Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Perfumed Sleeve by Laura Joh Rowland

The Perfumed Sleeve
by Laura Joh Rowland

Find out more about this book and author:

Published: 2005
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Genre: Historical, Mystery, Japan
Hardback: 384
Rating: 5

Sano Ichiro series:
The Way of the Traitor
The Concubine's Tattoo
The Samurai's Wife
Black Lotus
The Pillow Book of Lady Wisteria
The Dragon King's Palace
The Perfumed Sleeve
The Assassin's Touch
Red Chrysanthemum
The Snow Empress
The Fire Kimono
The Cloud Pavilion
The Ronin's Mistress
The Incense Game
The Shogun's Daughter
The Iris Fan
book 19 - tba

First sentence(s):
News of trouble sent Sano Ichiro abroad in the city of Edo at midnight.

November 1694. The streets of Edo are erupting in violence as two factions struggle for control over the ruling Tokugawa regime. One is led by the shogun's cousin, Lord Matsudaira, and the other by the shogun's second-in-command, Chamberlain Yanagisawa. Each side pressures Sano Ichiro, the shogun's most honorable investigator, to join its ranks.

When one of the shogun's most trusted advisers is found dead, Sano is forced to honor a posthumous request for a murder investigation. Senior Elder Makino believed that his death would be the result of assassination rather than natural causes. Although he and Sano were bitter enemies, Makino knew that the incorruptible Sano would be duty-bound to oblige his final wish.

Under the watchful eyes and thinly veiled threats of both Lord Matsudaira and Chamberlain Yanagisawa, Sano moves with caution. Each is eager to implicate the other in Makino's death. Sano must discover whether the death was indeed murder, and if so, whether it was motivated by politics, love, or sex. The discovery of secret alliances, both romantic and military, further complicates matters. Sano's investigation has barely begun when violent death claims another of the shogun's favorites.

With his wife, Reiko, working undercover, Sano and his chief retainer, Hirata, must not only investigate multiple deaths, but stem the tide of an impending civil war, in Laura Joh Rowland's The Perfumed Sleeve.

My two-bits:

Although this is book 9 in the series it worked alright for me as a standalone mystery. Of course, I liked it well enough to want to explore the rest of the books in this series.

This story is set during the late 17th century in feudal Japan with plenty of wonderful descriptions of the time period, culture and local mores.

The mystery and investigation were handled in a methodical way despite obstacles. Sano's wife, Reiko, and her undercover work provided some nail biting moments.

Sexual practices and manly love are topics touched on.


* part of World Reads challenge - Japan (here)
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