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CompleteMartialArts.com - The Perfumed Sleeve: A Novel (Sano Ichiro Novels)


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Manufacturer: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Average Customer Rating: Average rating of 4.0/5Average rating of 4.0/5Average rating of 4.0/5Average rating of 4.0/5Average rating of 4.0/5

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Binding: Mass Market Paperback
Dewey Decimal Number: 813
EAN: 9780312992088
ISBN: 0312992084
Label: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Manufacturer: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Number Of Items: 1
Number Of Pages: 384
Publication Date: 2005-04-05
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Release Date: 2005-04-05
Studio: St. Martin's Paperbacks

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Editorial Reviews:

Sano Ichiro, Most Honorable Investigator of Events, Situations, and People is faced with his most challenging case when he investigates the death of Senior Elder Makino, the shogun's most trusted adviser. There is only one puzzling clue-a torn, perfumed sleeve of a kimono. Under the watchful eyes of the shogun's cousin, Lord Matsudaira, and the shogun's second-in-command, Chamberlain Yanagisaw, Sano moves with caution. For each is eager to implicate the other in Makino's death. But Sano must determine whether the death was indeed murder, and if so, whether it was motivated by politics, love, or sex.

When a second violent death occurs, Sano is faced with several suspects, each with a compelling motive. Was it Agemaki, Makino's stone-faced second wife; Okitsu, his beautiful young concubine; Koheiji, his handsome male houseguest; or Tamura, his faithful retainer? Or was it a political assassination? With the help of his wife, Reiko, Sano must solve the murder as he discovers just how intertwined desire and danger really are...



Spotlight customer reviews:

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: gripping mystery from a master storyteller
Comment: Rowland has delivered another wonderfully crafted mystery set in the fascinating world of medieval Japan. highly recommended.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5
Summary: Starting to get obsessed
Comment: I am an admitted fan of all of Rowlands earlier works and she does a great job of translating Japan to a western mind. However in her most recent works she seems to be fixiated on the homosexual or bisexual aspects of the culture. Not so much in the way she writes about it or assigns it to her characters as much as the repetition with which she refers to it. I am a student of ancient Japanese culture and history and have no problem acknowledging this aspect of the sexuality of men and women in ancient Japan. That being said, I feel in her latest work exhibits some preoccupation with deviant sexuality that I did not either see the need for or I felt it as a distraction from the story. Again, the mention of it was not my issue. It is the constant referal to it which annoyed me. This was present in a few of her other recent works as well. I will continue to read her however, because she does the world of Japanese history justice and I loved the ending in perfumed sleeve.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5
Summary: best book of the series so far
Comment: Sano is back and he's got a particularly messy mystery on his hands. A high court official with an complex sexual past and a slew of enimies is dead. The old man was beaten to death and no-one, not his wife who was sleeping next door, his half witted concubine or his handsome houseguest will admit to knowing anything about it. Sano finds himself attempting to deal with the crime while carefully walking a thin line between two opposing factions and the weaked willed Shogun. If he finds the murderer it may ruin his career and life. If he doesn't the country may be plunged into a war. Only his samuarai code can offer him any comfort.

Sano's wife Reiko is also back and her character is much improved. She's no longer the annoying brat that she used to be and has become a real help to her husband's work rather than the added headache she once was.

Other reviewers have mentioned the sex in this novel. It is very graphic and on occasion, revolting. If that bothers you, be prepared to either skip whole sections or skip the book. This is not a Harlequinn romance and it isn't Nancy Drew or a cozy Agatha Christie.

One thing that Rowland does very well is to get into the heads of widely different characters. The villainess does terrible things but is really a victim herself. The villain is a fascinating, twisted character who does disgusting and vicious things and almost convinces himself and the reader that he has no other choice. And of course, Sano and Reiko's relationship continues to be interesting.

I don't know if I'll continue with this series but this was a pretty good mystery and it has a totally unexpected ending.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5
Summary: Wrong genre.....
Comment: I've followed the series, finding that Ms. Rowland's characters interest me. Hitherto, her sexual situation depictions have not been so far into gratuity that we couldn't either ignore them, or claim they worked somewhat within the plot, but in this book, we are served an entirely new level of graphicly lurid sex that might well qualify this book as pornographic. She's certainly using this book as a vehicle to explore presenting explicit and detailed accounts of sexual behaviour,(bordering on and crossing over into perverse), including an account of an incident where Reiko,(our heroine, disguised as a maid), is forced to voyeurism of sex that includes insertion of a hard-boiled egg into a woman's genitalia.
While I am not a proponant of censorship- I think you can read whatever you want- I DO think that some note as to graphic content of this kind should be made by the pro reviewers and Amazon's commentary, and I think that Ms. Rowland might do better to decide just what she's offering us here. Is she a mystery writer? Or a purveyor of erotica? This book might best be classified as the latter......
As for the rest of the book, the plot itself is again, of interest,her details are beautifully written and rather prosaic, her characters are fun,(although the mimmering,insipid,melodramatic women sometimes become irritating), but once again,Ms.Rowland indulges in the tiresome device of constant "questionmark endings". Could she have--? Will he find--? Will our hero--? Chapter after chapter, this becomes a bit on the insulting side, and I found myself cringing each time, thinking "how trite, there's a better way."
It's likely that I'll keep buying the series, because I'm a compulsive character follower and enjoy period fiction,(REALLY fiction-this book isn't particularly accurate about Japanese culture, but then, Ms. Rowland isn't Japanese...),like to see how they turn out, but I'm certainly hoping that Ms. Rowland realizes that erotica doesn't excuse a sophomoric writing style and is not a substutute for scenario developement. It's just rather cheap book thickener and I found myself wondering if I wasn't being forced, along with Reiko, into voyeurism, as I kept reading in an effort to not miss something pertinant to the mystery. She might actually consider studying up on period Japanese history between books.......
Will Ms. Rowland continue to escalate her level of graphic erotica? Will she learn that plot complexity and technical accuracy are far more interesting to mystery readers than sexual disgust? Will she ever figure out how to avoid the chronic question mark? Will Amazon identify the sexually explicit books a bit better in future?
???????????????

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: Best yet
Comment: After having devoured the other 8 books in the series, I found that Perfumed Sleeve gave a refreshing twist to the Sano Ichiro series. It finally gave the reader some relief from the mounting tensions of the previous books and opened up a new chapter in Sano's life. I am waiting with bated breath for Laura Joh Rowlands next book and am curious to see where she takes the new plot line.


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