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Girl in a Box    by Sujata Massey order for
Girl in a Box
by Sujata Massey
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2006 (2006)

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* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Award-winning author Sujata Massey has made me happy with a new book in her Rei Shimura Mysteries Girl in a Box. In this one, Japanese-American Rei goes home to spy for a Washington, D.C. agency vaguely connected to the CIA.

Massey's background as a fashion reporter stands her in good stead here - Rei lands a job as a sales consultant for foreign customers at an exclusive Tokyo department store. The world of high fashion is a cutthroat business - and could literally become that if Rei's cover is blown. She's trying to find the skinny on what could become an international banking scandal. The situation quickly escalates into murder and Rei must run for her life.

While the action seems to take second place to the rich world of high fashion, the pace moves nicely. I found the culture of the Japanese, and that of residents of Tokyo in particular, to be fascinating. Rei is an interesting character, managing to do a highly dangerous job and yet remain an everyday thirty-something with all the joys and pitfalls of that age. She is recovering from a failed relationship but looks at her boss with new eyes. Talk about slim chances.

Girl in a Box has a twisting plot but Massey keeps it in control throughout the book. As more and more pieces fell into place, I was impressed by Massey's maneuvering to create a very readable and enjoyable novel.

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