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The Concubine's Tattoo

1 rating: 3.0
A book by Laura Joh Rowland

Rowland once again delivers a mystery laden with details of period and place, with strong portrayals of palace intrigue in 17th-century Japan. Sano Ichiro has risen to the rank of Most Honorable Investigator for the shogun in 1690 Japan. As his fourth … see full wiki

Tags: Books, Cafe Libri
Author: Laura Joh Rowland
Genre: Mystery & Thrillers
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
1 review about The Concubine's Tattoo

Historical mystery can cause samurai night fever

  • Feb 3, 1999
The Tokugawa shogunate in the 17th century has been a setting for a number of memorable works: the samurai films of Akira Kurosawa, Eiji Yoshikawa's epic novel "Mushashi," and James Clavell's "Shogun."

It's also the setting for this series of four novels by Laura Joh Rowland featuring Sano Ichiro, the most honorable investigator to the shogun.

When the shogun's favorite concubine is found poisoned, the discovery interrupts Sano's wedding feast as well as unleash a host of concerns. Was the killing an attempt to keep the shogun from begetting an heir? Will someone use the crime as a pretext for getting a rival out of the way?

Sano has good reason to be doubly concerned about the case: failure to find the culprit could mean a visit to the execution ground for himself, his assistant and his family.

Sano is also distracted by his bride, who is as spirited and unconventional as a 17th-century Katharine Hepburn. Their journey toward accommodation and compromise form a major part of the book.

One word of warning: many forms of copulation show up in "The Concubine's Tattoo," and its explicitness may prove unsettling to regular readers of the genre.

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