Reiko's account of her actions is anything but solid. She insists that she went undercover to Lord Mori's estate in order to investigate claims that he molested and murdered young boys. But when Sano inspects the crime scene, he finds no trace of what Reiko described. And every other witness tells a different story: Lady Mori alleges that Reiko was Lord Mori's scorned mistress and murdered him for revenge. And Lord Mori himself, speaking through a medium, claims his murder was part of Sano's plot to overthrow the shogun!
Unless Sano can prove his wife's unlikely claims, both he and Reiko—and their unborn child—face execution for treason. Sano fights desperately to save his family and his honor, as Laura Joh Rowland draws on the tradition of the classic film Rashomon to bring us a masterful tale of intrigue and treachery, in Red Chrysanthemum.
When one of the shogun's most trusted advisers is found dead, Sano is forced to honor a posthumous request for a murder investigation. Senior Elder Makino believed that his death would be the result of assassination rather than natural causes. Although he and Sano were bitter enemies, Makino knew that the incorruptible Sano would be duty-bound to oblige his final wish.
Under the watchful eyes and thinly veiled threats of both Lord Matsudaira and Chamberlain Yanagisawa, Sano moves with caution. Each is eager to implicate the other in Makino's death. Sano must discover whether the death was indeed murder, and if so, whether it was motivated by politics, love, or sex. The discovery of secret alliances, both romantic and military, further complicates matters. Sano's investigation has barely begun when violent death claims another of the shogun's favorites.
With his wife, Reiko, working undercover, Sano and his chief retainer, Hirata, must not only investigate multiple deaths, but stem the tide of an impending civil war, in Laura Joh Rowland's The Perfumed Sleeve.