Publishers Weekly calls Laura Joh Rowland's The Cloud Pavilion "One of the best mysteries of the year.
Japan, 1701. A woman is brutally attacked within a bamboo prison as clouds swirl around her head. Meanwhile, at Edo Castle, samurai detective turned chamberlain Sano Ichiro is suspicious of his old rival, Yanagisawa, who has been oddly cooperative since returning from exile.
But just as Yanagisawa's true motives begin to emerge, Sano's estranged uncle comes to him for help: His daughter has disappeared, and he begs Sano and his wife—who once suffered through the kidnapping of their own son—to find her before it is too late.
In Rowland's masterful 14th historical to feature Sano Ichiro, a year has passed since the events chronicled in 2008's The Fire Kimono, but the calm that has prevailed since the shogun made Sano and his archrival, Yanagisawa Yoshiyasu, co-chamberlains is about to be shattered. Maj. Kumazawa Hiroyuki, Sano's estranged uncle, comes to him for help after the major's 33-year-old daughter, Chiyo, disappears. The detective-turned-politician manages to find Chiyo, but not before she has been violated. The search for her assailant becomes more complicated once word reaches Sano that Chiyo was the third in a series of victims, following an elderly nun and a powerful gangster's teenage daughter. Established fans will be pleased by how Rowland has developed Sano's son, Masahiro, along with other secondary characters they have become attached to, while newcomers should find the people, plot and early 18th-century Japanese setting hard to resist.