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Zen Attitudeby Sujata Massey
Synopses & Reviews
In this smart and snappy sequel to the acclaimed The Salaryman's Wife, rising mystery master Sujata Massey brings back Tokyo-based treasure hunter Rei Shimura in another tale of secrets, lies, and murder.
Being a private antiques buyer is supposed to be fun. Unfortunately, for Japanese-American Rei Shimura, it can sometimes turn deadly. When she acquires an ancient chest of drawers, she unwittingly unleashes a Pandora's Box of mystery, and becomes a pawn in a long-standing game of envy, theft, and murder. When the antiques dealer from whom she bought the chest is killed, Rei suspects the chest is involved. As she digs into the history of the piece for clues, she finds a suspicious link to one of the most powerful families in Tokyo — a discovery that will put her own home and life in jeopardy. Rei will need her quick wit, fast feet, sharp reflexes, and above all else a Zen attitude to solve the murder, uncover the truth about this family, and evade a killer who is willing to go to any length to secure the treasure of a lifetime.
"A terrific debut, crafted with surprising twists and turns and steeped in the flavor of contemporary Japan. Writing in a style as smart and snappy as her heroine, Sujata Massey brings a fresh perspective to the traditional mystery. Readers are in for a real treat". — Jonnie Jacobs
"Massey blasts her way into fiction with The Salaryman's Wife, a cross-cultural mystery of manners with a decidedly sexy edge". — Janet Evanovich
Japanese-American Rei Shimura finally has a life to be proud of in Tokyo: running her own antiques business and living with her Scottish lawyer boyfreind. But when Rei overpays for abeautiful chest of drawers, she's in for the worst deal of her life. The con man who sold her the Tansu is found dead, and like it or not Rei's opened a pandora's box of mystery, theft, and murder.
Only Rei sees the Tansu as the key. It will take a quick wit, fast feet, and above all a Zen Attitude for Rei to discover what a young monk, a judo star, and an ancient scroll have in common, and why her own life hangs in the balance.
Sujata Massey is an exciting new author published by HarperPaperbacks. Massey's first novel, The Salaryman's Wife, has just been nominated for the prestigious Anthony Award. Massey's second novel, Zen Attitude, also featuring Rei Shimura, a 27 year-old Japanese American English teaching living in Tokyo, will be out in June 1998.
About the Author
Sujata Massey was born in England to a father from India and a mother from Germany. During her childhood her family immigrated to the US, and she grew up in Philadelphia, PA, Berkeley, CA and St. Paul, MN. She earned a bachelor's degree in the writing seminars at Johns Hopkins University, where she took classes from such writers as John Barth and Martha Grimes. After college, Sujata worked as a features reporter at the Baltimore Evening Sun where her specialty beats included food and fashion-major emphases in the Rei Shimura mystery series that she was to write later on.
Sujata left the paper in 1991 when she married her college sweetheart, Tony Massey. She accompanied him to Japan to carry out a U.S. Navy service obligation. Almost immediately, Tony was deployed to the Persian Gulf, and Sujata began her life as a brand-new expatriate housewife — battling Japanese realtors determined not to rent to foreigners, and bargaining for a used car from a dealership where no English speakers had gone before. Within two weeks, she had rented a traditional, unheated house in a Japanese town called Hayama about a half hour from the base. She'd also acquired a right-hand drive car and a Japanese drivers' license and signed up for her first Japanese language class.
Freed from the newsroom, Sujata plunged into daily life — learning such rituals as flower arrangement and tofu-making from her new friends and neighbors, and studying Japanese in a challenging immersion program in nearby Yokohama. The deeper Sujata ventured into Japan, the more she wondered about the stereotyped representations of it in popular literature. Where was the Japan where housewives dutifully swept leaves from the street in front of their houses every morning, where sweet potato vendors offered their goods from portable braziers, and where schoolgirls sold their used school uniforms to grown men? To Sujata, it seemed like a world of sanctified tradition and bizarre modernity — and time to start writing again.
After two years in the Japanese suburbs, Sujata returned with her husband to Baltimore, where she continued writing about Japan. Making trips back to Tokyo to fact-check the series, and continuing research on Japanese arts and traditions with Japan scholars in America, Sujata has kept alive the stories inspired by Japanese culture and people. Becoming the mother of her own two children has challenged her writing time, but also marked the series with a powerful emphasis on love and family. Her books continue to attract new readers and strong reviews worldwide. The Rei Shimura series is published in the USA, Australia and India by HarperCollins Publishers, and by other publishers in Japan, Germany, the Netherlands, Finland, Romania and Poland.
The Salaryman's Wife, the first book, took four years to write and focused on the trials of Rei Shimura, a twentysomething, half-Japanese and half-American English teacher in Tokyo who discovers a valuable antique object, ventures into the world of host bars, acquires a glamorous Scottish boyfriend and solves the murder of a staid suburban woman with a shocking past. The book won the Agatha award for Best First Mystery of 1997 and was a nominee for the Anthony and Macavity Awards. It was also a People "Page Turner of the Week."
Zen Attitude followed and was nominated for the Edgar and Anthony awards of 1998 and was a USA Today "Summer Reading Pick."Then came The Flower Master, which won the Macavity Award for Best Mystery and was nominated for the Agatha Award; The Floating Girl, which was an Agatha nominee and a Booklist "Editor's Choice" book; The Bride's Kimono, a Booksense 76 selection and a nominee for the Agatha Award; and The Samurai's Daughter, which was an Agatha nominee in 2003. The newest book in the series, The Pearl Diver will be published in the summer of summer 2004
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