Saturday, April 9, 2011
A great series . . . deserving a far greater following
Not noir. Nothing hardboiled about it.
No, this series is about as far from the dark alleys and back streets of a modern big city as you can get. You have to go back about 1,800 years to a land far, far away. Pre-samurai medieval Japan in the 8th century.
I.J. Parker writes a wonderful historical detective series. She writes about Sugwara Akitada--a young, middle-level Japanese government official with an interest in solving complex crimes. Specifically solving complex murder cases. And each case is fascinating. A blend of wonderful Oriental history, fine portraits of people facing terrible fates, a fascinating sense of looking through the lens of a time machine back to a place long forgotten.
Wonderful books. Great reads. She has a following of devout readers who can't wait for the next book to come out. But . . . . strangely . . . mainstream mystery fans don't know her. And the question is . . .
Why does a wonderful talent like this go so mysteriously unnoticed? Why isn't she as well known a dozen or more writers we could name off in seconds. I'm confused. Saddened. As a writer I often stand back and just marvel at the talent so many others have. Talent that makes my limited efforts so amateurish in comparison. Yet here she is. As good as the best. And better, in fact, that some of those better known.
Maybe it's Fate. A bad case of Karma. The gods throwing the dice of fame for her and coming up empty handed. Whatever it is I hope it changes. She deserves better.