For the month of March, we will be reading and discussing "Shinjū" by Laura Joh Rowland. Seventeenth-century Tokyo is the setting for Rowland's debut novel, a murder mystery starring the Senior Police Commander in the district of Edo. Sano Ichiro, a samurai whose academic background puts him at odds with most of his peers, discovers two bodies in the Sumida River, a man and woman bound together in what appears to have been a shinju, or "double love suicide." The man is a peasant, the woman the high-born daughter of an important official. Told by his superior to close the case without an investigation, Sano, suspecting murder, determines to investigate on his own.
*Please help support Tubby & Coo's Mid-City Book Shop by ordering your copy through them. Make sure to mention that it is for the Kwaidan Book Club (Japan Society of New Orleans's Book Club) for a special discount!
ABOUT THE BOOK:
When beautiful, wealthy Yukiko and low-born artist Noriyoshi are found drowned together in a shinju, or ritual double suicide, everyone believes the culprit was forbidden love. Everyone but newly appointed yoriki Sano Ichiro.
Despite the official verdict and warnings from his superiors, the shogun's Most Honorable Investigator of Events, Situations, and People suspects the deaths weren't just a tragedy -- they were murder. Risking his family's good name and his own life, Sano will search for a killer across every level of society -- determined to find answers to a mystery no one wants solved. No one but Sano...
As subtle and beautiful as the culture it evokes, Shinju vividly re-creates a world of ornate tearooms and guady pleasure-palaces, cloistered mountaintop convents and dealthy prisons.
Part love story, part mystery, Shinju is a tour that will dazzle and entertain all who enter its world.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Granddaughter of Chinese and Korean immigrants, Laura Joh Rowland grew up in Michigan and where she graduated with a B.S. in microbiology and a Master of Public Health at the University of Michigan. She currently lives in New Orleans with her husband. She has worked as a chemist, microbiologist, sanitary inspector and quality engineer.
*Note: The author no longer resides in New Orleans. The above biography was obtained from Goodreads
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