The Flower Master

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9780060192280: The Flower Master

Agatha Award-winning author Sujata Massey makes her hardcover debut with The flower Master, the third entry in her wonderfully successful mystery series featuring a savvy young Japanese-American woman in modern-day Tokyo.

Rei Shimura, a twentysomething part-California girl, part-Japanese antiques dealer, can't quite find her place in Tokyo society. Lately Rei's love life has fallen off the radar screen, and despite all her efforts, her new business isn't doing much better.

At her aunt's insistence, Rei enrolls in a course in ikebana, the famous Japanese art of flower arranging. Little does she realize what a cutthroat class it will be; she's hardly completed a lesson before her instructor is murdered.

Rei is ready to track down the killer, but suddenly the case hits close to home. She and her aunt are battered by waves of police questioning, press attention, and mysterious warnings. Skeletons are rattling in her family's closet, and Rei must open the door to a dangerous secret.

Rei's in for the excitement she's been missing as her search for the truth takes her through twisting new corridors of intrigue, romance, and murder. It's up to Rei, the black sheep, to keep her family name clear-and her own life safe-from an enemy with an unknown agenda.

The Flower Master is a scintillating mystery as fresh, cutting-edge, and uniquely appealing as its in-over-her-head-but-hanging-on sleuth.

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Review:

Rei Shimura, a twentysomething Japanese American antiques dealer, returns for a third outing in Sujata Massey's series set in Japan ( Zen Attitude, The Salaryman's Wife). In The Flower Master, Rei's former boyfriend has left Japan, and her antiques business is only slightly more successful than her love life. Then she's dragooned by her aunt Norie into enrolling at a famous Tokyo ikebana school. Rei's not a natural at the ancient art of flower arranging, but she has a talent for sleuthing, which comes in handy when the head teacher at the Kayama School is found dead--with a pair of flower shears exactly like the ones Norie gave her lodged in her neck.

Rei's efforts to find the killer and unravel the secrets entwining her Tokyo family with the Kayamas move the action along, but the real mystery is whether the budding romance between the California girl who can't quite find her place in the tradition-bound society of modern Japan and the handsome environmental activist slated to take over as iemoto (headmaster) of the school will flower into lasting love. Intrigue and multiple murders spice the romance, along with a fascinating explication of ikebana's enduring history. Rei is a lively protagonist who brings the reader along for an entertaining and subtle lesson in Japanese culture as well as in the dangers involved in digging up buried family skeletons. --Jane Adams

About the Author:

Sujata Massey was born in England to parents from India and Germany. She studied writing at Johns Hopkins University and worked as a reporter for the Baltimore Evening Sun before moving to Japan, whre she taught English and began writing mystery fiction. The Rei Shimura series starts with The Salaryman's Wife, which won the Agatha Award for best first novel of 1997, and continues with Zen Attitude, and Edgar and Anthony nominee, and The Flower Master. At present Sujata Massey lives with her family in Baltimore and travels to Japan to research future Rei Shimura novels.

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