cover image The Dragon Scroll

The Dragon Scroll

Ingrid J. Parker, . . Penguin, $12 (338pp) ISBN 978-0-14-303532-9

Shamus-winner Parker's impressive third Sugawara Akitada mystery (after 2003's The Hell Screen ) deftly pulls the reader into the world of 11th-century Japan. Someone sets up Akitada, a young junior clerk in the ministry of justice, to fail on his first assignment, which is to travel to the province of Kazusa and track down the thieves responsible for missing tax shipments from that remote region. While Akitada's suspicions center on Kazusa's governor, he has to rethink his plans when the governor's predecessor, who had requested a clandestine meeting with Akitada, is murdered. Before he can make much headway solving either crime, Akitada is recalled to the capital, where he faces additional challenges. Parker manages the impressive feat of presenting a classic whodunit in an exotic and unfamiliar setting. Agent, Jean Naggar. 3-city author tour. (June 28)