The Hollow Reed Saga
"I love the entire series, but the last three
novels have equaled and quite possibly exceeded the originally published
novels. This one in particular was a fun, high-quality read. The characters
have evolved in such a believable manner and it's particularly enjoyable to
follow an older, more seasoned, and more secure Akitada who has finally
"Fantastic series - Another in the continuing exploits of Akitada, a
nobleman an amateur sleuth in ancient Japan. Great prose, entertaining
mystery in a historically accurate setting. IJ Parker is one of my favorite
authors and I always look forward to the next adventures of a cast of
characters who have become old friends." Read the whole review
"(IJ Parker) has skillfully adopted the literary model of the traditional
Asian crime novel in which the protagonist, a “righteous official,” must
investigate several puzzling cases." Read the whole review
(Starred Review) "Parker raises the stakes considerably for
her fallible but honorable series sleuth in her excellent eighth mystery set
in 11th-century Japan (after 2010's The Masuda Affair)."
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“Whether you love great historical fiction or mysteries, The Masuda Affair is a tightly plotted, emotional, yet logical murder mystery sure to grip the reader’s interest, leaving all satisfied." (LIBRARY JOURNAL)
the pantheon of mystery books, I.J. Parker’s stand alone. Far from simple
potboilers, her mysteries weave multiple plot threads into a lush tapestry
of Japanese society in the Heian period. Her latest book, The Convict’s
Sword, features her detective, the judicial clerk Akitada Sugawara, trying
to clear the names of two friends, even as he makes decisions about his
family more serious than he ever imagined. The result is one of her best —
if not the best — books yet, a complex and heady mix of suspense and Asian
culture written with authority and flair.” Read the whole review
than just a mystery novel, this is a superb piece of literature set against
the backdrop of 11th-century Kyoto.” Read the whole review
(Starred Review) "Parker gives her protagonist an emotional depth that
raises her to the front rank of contemporary historical writers."
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"In Parker's hands, 11th century Japan comes alive in radiant fashion. Black Arrow is an exquisite book, suspenseful and action-packed, but also beautiful in its evocative descriptions and loving rendering of its subject." (David Montgomery in CHICAGO SUN-TIMES)
"Black Arrow is a terrific mystery with a setting that is unforgettable... Parker's research is extensive and she makes great use of the complex manners and relationships in feudal Japan. At times the scenes may owe a bit to filmmakers such as Akira Kurosawa, but that's no criticism. This is a fine historical detective novel with good characterization and a great setting." (Margaret Cannon in THE GLOBE AND MAIL) (Review of BLACK ARROW)
(Starred Review) "Shamus-winner Parker's fourth
historical Sugawara Akitada novel (after 2006's Rashomon Gate) deftly
combines an action-packed plot with convincing period detail to bring
11th-century Japan to life."
"An elegant, oblique prologue set decades
before the main action finds Death preying on a young woman and her
frolicking baby in a flower-laden forest clearing. Akitada's fourth
adventure, as beautifully written as his first three, keeps his wife Tamako
in the background but adroitly develops his three sidekicks."
"Now comes the first Sugawara Akitada novel, a
rousing, whip-fast story of political intrigue and adventure in
eleventh-century Japan... told with a sure hand and a sharp sense of humor."
"Parker has created a wonderful protagonist in
Akitada, who, bound by tradition, finds himself in conflict with his
benevolent nature. Her ancillary characters... are as vividly drawn."
His noble family fallen on hard times, Sugawara Akitada works as a minor official in the Ministry of Justice in Heian Kyo, capital of Japan in the 11th century. The post is boring, but there are bills to pay, servants to maintain and a diminished estate to keep up as best he can. However, Akitada also has a sharp mind and an inquisitive nature, both of which get put to the test as he unravels murders and mysteries that carry him from the depths of the most common peasant hovels to the sacred halls of the Imperial Palace itself.Bound not only by his sense of decency and honor, but the strict codes and social structure of Ancient Japan, Akitada must step carefully while gathering clues to solve the puzzles before him.
I.J. PARKER won the Private Eye Writers of America Shamus Award for Best P.I. Short Story in 2000 for "Akitada's First Case," published in 1999. An Associate Professor of English and Foreign Languages (retired) at a Virginia university, Parker began research into eleventh century Japan because of a professional interest in that culture's literature. This led to the first Akitada short story, "Instruments of Murder," published in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine. The Akitada series of mystery novels soon followed and led to foreign publication as the novels were translated into other languages. Later, Parker turned her attention to the turbulent events at the end of the twelfth century. Three novels are the result of this research: the two-volume saga THE HOLLOW REED and the action-adventure THE SWORD MASTER. Finally, there is also a literary novel, THE LEFT-HANDED GOD, set in eighteenth century Germany, a special labor of love.
You can contact I.J. Parker at: Heianmys@aol.com
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This web site was last updated on 9/27/2023. All content copyright 2009-2023 by I.J. Parker. Please send comments or questions concerning this web site to the webmaster.