The Cloud Pavilion: A Novel (Sano Ichiro Novels)

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9780312652555: The Cloud Pavilion: A Novel (Sano Ichiro Novels)

Japan, 1701. A terrified woman is brutally attacked amid a swirling storm of clouds. Meanwhile, at Edo Castle, samurai detective turned chamberlain, Sano Ichiro, is suspicious of his old rival, Yanagisawa, who has been oddly cooperative since returning from exile. But just as Yanagisawa's true motives begin to emerge, Sano's estranged uncle comes to him for help: His daughter has disappeared, and he begs Sano and his wife, Reiko―who once suffered through the kidnapping of their own son―to find her before it is too late.

Publishers Weekly calls Laura Joh Rowland's The Cloud Pavilion "One of the best mysteries of the year."

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Laura Joh Rowland is the author of thirteen previous Sano Ichiro thrillers, including The Fire Kimono that was named one of the Wall Street Journal's Five Best Historical Mystery Novels.

From The Washington Post:

From The Washington Post's Book World/washingtonpost.com Reviewed by by Maureen Corrigan Midway through the funniest novel ever written in English, Kingsley Amis's "Lucky Jim" (1954), our hero, an impish university lecturer, takes a moment "to think briefly about the Middle Ages," the period he's been assigned to teach: "Those who professed themselves unable to believe in the reality of human progress ought to cheer themselves up . . . by a short study of the Middle Ages. The hydrogen bomb, the South African Government, Chiang Kai-shek, Senator McCarthy himself, would then seem a light price to pay for no longer being in the Middle Ages. Had people ever been as nasty, as self-indulgent, as dull, as miserable, as cocksure, as bad at art, as dismally ludicrous, or as wrong as they'd been in . . . the Middle Ages?" I reread "Lucky Jim" every year or so as a spiritual tonic; that's how I came to connect Jim's pronouncement with Laura Joh Rowland's new mystery, "The Cloud Pavilion," the 14th novel in a series dealing with crime in feudal Japan. Though I suspect fans of this long-running series probably like it for the visions it conjures of the bygone civilization of samurai and shogun, there's little to pine for in Japan circa 1701 -- at least as depicted here. Peasants are eviscerated without reason at the whim of nobles; orphans run wild in the muddy streets; and women are mere baubles to be bought, traded and abused for men's pleasure. Even the food sounds bad: lots of raw mackerel and rice for those lucky enough to afford it. Still less appetizing are the crimes. The novel opens with a short, graphic rape scene, told from the point of view of the terrified victim. As the story unfolds, more women are kidnapped and violated in the city of Edo, among them: a gangster's adolescent daughter, a 60-year-old nun and a young mother who is also the cousin of Rowland's series hero, samurai detective Sano Ichiro. Initiating an investigation out of duty to his family, Sano is stymied by the fact that, in each case, he receives a starkly different description of the rapist. Are the attacks even related? Why does one of the victims tell such a strange story about being surrounded by roiling gray clouds? And -- on an unrelated note -- why is Sano's longtime mortal enemy and competitor for the shogun's favor, Yanagisawa, being sweet as pie to him since returning from exile? As a mystery, "The Cloud Pavilion" is as bumpy as an edamame pod. While the crimes (and punishments) described here are vicious and the vision of life in Edo outside the shogun's gates is grim, the relationship between Sano and his mystery-loving wife, Reiko, is cozily akin to that of Nick and Nora Charles -- minus the cocktails and repartee. In a Betty Friedan moment early in the novel, Reiko chafes against her cloistered existence: "At first she'd been thankful for the peace and quiet. She'd been glad that Yanagisawa apparently didn't intend to continue his hostilities against Sano. She wanted only to raise her family without fear. . . . She'd become very domestic taking up feminine activities such as flower arranging. . . . But enough was enough. . . . She wasn't meant for the circumscribed existence that was normal for women of her class. She missed the days . . . when she'd helped Sano solve crimes. . . . She was eager to take on a new investigation. But how? And when?" As that snippet from Reiko's musings illustrates, Rowland's writing is sometimes clunky. Reiko's portentous questions reminded this reader of similar itchy-to-be-doing-something sentiments in the Nancy Drew novels. And Rowland's tic of frequently harking back to earlier adventures in the Sano series deepens the Nancy Drew analogy. All long-running series have to deal with the challenge of a double readership consisting of fans who've read every previous entry and novices coming to the world of the established detective for the first time. In this case, Rowland's catch-up references feel intrusive, like authorial elbow jabs. Like Jim Dixon with regard to the Middle Ages, readers of "The Cloud Pavilion" will probably come away grateful for modernity, however compromised its advantages. Nothing in this so-so mystery novel will entice readers to linger in 18th-century Japan. bookworld@washpost.com
Copyright 2009, The Washington Post. All Rights Reserved.

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Book Description Minotaur Books, 2010. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. Japan, 1701. A terrified woman is brutally attacked amid a swirling storm of clouds. Meanwhile, at Edo Castle, samurai detective turned chamberlain, Sano Ichiro, is suspicious of his old rival, Yanagisawa, who has been oddly cooperative since returning from exile. But just as Yanagisawa s true motives begin to emerge, Sano s estranged uncle comes to him for help: His daughter has disappeared, and he begs Sano and his wife, Reiko--who once suffered through the kidnapping of their own son--to find her before it is too late. Publishers Weekly calls Laura Joh Rowland s The Cloud Pavilion One of the best mysteries of the year. Bookseller Inventory # APC9780312652555

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Book Description Minotaur Books, 2010. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.Japan, 1701. A terrified woman is brutally attacked amid a swirling storm of clouds. Meanwhile, at Edo Castle, samurai detective turned chamberlain, Sano Ichiro, is suspicious of his old rival, Yanagisawa, who has been oddly cooperative since returning from exile. But just as Yanagisawa s true motives begin to emerge, Sano s estranged uncle comes to him for help: His daughter has disappeared, and he begs Sano and his wife, Reiko--who once suffered through the kidnapping of their own son--to find her before it is too late. Publishers Weekly calls Laura Joh Rowland s The Cloud Pavilion One of the best mysteries of the year. Bookseller Inventory # APC9780312652555

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Book Description Minotaur Books. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Paperback. 304 pages. Dimensions: 8.2in. x 5.4in. x 1.0in.Japan, 1701. A terrified woman is brutally attacked amid a swirling storm of clouds. Meanwhile, at Edo Castle, samurai detective turned chamberlain, Sano Ichiro, is suspicious of hisold rival, Yanagisawa, who has beenoddly cooperative since returning from exile. But just as Yanagisawas true motives begin to emerge, Sanos estranged unclecomes tohim for help: His daughterhas disappeared, and he begs Sano and his wife, Reikowho once suffered through the kidnapping of their ownsontofind her before it is too late. Publishers Weekly calls Laura Joh Rowlands The Cloud Pavilion One of the best mysteries of the year. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Bookseller Inventory # 9780312652555

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