John's Reviews > The Samurai's Wife

The Samurai's Wife by Laura Joh Rowland
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's review
Dec 15, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: historical-fiction, mystery-detective-fiction, martial-arts, thriller, asia
Read in December, 2009

Man, I'm really enjoying this series. Rowland's magic lies in her ability to bring feudal Japan to convincing life in a vibrant, exciting way. She has really done her research, and it pays off in the way she uses each mystery novel in the series to introduce and explore new facets of Japanese culture. This entry even throws a slight mystical element into the mix. She also knows how to develop her characters well, and they evolve steadily with each book. Not quite as convincing are the mysteries themselves, which basically boil down to a lot of smoke and mirror games. Conveniently enough, each investigation begins with roughly the same amount of potential suspects, all of whom do something to appear incontrovertibly guilty at some point in the book, which of course serves to up the page count to the proper length. When the real killer is finally revealed, it never really feels as dramatic as it should. Too many instances of crying wolf before hand, I guess. Still, I highly recommend it to anyone interested in a different kind of detective story, this being the only series I know that features a samurai detective working for the Shogun.

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12/15/2009 page 35
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