THE FLOWER MASTER by Sujata Massey


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Agatha-winner Massey’s hardcover debut takes her antiques-buyer sleuth Rei Shimura to Tokyo’s Kayama School of ikebana, where her aunt Norie hopes she’ll learn the ancient art of flower arrangement. Rei is so untalented in ikebana that she earns a rare public reproof from her teacher, Sakura Soto, and an even rarer public defense from Norie. But she hardly has time to join Norie’s plans to apologize by presenting Sakura-san with a pair of scissors before the scissors, 15 minutes after Norie brings them into the school, are found embedded in the teacher’s neck. Gravely courteous Lt. Hata, of the Metropolitan Police, clearly thinks Norie is the prime suspect, but as he’s murmuring noncommital pleasantries to her, Rei is already wondering about the alternatives. What about Natsumi Kayama, the spoiled heiress of the wealthy school, or her twin Takeo, who can’t decide whether he wants to make romantic overtures to Rei or accuse her of stealing his family’s ceramics? What about Mari Kumamori, the Korean student whose pottery Sakura-san had smashed? What about Che Fujisawa, the head of Stop Killing Flowers, who argued that Japan’s demand for fresh flowers endangered thousands of Colombian workers who came into contact with dangerous pesticides? Massey not only fleshes out each of these subplots but weaves them together to illuminate conflicts of old and new in Japanese manners, morals, family, and love. (Author tour)

Pub Date: April 21st, 1999
ISBN: 0-06-019228-3
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1999


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