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The Bride's Kimono    by Sujata Massey order for
Bride's Kimono
by Sujata Massey
Order:  USA  Can
Avon, 2002 (2001)
Hardcover, Paperback

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* * *   Reviewed by G. Hall

This fifth book by Sujata Massey is a very enjoyable addition to her Rei Shimura series. Rei is a Japanese-American woman living in Japan. Speaking the language fluently (although she cannot read Japanese characters) allows her to function well in the society, while still bringing an interesting outsider's perspective. Over the series, Massey has given readers a fascinating look at different aspects of Japanese life, from Zen Buddhism to flower-arranging, to comic books, and to the illicit trade in Japanese antiquities.

Being bi-cultural (like the author herself who is of German and Asian Indian parentage) brings an interesting tension to Rei's life, since she is torn between her new Japanese existence and her US homeland. In this latest book, Rei leaves Japan as the escort accompanying several valuable kimonos to a US Asia Art museum in Washington, DC, where she is scheduled to lecture on them. Once on US soil again, Rei finds herself almost an outsider in her old homeland, seeing clearly the differences between the two societies.

Trouble arises almost immediately when one of the kimonos in Rei's care is stolen. Then a woman (from the tour with which she has travelled) is murdered. This being a mystery, Rei shortly becomes the main suspect and must clear her name. Doing this takes her from the antique textile world to eBay and provides a well-plotted mystery.

To make matters more complicated, Rei runs into Hugh Glendenning, her Scottish lover from the first two books. Hugh now works as a lawyer in Washington and is on the museum's board of directors. His return is a welcome addition to the series, since Rei has been in a rather perfunctory relationship with a wealthy young Japanese man. Now she is torn between the two men and the two cultures and must make a choice about where her future lies.

The Bride's Kimono is a definite improvement over the fourth book in the series, The Floating Girl. I found the latter's comic book industry background not nearly as interesting as the antique textiles featured this time. Readers will welcome this new book and look forward to discovering how Rei will decide her future.

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