In September of 1693, the Black Lotus Temple, spiritual center for hundreds of Buddhist nuns, monks, priests, and orphans, is burned to the ground leaving three dead and one orphan running for cover. Veteran samurai-detective Sano Ichiro, the Most Honorable Investigator of Events, Situations and People, is called on to investigate the incident. He quickly discovers that despite appearances, the victims did not die in the fire: they were brutally murdered before the fire even began.
With a triple homicide on his hands, Sano's search for a killer leads him to Haru, the orphan girl found at the scene of the crime. But Sano's wife Reiko, investigating the case against Sano's wishes, is convinced of Haru's innocence. Reiko's investigation leads her behind the walls of the Black Lotus Temple. It is within these walls that she discovers a sect involved in extortion, prostitution, and hedonistic rituals. Could one of the sect's members be the killer? Will Reiko risk her marriage to Sano in order to prove Haru's innocence?
Set in the luscious finery of the samurai court of medieval Japan, this latest installment in the best-selling series by Laura Joh Rowland, is filled with shocking surprises and suspense as readers are once again allowed access into the world of Sano Ichiro.