Black Lotus

Laura Joh Rowland, Author Minotaur Books $24.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-312-26872-5
The complexities of Buddhist temple society challenge detective Sano Ichiro and his wife and helpmate, Reiko, in the latest installment in Rowland's (The Samurai's Wife) outstanding series set in Shogun-era Japan. In this round Sano has to look into a case of murder and arson in the Black Lotus temple, the home of a mysterious sect and its charismatic leader. Suspicion has fallen on a teenage girl, but while Sano and Reiko find it difficult to penetrate the cult's respectable front, Sano sees nothing untoward in the sect, and he distrusts the 15-year-old's account of the tragedy. Reiko, however, sees a frightened and battered victim, and is willing to disobey and publicly contradict Sano in order to prove the girl's innocence and bring the sect's abuses to light. As Sano and Reiko take different paths in investigating the crime, their intractable passion for the truth threatens the fabric of their marriage. Indeed, the sect seems to inspire intense partisanship everywhere: it has generated much ill will among relatives of its members as well as the townsfolk, yet it has managed to garner the support of some of the highest officials of the Shogun's court. The question of religious cults and the abuse of their influence gives this story contemporary resonance. Well-developed characters, a complex, absorbing plot and rich historical detail should help win the author, the daughter of Chinese and Korean immigrants, many new readers as well as a place on mystery bestseller lists. An attractive Japanese-print dust jacket is a plus. (Apr. 19)
Reviewed on: 04/01/2001
Release date: 04/01/2001
Paperback - 432 pages - 978-1-84901-285-0
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-4299-0845-0
Ebook - 214 pages - 978-1-84901-727-5
Mass Market Paperbound - 368 pages - 978-0-312-97958-4
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-1-250-02563-0
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