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TYPHOON LOVER


By Sujata Massey

Harper Collins, October, 2005 ($23.95)
ISBN: 0060765127

Reviewed by Shirley H. Wetzel

Rei Shimura has hit the big 30, and she really doesn't want any fuss made about it.Hugh Glendinning, her ex-fiance and current roommate, has other ideas. After a wild night on the town that includes a performance by Angus Glendinning and the Glaswegian Hangover, Rei drags herself to the Sackler Gallery of the Smithsonian Museum for a mysterious job interview.This being Washington, she's not terribly surprised to find the government is involved.When they make her an offer she can't refuse, she accepts, albeit with some trepidation.Due to a little misunderstanding with the Japanese authorities during her last visit, Rei has been banned from the country, but if she'll agree to do a little job that involves spying on her ex-love Takedo Kayama she'll be issued a government passport, and Japan will forgive her past sins.

All she needs to do is use her knowledge of antique ceramics to locate a priceless vessel looted from the Iraq national museum, last seen in a photo spread taken at Takeo's beach villa.Sure, she and Takeo, now headmaster of an ikebana school, parted badly, but she'll find a way to win him over.Or not. When she attends an antiques auction in Tokyo planning to "accidentally" run into him, she finds that he is engaged to a girl just out of high school, and has no interest in renewing old acquaintances.She is shocked to learn this is an arranged marriage; she is disappointed to realize that Takedo is more interested in the girl's father's position as Japanese Minister of the Environment than in his child bride.

When a deadly typhoon looms over the Japanese coast, Rei decides that it's the perfect time to travel to Takedo's seaside home and look for the vessel. Nobody in his or her right mind would go there at such a time - for good reason, as she soon finds out.Things turn out much differently than she'd planned, and her life gets even more complicated before all is said and done.

This is another excellent book in the series. Massey writes beautifully, and her descriptions of the settings, in Washington and Japan, are vivid.When Rei tackles the typhoon, the reader might feel a need for a life jacket. The characters continue to be interesting and believable, and I care about what happens next with Rei and her friends and lovers.

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