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Since publication of her first mystery, “Shinju,” 18 years ago, Laura Joh Rowland has churned out about one book a year.

A Rowland novel is like one of those old Harold Lloyd silent comedies, in which the klutzy star finds himself dangling from a building 12 stories above the street, and then a bird starts pecking his head. After piling on one impossible predicament after the next, Rowland then masterfully extricates him, until it’s time for the next nerve-wracking installment.

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