth century thriller, THE LEFT-HANDED GOD, is set in Europe and will be released in June 2013, also on Kindle.

Customer Reviews

It's a fast-paced read and has a good mystery plot.
psychebelow
The books are historically sound, there is psychology in the characters, there is plenty of mystery, great plots, some love.
Heli
It is an interesting look into the ways of ancient Japan with the plus of being an excellent mystery to boot.
Sylvia J. Rzeminski

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
With her third mystery in three years, I. J. Parker continues her series featuring Akitada Sugawara, a twenty-five-year-old member of the nobility whose family is no longer influential in the emperor's court in 11th century Japan. When three yearly tax shipments from Kazusa province disappear without a trace, Akitada, a minor official in the Ministry of Justice, is assigned to investigate, a task he accepts enthusiastically, believing it to be a great honor. Traveling through the cold countryside by horseback in the "Gods-Absent Month" of November, Akitada is accompanied by an elderly family retainer, Seimei.

From the outset, Parker creates a fast-paced and exciting narrative which keeps the reader interested both in the action and in the revelations of eleventh century culture and tradition. In the first fifty pages, the reader experiences the murder of a beautiful noblewoman, the gruesome death of a prostitute, the attempted robbery of Akitada and subsequent fight to the death with robbers, the attempted assault of a young deaf-mute woman by several Buddhist monks, and a violent attack on a member of Akitada's party by a female martial artist of enormous skill.

Though this novel is the most recent Parker novel to be published, the story line occurs chronologically earlier than both The Rashomon Gate and The Hell Screen, two previous mysteries in the same series. Akitada is a young bachelor here, meeting Tora, a powerful aide who appears in both the previous books, for the first time. As Akitada tries to discover the fate of the tax convoys, he investigates the death of the retired governor of the province, observes the behavior of "monks" who seem unfamiliar with traditional ceremonies, investigates unsavory neighborhoods and elegant residences, and falls in love.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By R. B. Bernstein on August 25, 2006
Format: Paperback
Historical mysteries are like comedy -- either they work or they don't, and there is no middle ground. This mystery, the first of what I hope will be a long series, works wonderfully well. It is thoroughly grounded in the world of early medieval Japan, and it carries its immense learning and scholarship so lightly that only if you've read Japanese history for this period will you realize just how sound its view of Sugawara Akitada and his world is. The writing is always clear, amusing when it wants to be, and deeply moving at the right times. The plotting is sure and sensible, and the mystery unfolds at just the right pace. I read this one and immediately sought out the next. Highest recommendation.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By kenshi on September 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
Cutting to the chase, this is simply a good quick read, nothing more. It is the perfect book to read at the beach or on a plane. The writing is not very deep, vivid or profound. Despite how this book is promoted, do not expect to learn a lot about ancient Japan nor culture. Do not expect this to be a book about samurais since the period portrayed is before the age of the samurai. Do not even expect a classic intense mystery thriller since it becomes obvious early on who did the crime. Instead expect a book that goes out of its way to explain the class differences between nobility and peasants.

Despite all of this, I found it enjoyable only because the setting was interesting. My only major complaint about this book was the sex. I found the description awkward, lacking passion and out of context to the point where had it been omitted I would have assumed that the target audience for this book was young adults.

Still, its good quick read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Pocofan on August 9, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
these books are a very poor imitation of the Judge Dee Mysteries by Robert von Gulik. Find the Judge Dee books rather than these wannabe books.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By R. Reiners on April 1, 2006
Format: Paperback
I have read few mystery books/novels over the years but I do enjoy material concerning Japan and China (I was stationed in Japan for two years), and when I saw this at the store I decided to give it a shot. I'm glad I did. I enjoyed it throughout. It was difficult for me to put down once I picked it up. Besides the ancient Japanese setting, I also enjoyed the humor that the author found time to put in. I look forward to reading the other novels in this series.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Sylvia J. Rzeminski on September 13, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the third book by I. J. Parker though timewise, the action takes place before the other two. It is an interesting look into the ways of ancient Japan with the plus of being an excellent mystery to boot. I find the characters believable - I wouldn't have read all three books if I hadn't. The premise of the book is that the main character is sent to a province to investigate the disappearance of taxes being sent to the capital. To say more would give away the whole plot.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 6, 2012
Format: Paperback
I have read all the books upto The Convict's Sword in this series and my review is for all the books till then. Having followed quite a few historical crime series, I can say that this series is right there at the top with the likes of C. J. Sansom, Steven Saylor or better than say Laura Joh Rowland. Wonderful characterisation, great historical accuracy and absolutely atmospheric mysteries without sacrificing the pace. It is quite depressing that Parker is unable to find publishers for these wonderful books and is now dependent on e publishing. I personally like to hold a paperback and read instead of looking into a screen. The printed version of the last book in this series " The fires of the Gods" is already quite difficult to get hold of in India. What is wrong with all the publishers?? The third good series that I know of, which will run out because of publishers' problems. Please buy these books...They are absolute top class. To think that her books regularly garner starred reviews from leading review houses, have a devoted following (from what I see in the Amazon), have been included in the best books' lists and yet she finds it difficult to get a publisher while mediocre books like Fifty shades of grey are available dime a dozen!!
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