"Shinju" is a type of ritual suicide that star-crossed lovers practiced in Shogun-era Japan. Appropriately, this novel starts with a double-murder disguised as shinju: a noblewoman and a commoner artist are found in the river, bound together, with a suicide pact letter on the artist's person. Yoriki Sano Ichiro (a yoriki is something like a police constable) goes against his superior's orders and investigates the supposed shinju as a murder. During the course of his investigation, he uncovers numerous scandals for which the alleged shinju was either a diversion or a coverup.Entertaining novel with some sensitive scenes concerning human anatomy and sexuality. Well worth reading if one has previously enjoyed books like Shogun or Samurai 1 Kastel Awan Burung Gereja.