Sujata Massey taught English in Japan for several years. She used her experiences to create the delightful Rei Shimura mystery series.
Novels by Sujata Massey
Rei Shimura series:
- The Salaryman’s Wife (1997) –review
- Zen Attitude (1998)
- The Flower Master (1999)
- The Floating Girl (2000)
- The Bride’s Kimono (2001)
- The Samurai’s Daughter (2003)
- The Pearl Diver (2004) – reviewed below
- The Typhoon Lover (2005)
- Girl in a Box (2006)
- Shimura Trouble (2008)
- The Kizuna Coast (December 2014)
Daughters of Bengal:
The Sleeping Dictionary
The Perveen Mistry Investigations
The Widows of Malabar Hill (2018) (historical mystery)
The Pearl Diver* by Sujata Massey
Rei Shimura has been banned from Japan and is now living in Washington D.C. with her boyfriend Hugh. When her cousin is kidnapped, Rei leaps into action to find her. One thing leads to another and soon she’s also trying to find a Japanese woman who disappeared many years earlier. Are the two cases linked?
Although the novel is no longer set in Japan like the first novel, I still like how Massey works in details of Japanese culture, especially Japanese antiques, food (bento boxes), and pearl diving. The new setting is also concrete and detailed. Massey has a fine touch with setting.
The plot is rich, with many well-developed characters. The front matter includes a “Cast of Characters” list with snippets about a dozen of the more prominent characters. Character lists are always handy references, but aren’t necessary to enjoy this book. Unlike some other novels, the author does a good job of introducing new people so that it is easy to remember who they are.
Compared to her debut novel, which had a few bumps, this one is well done. I particularly liked the ending, which I won’t reveal.
I want to read more of the novels in this series.
Sujata Massey Author Post
Because I have been reading a lot of mysteries, I’ve been trying to come up with a better system to keep track of what I’ve read. I thought the blog would help, which it does, but I don’t always review everything I’ve read. To get more organized I’m going to try to create an author post for each author with lists of novels. I will update later by linking to newer reviews and marking books as read .
I’ve struggled with the same thing – trying to keep track of what I have and haven’t read – for ages. In the late 1970s, I used to go to the county library every Monday and get a whole grocery bag of books for the three of us, and I had a much-folded piece of notebook paper with a list of authors & books I’d read in teeny tiny handwriting. For the past few years I’ve used a page or three in my bullet journal – I just list the author, title, and date finished, with a hollow circle for currently reading, filled-in circle for finished, and hollow circle with a line through it for books I quit. It’s not ideal because I have a new journal every year, so sometimes I have to dig through a few volumes to find something, but it definitely helps me remember authors I’ve liked & avoid re-buying books I’ve already read.
Lke the idea of notebooks. I know some people use Excel spreadsheets, but that seems too bulky. We’ll see how this goes.