An arsonist destroys a cottage in the grounds of the Black Lotus Temple, killing three sect members. Samurai detective Sano Ichiro blames a delinquent orphan girl found fleeing the scene, until his wife, Reiko, becomes suspicious about the regular disappearance of newcomers to the sect.
Someone has set fire to a cottage on the premises of the prestigious Black Lotus Temple in 1691, Japan, killing three sect members. Veteran samurai - detective Sano Ichiro, the Most Honourable Investigator of Events, Situations and People, is uncharacteristically quick to blame a delinquent orphan-girl found fleeing the scene. But his young wife, Reiko, has different ideas. After hearing rumours of ill doings within the sect, and using information privy only to a woman of the samurai class, Reiko finds that newcomers to the Black Lotus are mysteriously disappearing almost as quickly as the sect can convert them. Unfortunately for the orphan and all who have disappeared in the name of the Black Lotus, no one will believe Reiko. If only she can convince her husband before he condemns an innocent to burn at the stake...This is the latest in a smashingly-received and best-selling series starring Sano Ichiro. Now, since the introduction of his winsomely take-charge wife, the series, set in the luscious finery of the samurai court of medieval Japan, has won an enormous following.