Samurai Sano Ichiro and his wife Reiko, are hot on the heels of a mysterious courtesan in bestselling novelist Laura Joh Rowland's latest historical thriller. In the carefully ordered world of 17th century Japan, the Yoshiwara pleasure quarter is home to women who have been sold to brothels as punishment for their crimes. It is here that the shogun's dashing young cousin and heir apparent is found dead – stabbed through the eye with a long hairpin – in the bed of a beautiful courtesan named Lady Wisteria. When both Lady Wisteria and her private journal – or pillow book – turn up missing, Sano Ichiro, the shogun's Most Honourable Investigator of Events, Situations and People, is called upon to solve the crime and find the lady, a job that is complicated slightly by the fact that Sano had a brief affair with her some years ago. Against his better judgement Sano accepts the help of his fiery, young wife, Reiko, in exploring the surprisingly dangerous world of the pleasure quarter as he seeks to unmask a killer.