Sano Ichiro, the formidable hero of Laura Joh Rowland's series of ancient Japan, does it again. This time he not only has to investigate the death of a high official, he has to do it under the guard of the two factions who are in the midst of a civil war. The Perfumed Sleeve not only gives glimpses of the history of Japan, it also keeps the reader guessing as to who was responsible for the murder and has a surprise ending as to how it was done. Good reading as all of Ms. Rowland's books are.
I read Laura Joh Rowland's "Sano Ichiro" series first and foremost for the cultural and historical tidbits she includes in each mystery. Living in Japan, this series makes learning about my host nation fun and entertaining as opposed to dry history books. I enjoy Sano's humility, his sense of honor and fairness, and his devotion to his family. The mysteries always have a few unexpected twists and always include foreshadowing the next book.
Laura Joh Rowland series of mysteries, set in 17th Century Togugawa Japan, continue to improve. Her plot in "The Perfumed Sleeve" is just as complex and baffling as usual, but her characters have grown in maturity and wisdom--they are adding more to the plot and distracting less from it. This novel is tightly paced and as intriguing as any in the series, but the most enjoyable for me so far because the characters now flow as smoothly as the action. While all her Sano Ichiro mysteries are a pleasure to read, this and her first novel in the series ("Shinju") are my favorites.
Set in Japan in 1694, husband and wife sleuths Sano and Reiko are trying to solve multiple murders. This is part of a series, well plotted, well told, but each book can stand on its own
I love this series! I am not too critical of this book because it was so engaging for me. I enjoyed the plot, the characters, the setting, the mystery. As I have read all the previous books, I feel I know the main characters well. My favorite is Reiko. And this story has her relationship with Sano highlighted. This series would be dull without her genius. In this story I also enjoyed Hirata's development. His determination to master the martial arts a interesting piece. This story had some kinky sex in it, as lurid as any modern day stuff. So I skimmed some of that as we are so bombarded by this apparent universal trait of human existence in all cultures and all historical times. I am about to start another book in the series, The Fire Kimono. While I can't wait to read it, I am worried about how I will get my next Rowland fix once I finish the series.