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The Last Tea Bowl Thief (Paperback)
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Modern-day Japan. Robin Swann’s life in Tokyo is grinding to a halt. She’s stuck in a dead-end job testing antiquities for an auction house, but her true love is poetry, not pottery. Her stalled dissertation sits on her laptop, unopened in months, and she has no one to confide in but her goldfish.
On the other side of town, Nori Okuda sells rice bowls and tea cups to Tokyo restaurants, as her family has done for generations. But with her grandmother in the hospital and the shop next door stealing their best customers, the family business is foundering. If her luck doesn’t change – and soon – everything she’s worked so hard to build will collapse around her ears.
The two women have nothing in common, until they learn that both their futures depend on possessing a cultural treasure that went missing before they were born. The past sets the stage for the hunt, while the elusive tea bowl leads Nori and Robin to secrets that make them question everything they believe. As they close in on the prize, it becomes clear that they will have to choose between seizing their dreams or righting the terrible wrong that has been poisoning the legacy of the tea bowl for centuries.
About the Author
Joenelle Patrick is a graduate of Stanford University and the Sendagaya Japanese Language Institute, and also a member of the Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and Sisters in Crime. She first moved to Tokyo in 2003, and now splits her time between San Francisco and Tokyo. Since then, she has authored four novels based in Japan, and continues to write about Japanese culture. In addition to the Only In Tokyo mystery series, she produces the monthly newsletter Japanagram, the Only In Japan blog, and the site The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had. Patrick teaches at writing workshops, appears as a panelist at Thrillerfest, and has been the keynote speaker at the Arrow Rock Writing Workshop.
A wonderful blend of history and mystery. The intrigues of Japan’s past and present combine to vivid, haunting effect.
— Laura Joh Rowland, author of "The Iris Fan"
I don’t know when I’ve been more caught up in a story. Jonelle Patrick handles the fascinating, centuries-old tale of the tea bowl with elegance and verve. Her descriptions are flawless and reveal her deep understanding of Japanese culture. A masterful achievement.
— Terry Shames, award-winning author of "An Unsettling Crime for Samuel Craddock"
An immersive page-turner, meticulously researched and perfectly plotted. Patrick has crafted a subtle, layered mystery filled with intriguing characters and masterful twists. Without question, the best book I have read all year.
— Susan Spann, author of the Hiro Hattori mysteries and "CLIMB"
Patrick’s keen eye for the telling detail reveals her great love for and knowledge of Japan. A great read!
— Liza Dalby, author of Geisha and "The Tale of Murasaki"
The Last Tea Bowl Thief is Jonelle Patrick at her finest. Hauntingly beautiful, an instant immersion into feudal, wartime and modern Japan. Returning to reality is nothing short of heartbreak.
— Melissa MacGregor, author of "The Curious Steambox Affair"
A suspenseful plot that keeps you guessing while at the same time whisking you away to another time and place with enviable ease…a pleasure to read.
— Mary Mackey, New York Times bestselling author of "The Year The Horses Came"
Full of drama, vivid characters, wit, gorgeous writing and fascinating cultural, religious and social detail…The brilliance of this novel sneaks up on you as the pieces of its puzzle come together.
— Mac Salman, 'Tokyo Authority' editor and founder of Maction Planet
The Last Tea Bowl Thief... is an engaging read of choices—and second chances—that cross the centuries.
— Mandy Bartok, Japan travel specialist, blogging at 'Uncovering Japan'