St. Martin's, Apr 2002, 23.95, 304 pp.
In a classy Yoshiwara brothel, someone murders the shogun's heir, Lord Matsudaira Mitsuyoshi in the boudoir of Lady Wisteria, who has since vanished. Anyone with ambition or even remote connections in Edo decides to solve the homicide in order to gain favor with the shogun. Though still recuperating from his harrowing previous case, the shogun's Most Honorable Investigator of Events, Situations and People Samurai Sano Ichiro knows he must investigate because of the importance of the victim.
The antics of police Commissioner Hoshida, lover of the second-highest shogunate official and Sano's enemy, pressures Sano to quickly solve the murder. Still, Sano rejects the pat solution as too convenient and believes the evidence suggests a myriad of suspects with motives and opportunity to kill the shogun's dashing cousin. Reluctantly, especially after her involvement in his previous case, Sano turns to his wife Reiko for help in separating the facts from misinformation and disinformation.
THE PILLOW BOOK OF LADY WISTERIA is a fabulous seventeenth century Japanese who-done-it that will spellbind readers with its insightfully vivid descriptions of the Shogun era in historical Edo (Tokyo). The lead couple remains a wonderfully charming duo who escorts the audience on a sightseeing trip inside a unique police procedural as only this series does. Laura Joh Rowland provides another winning tale by tastefully and cleverly incorporating it into the powerful plot. The pleasure palaces of Yoshiwara though might require a bit of a warning label.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner