Synopses & Reviews
In Heian Kyo, the capital city of 11th century Japan, Akitada Sugawara serves as a minor official in the Ministry of Justice. Though born into a noble family, his family's estate is sadly diminished, forcing Akitada to toil fruitlessly at an unsuccessful career. So when an old friend, Professor Hirata, calls upon Akitada for help, he welcomes the opportunity to escape from his dull assignments.
One of the professor's colleagues is being blackmailed, and to save the Imperial University from scandal, Hirata asks his former pupil to investigate the situation. After taking a leave of absence from the Ministry, Akitada joins the staff of the university as a visiting lecturer, and finds himself drawn into a web of gossip and petty rivalries.
Nearly everyone he encounters is suspect, but Akitada's attentions are soon sidetracked by the murder of a young woman, and the mysterious disappearance of a student's grandfather. The emperor himself has declared the case a miracle, but Lord Minamoto refuses to believe the pious tale of his grandfather's transfiguration. Though there is no evidence of foul play, it is clear to Akitada that Minamoto's life has also become endangered.
Plunging into a dangerous investigation of conspiracy among high-ranking nobles, Akitada must step carefully while gathering clues to solve the puzzle before him.
1st in series of mysteries set in 11th century Japan featuring Sugawara Akitada, a minor government official. Akitada is secretly investigating a blackmail letter to one of the professors at the university. While working undercover as a visiting lecturer he is asked to investigate 3 murders-that of a female musician (strangled with her own red sash), a professor (tied to a statue w/ a sash, throat slashed) , and Prince Yoakira, who disappeared while praying at a mountain temple (his head is later found under the floorboards of the shrine).
Award-winning writer Parker brings ancient Japan to life in a tale of blackmail and murder among high-ranking nobles. 10 illustrations.
About the Author
I. J. Parker,
winner of a Shamus Award for "Akitada's First Case," a short story published in 1999, lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia.