Akitada is on his way to the bedside of his dying mother when bad weather forces him to take refuge in a temple whose central treasure is a brilliantly painted hell screen. Perhaps its violent imagery influences his dreams: that night he is awakened by a terrible scream. It’s only after Akitada returns to his family and a scene of domestic unhappiness and scandal that the significance of that cry becomes clear. For while he slept, a woman was murdered, and now he must find her killer, even if it means looking very close to home.

“Elegant and entertaining . . . Parker has created a wonderful protagonist in Akitada. . . . She puts us at ease in a Japan of one thousand years ago.”  –The Boston Globe
“Akitada is as rich a character as Robert Van Gulik’s intriguing detective, Judge Dee.”
 –The Dallas Morning News