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Life in Japan for a transplanted California with a fledging antiques business and a nonexistent love life isn't always fun, but when the flower arranging class Rei Shimura's aunt cajoles her into taking turns into a stage for murder, Rei finds plenty of excitement she's been missing. Unfortunately too many people have a reason for committing the crime--her aunt included. While struggling to adjust to the nuances of Japanese propriety, trying to keep her business afloat, and dealing with veiled massages left under her door, Rei sifts the bones of old skeletons to keep her family name clear--and her own life safe from an enemy with a mysterious agenda. If Rei doesn't want to be crushed like fallen cherry blossoms, she's going to have to walk a perilous line and uncover the killer with a dramatic flare for deadly arrangements.
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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 AdamsAbout 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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