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on 2 January 2001
Ichiro Sano has just been appointed to a priced position in the Shogun's police force. Pushed by the social ambitions of his ruined family, bound by his honor to the powerful man who recommended him and shunned by his companions (who had all inherited their positions), he is under the unbearable pressure to do well and to obey without question.
The problem is that Sano has a questioning mind, and his first case, a Shinju (double ritual suicide of two lovers) is not as clear as it appears. Sano has to chose between his duty and his instincts as invertigator, and in 17th century honor-bound-japan, he might lose everything, even if he proves right!
Very believable plot and the author really makes you feel like you are in 17th century Japan. It would be better if the main caracter was a bit more self-confident. Sometimes I dispair of a happy ending with all his whining!
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on 14 November 2013
I went about looking for something different to read, when I saw this I gave it a go and was pleasantly surprised.

Being very interested in Japanese culture and history this book is very enjoyable, not having read too many mysteries myself make it even better.
Focused around a young detective Sano Ichiro he begins investigating an apparent double suicide which turns out to be more then it appears, set in the back drop of the 1600's it gives a very detailed view of life in those times. As I have mentioned if your not really into crime mysteries then this may or may not be for you but it is certainly a good read and doesn't expect you to be knowledgeable about the period or history as the majority is explained very well for everyone.

When I finished this I brought the next five, and am glad there is still more to go as I have enjoyed them all so far.
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on 29 April 2013
An excellent book, with a plot and action which makes it hard to put down. Chief Investigator Sano is an interesting character, focussed on the search for truth despite all obstacles. And the city of Edo, its people and its landscape are brought to life by a skilled writer. This is the first of her books I've read, and the first of the series - I've already ordered the next. Highly recommended.
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on 15 February 2013
I did quite enjoy the book, I like reading historical novels and Shinju I thought gave an insight to life in 17 century Japan
the murder story its self was fairly ordinary but was enough to keep me interested,
the condition of the book was "used but good" and I have no complaints.
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on 21 December 2014
Really enjoyed reading this book - tough to remember the Japanese names at first but a great read. Also enjoyed Lian Hearn similar sort of stories.
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on 9 March 2016
I enjoyed this, a detective story takes place in a credible historical setting, interesting as well as a good yarn. Left me wanting to read more.
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on 28 August 2012
a must have rowland does it again have all the series you can really get lost in the character sano and how his career progresses a must read
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on 20 January 2010
I came to this book having just finished reading "Tokaido" by Lucia St Clair Robson, hence my disappointment. Ms Robson creates a suberb atmosphere of Japan during this period with excellent charactureisation, one really cares what happens to the main protagonists. The storyline is gripping building to a great final chapter. By comparison Shinju is lightweight the main characture Sano Ichiro a Yoriki (policeman) is lackluster. I didn't really care what his fate awaited him. I also found the dialogue in a modern idiom detracted both from my enjoyment and the atmosphere. I agree with the Denver Post review quoted in the book "you'll immediately recognise him (Sano) as an ancestor of Philip Marlow or Sam Spade and Kikrus Reviews "a Japanese echo of Presumed Innocent". I'd have bought the originals if I'd wanted these stories.
Having said that I'll give the author another chance with her next book "Bundori" before I move on.
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on 18 December 2015
Detective mystery in feudal japan.
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on 7 April 2015
excellent series
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