Parker, I(ngrid) J.
PARKER, I(ngrid) J.
Born in Munich, Germany; married Anthony R. Parker; children: Karin. Education: University of Munich, B.A.; Texas Technological University, M.A., 1962; University of New Mexico, Ph.D., 1971. Hobbies and other interests: Gardening.
Professor of English and foreign languages. Writer.
Private Eye Writers of America.
Shamus Award, Private Eye Writers of America, for "Akitada's First Case" (short story).
Rashomon Gate, Minotaur (New York, NY), 2002.
The Hell Screen, Minotaur (New York, NY), 2003.
WORK IN PROGRESS:
The Masuda Affair.
I. J. Parker, a retired language professor, writes mysteries set in eleventh-century Japan and centered on Sugawara Akitada, featured in the award-winning story, "Akitada's First Case." Scion of a noble family fallen on hard times, Akitada toils as a minor official at the Ministry of Justice in Heian Kyo, Japan's one-time capital. In Rashomon Gate, Parker's debut novel, a professor at the Imperial University calls upon his former student Akitada to unravel a blackmail plot and save the University from a cheating scandal. Akitada decides to go undercover, assuming the identity of a lecturer, and is soon immersed in a world of petty intrigues and gossip. His investigations take a more serious turn when a professor and then a young woman are murdered, and a student draws Akitada into his own search for his missing, possibly murdered, grandfather, a delicate matter since the emperor has ruled the old man's disappearance a "miracle." "The story moves slowly and seems overlong … but the characters feel genuine, as does the unusual setting," wrote Booklist reviewer Carrie Bissey. "Akitada, impetuous, passionate and intelligent, is aided by a scampish servant, Tora, and an elderly, resourceful retainer, Seimei. Readers should welcome further tales about the trio," concluded a Publishers Weekly reviewer.
Sugawara Akitada returns in The Hell Screen. On his way to visit his mother, Akitada stops in a monastery for the night, only to be awakened by a woman's scream. He later learns that a woman was supposedly murdered by her lover in the monastery, and he decides to investigate when he realizes that it was her scream that awoke him. A Publishers Weekly reviewer wrote, "Readers will be enchanted by Akitada, an honorable sleuth who proves more progressive than his time."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, July, 2002, Carrie Bissey, review of Rashomon Gate, p. 1827; August, 2003, Margaret Flanagan, review of The Hell Screen, p. 1962.
Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 2003, review of The Hell Screen, p. 837.
Library Journal, July, 2003, Rex Klett, review of The Hell Screen, p. 128.
Publishers Weekly, June 17, 2002, review of Rashomon Gate, p. 46; July 21, 2003, review of The Hell Screen, p. 177.