Rei Shimura, the daughter of an American mother and a Japanese father, is intent on leaving behind her difficult past in Japan as she embarks on a career as an antiques expert in Washington, D.C., where her cousin Kendall Howard Johnson is a fundraiser. When Kendall is kidnapped outside the restaurant Rei is decorating, Rei believes she has met a terrible fate.

Meanwhile, Rei and live-in boyfriend Hugh's relationship becomes strained when Rei attempts to locate friend Andrea's Japanese birth mother, who disappeared decades ago. The suspense concerning Kendall's abduction is cleverly woven into Rei's brush with danger, as she uncovers the truth about the disappearance of Andrea's mother.

This novel is top-notch, thanks to the author's superlative writing skills, which enable her to combine the suspense of present and past mysteries and the inner workings of Washington politics with an engaging view of Japanese culture and customs. (Aug., 352 pp., $23.95)
Reviewed by: 
Sheri Melnick