The Fires of the Gods: A Sugawara Akitada Mystery

I J Parker, Author
I.J. Parker, Severn, $28.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-7278-6989-0
Reviewed on: 02/07/2011
Release date: 04/01/2011
Paperback - 247 pages - 978-1-84751-321-2
Hardcover - 432 pages - 978-0-7278-9931-6
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Parker raises the stakes considerably for her fallible but honorable series sleuth in her excellent eighth mystery set in 11th-century Japan (after 2010's The Masuda Affair). Ministry of justice senior secretary Sugawara Akitada is already on edge with the impending birth of his second child, having lost his firstborn to illness, when he receives devastating professional news. As a result of interference by controller Kiyowara Kane, Akitada has been demoted to junior secretary, with his incompetent subordinate promoted to his old position. The outraged Akitada seeks an interview with Kane, only to be left waiting in the antechamber without getting an explanation for the slander campaign against him. To make matters worse, he soon comes under suspicion of murder, and he must disobey his superiors to solve the crime himself and clear his name. Parker masterfully blends action and detection while making the attitudes and customs of the period accessible. (Apr.)
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