THE INCENSE GAME
Rowland’s 16th Sano Ichiro mystery is excellent. She seamlessly incorporates history and culture without slowing the plot. Even without reading earlier books, you’ll be able to invest emotionally in the characters’ lives. With mystery, excitement and a bang-up ending, this is one you won’t be able to put down!
After the 1703 earthquake devastates Edo, Japan, Sano, second-in-command to the area’s shogun, is sent to restore the area and keep control of a dangerous situation. The shogun is no leader and has to be kept in the dark about the extent of the damage, as do rival lords who are eyeing the area. At this point, the murder of an incense master and two of her students seems unimportant, except the girls’ father is a noble who pressures Sano to find the murderer immediately. The possible suspects include two important figures with ties to the shogun. Reiko, his brave and intelligent wife, risks her life to help solve the mystery. (MINOTAUR, Sep., 304 pp., $25.99