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Connecticut River Valley, New England, United States

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Murder in Medieval Japan

Blade of the Samurai (Shinobi Mystery, #2)Blade of the Samurai by Susan Spann
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A First Reads giveaway from Goodreads, this was just a delightful mystery set in 16th century Japan. The plot is interesting and the setting unfamiliar enough to keep the reader engrossed. The second in a series involving a ninja warrior and a Portuguese Jesuit priest for whom he is responsible. In this episode, a high ranking clerk of the Shogun is found murdered and Hiro and Father Mateo are requested by the Shogun to find the murderer before the arrival of Lord Oda, an enemy of the Shogun. If the murderer is not found and punished before his arrival, it is felt this will show weakness on the Shogun's part an embarrassing vulnerability.

As Hiro and Father Mateo investigate the number of suspects increases and shifts from one to another, leaving them confused and stressed. Hiro is particularly uneasy for the evidence appears to incriminate his fellow ninja and close friend, Kazu. As the bodies pile up and Lord Oda draws near a plan to destroy the Shogun seems to be at the root of the mystery. Unraveling the clues while absorbing the mores and behaviors of the people of a different culture made this an enjoyable read. So much so that I immediately, upon finishing the book, went to Amazon and ordered the first book in the series, Claws of the Cat. While Blade is a stand alone story, I just wanted to learn the background of Hiro and how he came to be in charge of the protection of a Catholic priest in Kyoto.

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