She was intended for the emperor but died at the bottom of a cliff near Prince Atsuhira’s private villa. The palace covered up the scandal. Months later, Akitada is drawn into the case when his best friend is accused of plotting against the emperor. Atsuhira, his alleged co-conspirator, refuses to defend himself. The mystery of the lady’s death unravels slowly, bringing danger to Akitada, whose household is already threatened by an ill-fated relationship between Genba and a prostitute which leads to his arrest for the brothel keeper’s murder. Surrounded by a cast ranging from outcasts and assassins to noblewomen serving in the inner apartments of the imperial palace, Akitada not only delves into murky palace secrets, but his efforts to solve two murders require him to examine the many roles played by women in his society.
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I.J. Parker was born and educated in Europe and turned to mystery writing after an academic career in the U.S. She published her short stories in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, winning the short story Shamus award in 2000. The Akitada novels, a series about an eleventh century Japanese nobleman/detective, now consist of ten titles, with a twelfth to be released soon. The books are available in print, audio, and electronic formats. They have been translated into twelve languages. The short stories are available in electronic format. I.J. Parker is also the author of several historical novels set during the Heike Wars in twelfth century Japan, and of a historical thriller set in eighteenth century Europe.
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