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Shimura Trouble (Rei Shimura Mysteries (Paperback)) Paperback – November 1, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
In Agatha-winner Massey's engaging 10th mystery to feature antiques dealer and part-time spy Rei Shimura (after 2006's Girl in a Box), Rei and her father, who's recovering from a stroke, travel from California to Hawaii for a family celebration with previously unknown Shimura relatives, who turn out to be involved in a legal battle to recover land stolen from them during WWII. After Michael Hendricks, Rei's CIA colleague and current love interest, arrives in Honolulu, he helps Rei access classified information that may help to resolve the land issue, but something more sinister thickens the plot. Wildfires have been plaguing the leeward side of Oahu, where Rei and her relatives have rented a house. When Rei's newfound nephew, Braden, is arrested for arson, Rei joins Michael in a risky ploy to get evidence exonerating Braden. An appealing protagonist and memorable supporting characters blend smoothly with lessons in Hawaiian and Japanese history in a tale sure to win new readers for the series. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
San Francisco undercover agent Rei Shimura has plenty on her plate. Her father, Toshiro, is recovering from a stroke, her long-denied feelings for fellow agent Michael Hendricks keep her love life in turmoil, and she and her father have been invited to a birthday celebration in Hawaii for the patriarch of a branch of the Shimura family that they didn’t know existed. They decide to go to Hawaii to meet “the other Shimuras.” Once there, it’s clear that the long-lost relations have a different agenda: reclaim land they maintain was given to the family decades earlier by a plantation owner. The story gets steadily more complicated, as a mysterious fire, a dead body, a troubled teen, and the Hawaiian mafia all play roles in what turns out to be a story of hidden secrets and deadly consequences. A bit of a departure for this series, both in setting and tone (a little less frenetic than usual), the novel makes the most of its Hawaiian setting, adding a heftier dose of romance to go with the suspense and humor. --Emily Melton --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
It has been a very long time since we enjoyed that Rei. After events at the end of "The Bride's Kimono" led to Rei's deportation from Japan, there was a sea change in the direction Massey took this series and regretfully it was not for the better. The book immediately following, "The Samurai's Daughter" was completely set in Rei's hometown of San Francisco, but that change of scenery worked as a brief respite for our overworked heroine (even though she did manage to almost get herself killed once again.) We hoped that after a break in America for Christmas, Rei would find her way back to Tokyo, or at least to her beloved antiques business. Alas, subsequent books (The Pearl Diver, The Typhoon Lover) showed us Rei still far adrift from her spiritual home. With "The Pearl Diver", action shifted to Washington, D.C., the setting for "The Bride's Kimono". There, Rei at least was given the relevant task of decorating a Japanese restaurant, a gig that got her back into what she does so well. Unfortunately that book also signaled Rei's final break with Hugh, and along with his baby that she miscarried, Rei seemed to lose her heart and soul as well. As bleak as that denouement would have been, Massey would have done better by Rei to end it there. The next two installments returned Rei to Japan for the bulk of the action, but that was small comfort when the action was so very ridiculous. Whatever was Massey thinking by making Rei an espionage agent? Rei has made a career out of talking her way into jobs and situations for which she is maginally qualified, but this was really stretching it to incredulity. Hugh fans like me are non-plussed with the extraneous introduction of a new love interest for Rei in the person of her (much older) boss at the spy agency. Michael Hendricks reads like a Harlequin fantasy boyfriend, handsome, dashing . . .and completely two-dimensional. In contrast to Hugh's colorfully flawed humanity, he's like a hologram.
Which brings us to "Shimura Trouble". Immediately I noticed that not only is it at least 100 pages shorter than all of Massey's other efforts, it has a different imprint as well. Perhaps Massey's long-time publishing house, HarperCollins, was as non-plussed with the direction (or lack thereof) in the last two books as I and refused this manuscript. Based on the author's plea on her website for libraries and collectors to purchase this last installment, that makes me think it's not selling well, which is, if true, absolutely justified. The appealing Hawaiian setting is not enough to overcome the weakest character development and least-involving storyline of Massey's career. Perhaps the obvious lack of effort in coming up with a title that,like all the others before it, references some aspect of Rei's Japanese heritage is clue enough that Massey is finished with Rei. Though Rei finally gets her happy ending, it's so rushed and perfunctory that we don't care. (Would the Rei we knew fail to invite her mother to her long-awaited wedding?) Obviously Massey was rushing this manuscript to deadline, because her characteristic care with plot detail is missing, big-time. You may want to purchase this if only to round out your collection of Rei Shimura. It by no means represents Rei, or Massey, in her best light. Though I own all ten books, Rei will live on in my mind as she was in the three strongest offerings of this series: "Zen Attitude"; "The Flower Master" and "The Bride's Kimono". These present Rei in all her tough-minded, independent, stubborn, prickly, energetic glory. The last four books in this series have not served her well, and this one, the last, least of all. If I were meeting Rei for the first time in this book, I'd find precious little to engage me. Certain plot elements are lifted from earlier books, recycling how Rei almost meets her demise in this book, for one. And having Rei don a wetsuit and a wire to make an amphibious stealth landing a la a Navy Seal is the most ridiculous James Bondian thing she's put her seasickness-prone heroine through yet. Did she really think we wouldn't notice that Rei's no James Bond?
"Sayonara" literally translated means: "Until we meet again." I would love to meet Rei again, but only if she can come out of retirement as her old fiesty self. That is unlikely. I feel that Rei and her long-time readers deserved a better farewell than this.
Set briefly in her home city of San Francisco, the bulk majority of the novel takes place in Oahu. The rich descriptions are telltale of Massey's heavy research for the novel and of course, the diverse cast of strong supporting characters, both of which are definitive of a Rei Shimura mystery. The core element of this novel is family and filial duty, as Rei (rather unwilling at first) attempts to unravel an old property dispute between her Japanese Hawaiian cousins and a landowner and later, help her younger cousin out of a potential arson and murder charge.
The plot jogs on at a relatively brisk pace, which leaves you eager to flip through each page with bated breath until the satisfying ending. Although it seems that many fans miss Rei in Japan, I loved seeing her in a new environment, and loved it even more that Miss Shimura got the lovely ending that she deserved. As Michael, Rei's beau, noted in the novel--and I paraphrase--Hawaii is a great midpoint between the states and Japan, perfect for Rei. Again, this novel is a wonderful set-up for us readers and fans to say goodbye to Rei and the fantastic cast of characters that we have been introduced to in the past nine novels.
However, don't be too quick to set aside Rei Shimura--Massey herself has announced that she's working on an eleventh mystery! Our antiques dealer/amateur sleuth/spy will soon be back!
Good mystery series are not always easy to find. This one is good. Rei’s life is never boring. She experiences life to the fullest. She eats fabulous vegetarian food along with seafood. She changes her residence faster than the military, so the reader gets a sample of life in a lot of different locales. She also has had several overlapping careers, adding to the knowledge base of the books. I have been waiting impatiently for the next book in the series. I am so glad it will be published in November, 2014.