Synopses & Reviews
Antiques dealer Rei Shimura has managed to snag one of the most lucrative and prestigious jobs of her career: a renowned museum in Washington, D.C., has invited her to exhibit her kimonos and give a lecture on them. Accompanied by a gaggle of Japanese office ladies bent on a week of shopping, Rei lands in the capital. But her big break could ultimately break her. Within hours one of the kimonos is stolen, and then Rei's passport is discovered in a shopping mall dumpster—on the dead body of one of the Japanese tourists. Trouble is only beginning, though, for now Rei's parents have arrived and so has her ex-boyfriend. To track down the kimono and unmask a killer, Rei's got to do some clever juggling, fast talking, and quick sleuthing, or this trip home could be her last.
Rei Shimura is struggling to build her antiques business in Tokyo when she gets a call from a Washington, D.C. museum, asking her to act as courier to transport a set of priceless early 19th-century kimonos. Thus begins the adventure of a lifetime, involving stolen artifacts, a wacky tour group of Japanese women heading for U.S. shopping malls, and a very dead body. Rei manages to reunite with her parents in California, to uncover a story of long-dead lovers, to rekindle a tempestuous affair with the man who just might be her Mr. Right, and of course to solve the crime.
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