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.
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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 PittCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved