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The Perfumed Sleeve

(Sano Ichiro #9)

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  1,091 ratings  ·  36 reviews
November 1694. The streets of Edo are erupting in violence as two factions struggle for control over the ruling Tokugawa regime. One is led by the shogun's cousin, Lord Matsudaira, and the other by the shogun's second-in-command, Chamberlain Yanagisawa. Each side pressures Sano Ichiro, the shogun's most honorable investigator, to join its ranks.

When one of the shogun's mos
Paperback, 384 pages
Published April 5th 2005 by St. Martin's Press (first published 2004)
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3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,091 ratings  ·  36 reviews

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Even at book #9, this series is still going strong. In fact, THE PERFUMED SLEEVE is one of the best, most intricate Sano Ichiro mysteries to date. Rowland's brilliant plotting and deft handling of suspense kept me up all night turning the pages. Great characters, high stakes, and an exotic historical setting only help to further sweeten the pot. Ichiro continues to be one of the most fascinating detective characters in all of literature.
Serge Pierro
Aug 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Another good book in the series by Rowland. Although there are no major developments in her writing style, it is clear that she is comfortable and confident in writing this series at this point.
Nov 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Though she'd already switched things up a bit with more varied plotting over the last couple of installments, I admit that enthusiasm has been waning – the primary antagonistic theme had long since moved into wearisome territory. So it came as quite a pleasant surprise that this one not only moved to a much more traditional (and good) whodunnit procedural format, but intertwined it with court at the cusp of civil war AND shook things up in ways that should make for significantly different story ...more
She Books
Feb 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Enjoyable period dectective novel. Easy read nice characters.
Mar 10, 2018 rated it liked it
plucky dignified detectives continue being plucky, dignified; solve crimes.
Corinne Morier
Oct 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of mystery, thrillers, whodunits, or books set in Japan

After reading Iris Fan about four-ish years ago and being hella disappointed by the ending, I haven't been able to reread any of the books in this series. Rather than reading them in order like a sane person *shifty eyes* I instead decided to start with the ones I remembered the least. This was the first one in the series I've reread since reading the hot mess that was Iris Fan.

AAAAAH IT'S SO GOOD YOU GUYS!! I totally did not remember the ending (I did remember t
Jun 20, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: asia, historical, mystery
- fascinating setting of the emperor's court in historical Japan, with samurai all over
- liked how the investigator's wife participates in solving the crimes to which he is assigned, despite tremendous restrictions of female roles and expectations at that place and at that time
- kept changing guess of who culprit was
- intriguing title

- felt like the writing style was kind of stilted at times, didn't flow for me
- peppered with cliched expressions
- whopper of an "As, you know, Bob," conver
Kevin Vrieze
Mar 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Number 9 in the Sano series, it delivers everything that was hinted at in The Dragon King's Palace and then some. The suspense and challenges continue to the very last page. It one of the more convoluted plots I've read, but fits nicely in the Tokugawa motif. The character focus seems a bit more on Hirata and Reiko rather than Sano or Midori, and the villainy as much with Lady Yanagisawa as anyone. In the indirection much is brought out about all the other characters and the plot itself. Lovely ...more
This was one of the more enjoyable books in the series, even though nothing has changed. Sano is bland and uptight as always, Hirata is stupid, Reiko is annoying, the shogun, well, I have no words, and Lady Yanagisawa has lost her last brain cell I don't know where. The most interesting part of the book were clumsy attempts at seizing power in the realm, repeated by Chamberlain Yanagisawa and Lord Matsudaira; also I'd like to know what happened between Yanagisawa and Hoshina, because it seems th ...more
Dec 25, 2007 rated it liked it
The Sano Ichiro mysteries take place during the Tokugawa Shogunate and this time Sano receives a posthumous request from an old enemy to have his death investigated just in case he was murdered.

At the same time there's a power struggle to control the weak-willed Shogun and both factions want Sano on their side. Each side naturally takes advantage of the investigation to try and implicate the other and both hold enough power to destroy him and his family if he makes a mistake.

As mysteries go, it
Kandas Myer
Jan 11, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoys murder mysteries.
This author, while at times immature in her story telling, does one thing extremely well. By the time you are half way through any of her Sano Ichiro novels, you are reluctant to fall asleep without knowing what will happen next. From the volume of books I have read by Laura Joh Rowland, one might guess she is a favorite of mine. The reading is light, easy and woven together in fuedal Japan without being heavily burdened with historical reference. Again, as with the other
Sano novels, I highly re
May 28, 2012 rated it it was ok
This was much less historical fiction than it was a mystery novel. And for a mystery novel, I enjoyed it. It *was* set in Japan, 1694, but little is made of the historical backdrop. It was a classic who-dunnit that I would've enjoyed much more without all the sex. It seemed unnecessary & kind of trashy at times.

BUT it was a good mystery, I couldn't predict what happened (which is always nice), and the main characters were pretty well fleshed out. I could tell from the outset of reading that
Mar 20, 2009 rated it liked it
Sano Ichiro, chief detective for a 17th centruy shogun of Japan, investigates the murder of a powerful politician amid the turnoil of warring factions. I enjoyed the mystery, the political intrigue, and interesting characters, and look forward to the next book in this series. My only disappointment was that at the end I would have liked to see more of a final confrontation between Yanagasawa and Ichiro.
Oct 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was very enjoyable-- lot's of red herrings and some nice plot lines. It filled in a gap in the story-line for me, as I've read some of this series out of order and this explained a bunch of issues re: Hirata and Yanigasawa, Sano's primary assistant and nemesis, respectively.
I continue to enjoy Rowland's story of samurai era Japan, even if the characters become somewhat predictable.
Aug 25, 2011 rated it liked it
I read a few reviews which said it was the best book of the series so far. I must admit it wasn't bad, but I liked "Black Lotus" or "The Pillowbook of Lady Wisteria" a lot more.

The ending was REALLY surprising though...
And I think Reiko and Hirata developed quite a lot during the story. I like Reiko a lot more now...
Mar 22, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: japanophiles and murder mystery fans alike
yes, it was a page-turner from about halfway on. all of her books have that "i have to read more" effect on me. but, i wasn't as completely blown away by this book as i have been so many other times.

have i lost faith in laura joh rowland? absolutely not, and i'm really excited to read THE ASSASIN'S TOUCH next.
Nov 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japan-related
Originally I got it, because the cover-art was gorgeous. (Yes, that's a bad habit of mine, judging a book by it's cover.) Then I thought... historical fiction / mystery set in Japan, in 1694... can it get any better than this? Well yes, it can. Read it and you'll know~ ♥
Aug 31, 2007 rated it really liked it
Once again a fan of Sano Ichiro. Skipped a whole mess of books in the seris but was abel to follow along non the less.
Plan on reading the rest of the Sano Ichiro Mysteries. Nice suspense and a nice sprinkeling of Sex always a nice combo.
Barbara Lazar
May 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Another fabulous mystery!

Why not five stars? Rowland has one bad habit: translating modern, American expressions into "comparable" Japanese terms. As I work pretty heavily around the Meiji era with my own work, this translation act struck me as a bit inauthentic.
Dec 19, 2013 rated it liked it
Political intrigue, tests of loyalty, and, of course, murder and sex... set in 18th century Japan. The time and place are especially fascinating and the characters are well cast. The story doesn't flag... will be reading others.
Judith Reed
Dec 15, 2015 rated it liked it
The twists and turns in this mystery are intriguing. Seems like everyone has secrets (or are they skeletons). The one thing I disliked about the book was it had too much of "manly love".
Sep 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
I enjoy the Sano mysteries. I always learn something. This book taught me high society women not only shaved their eyebrows, they died their teeth black as well.
Jul 17, 2008 rated it liked it
I enjoyed learning about how Japan society operated during that time in history.
Steve Woods
Aug 18, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: a-good-read
Standard pot boiler. Formulaic, getting a bit tired of the variations on the same them,e. Time for a change
Aug 04, 2012 added it
I love this author and have read everything she writes!
Cindi (cheesygiraffe)
Mar 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012-read
Clifford Terry
Sep 17, 2014 rated it it was ok
Having read this series from the beginning, I found the last two book very disappointing.
Sep 07, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, own
Love these Sano Ichiro mysteries -- there is a lot of background on ancient Japan as well as well-thought out suspense -- every time.
Thomas Dale
Feb 12, 2016 rated it liked it
Another good historical murder mystery based in feudal Japan.
Aug 17, 2007 rated it really liked it
good series
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Granddaughter of Chinese and Korean immigrants, Laura Joh Rowland grew up in Michigan and where she graduated with a B.S. in microbiology and a Master of Public Health at the University of Michigan. She currently lives in New Orleans with her husband. She has worked as a chemist, microbiologist, sanitary inspector and quality engineer.

Other books in the series

Sano Ichiro (1 - 10 of 18 books)
  • Shinju (Sano Ichiro, #1)
  • Bundori (Sano Ichiro, #2)
  • The Way of the Traitor  (Sano Ichiro, #3)
  • The Concubine's Tattoo (Sano Ichiro, #4)
  • The Samurai's Wife (Sano Ichiro, #5)
  • Black Lotus (Sano Ichiro, #6)
  • The Pillow Book of Lady Wisteria (Sano Ichiro, #7)
  • The Dragon King's Palace (Sano Ichiro, #8)
  • The Assassin's Touch (Sano Ichiro, #10)
  • Red Chrysanthemum (Sano Ichiro, #11)