When a fire is set within the walled compound of the Black Lotus Temple in Edothe capital of 17th-century Japanthe bodies of a man, woman, and child are found in the ruins. Samurai Sano Ichiro, the Shogun's Most Honorable Investigator, is assigned to investigate the case.

Sano finds that a young girl named Haru was seen fleeing the fire, and suspects that Haru, directly or indirectly, caused the deaths. However, in this he faces powerful oppositionReiko, Sano's beloved wife and the mother of his young son, believes Haru to be innocent. Reiko, who often helps her husband investigate, discovers some very unsavory things about the Black Lotus Temple and its members. Reiko and Sano make an excellent team, but this time Reiko's enthusiasm may destroy her husband's careful investigation and allow a killer to go unpunished.

BLACK LOTUS is a riveting tale of intrigue in old Japanthe setting is fascinating and the story absorbing. Sano and Reiko are as compelling a team as Anne Perry's Thomas and Charlotte Pitt. Laura Joh Rowland is a masterful storyteller, and this series is not to be missed! (Apr.,330 pp., 6.99) Hardcover published April 2001.

Reviewed by: 
Toby Bromberg