by Laura Joh Rowland

Reviewed by Ruby

Set in the late 1600's in Japan, this book is the first in the Sano Ichiro mystery series. Two people are found murdered and it is written off as two lovers who, because of social status, could not be together so took their own lives. Sano is the only one who believes differently. Only reaching his position because of his ailing father's limited connections, Sano is risking more than his life as he pursues the case. Yet the more he uncovers, the deeper he is drawn in. Little does he realize the power of his enemies and the damage they can cause him if he continues as Sano uncovers a conspiracy that could destroy all of Japan.

This book is one of those books that you can only read once. After you know the criminal there's really no point in reading it again. The reason you read mysteries is to solve them and once their solved....well that's that.

I enjoyed the culture of the book. I've learnt things about ancient Japan that I never knew before. So if you are interested in ancient Japan, this is a good book to read, then pass it on so someone else can have a go at trying to solve the murder.

As a side note: I did figure out who the murderer was but I couldn't figure out the reason why two people were murdered. Oh well, I was half there. 

Grade: B