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Ostensibly, Hirata is concerned with what appears to be a blackmailer at the already struggling university such a scandal might well be a deathblow.

Life and times of a Heian-Period crime sleuth | The Japan Times

But Hirata also has in mind a possible match between his daughter, Tamako, and Akitada, who in addition becomes involved in the disappearance of a student's grandfather. Lord Minamoto, a young student consigned to the school, believes his grandfather was murdered, but the emperor has ruled the disappearance a miracle, so Akitada must move carefully.

Parker has neatly blended familiar and esoteric Japanese history, religion, culture and superstition with a well-paced plot to create an appealing historical mystery. Amusingly, the Imperial University seems not too different from today's institutions, with uncertain governmental support, jealousies and bickering among the faculty, as well as impecunious students striving to make ends meet.

Akitada, impetuous, passionate and intelligent, is aided by a scampish servant, Tora, and an elderly, resourceful retainer, Seimei.

I. J. Parker

Readers should welcome further tales about the trio. Copyright Cahners Business Information, Inc. Convert currency. Add to Basket. Book Description St.

Martin's Minotaur, Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. New book. No remainder mark. No markings inside.

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Seller Inventory More information about this seller Contact this seller. Martin's Press, New York, Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine. First Edition, First Printing. Nice, unsold, unread first edition, first printing of this historical mystery set in Ancient Japan featuring Akitada Sugawara. Seller Inventory M Martin's Minotaur. Seller Inventory NEW Book Description Condition: New.

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The writings of the court women of the early eleventh century were brilliant, far advanced for their time when compared to European literature. And the Van Gulik mysteries are arguably the best historical mysteries in existence. I chose eleventh century Japan. Akitada's troubles with bureaucracy seem surprisingly modern, but in other ways the Heian setting is truly exotic. What, to you, seems the most alien aspect of ancient Japan? In many ways, Akitada is a misfit in his own time.

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By the eleventh century, the government in Japan was no longer a meritocracy. It was in the hands of a single family, the Fujiwaras. Capable men must have chafed under this system, which promoted only Fujiwaras to the top positions. Akitada believes passionately in order and in the imperial administration, but the conflict between his ideals and reality creates many problems.

I tend toward realism in my writing, and to me the most alien and difficult aspects of the culture have to do with superstitions. Japanese folklore is rich in miracles, demonic possessions, and the belief in shamanism. These tend to get in the way of crime investigations, as for example in Rashomon Gate and in the upcoming Fires of the Gods. In distrusting the supernatural, Akitada is unusual for his time. To make up for this, his sidekick Tora, utterly courageous in all human encounters, turns to jelly when he thinks he faces ghosts or demons.

Your mysteries are unusually suspenseful, because sometimes real tragedy strikes Akitada.