Samurai Mystery Series, No. 3

By Dale Furutani
William Marrow / HarperCollins
September 2000
ISBN: 06888158196 - Hardcover

Reviewed by: Brenda Weeaks, MyShelf.Com
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Dale Furutani’s third Samurai mystery has arrived.

It’s 1603, the year of the rabbit, and Tokugawa Ieyasu is the new Shogun and ruler of Japan. The new Shogun is out hawk hunting with his companions. The three men are unaware that they are being stalked, and although their hunt remains unscathed from the observation, their future isn’t. The reader will be aware of an assassination attempt. Who, what, and where is the mystery that needs to be solved.

Ieyasu has been Shogun for less than a year and ruler of the Edo area for thirteen years. His people have been in a mood of celebration since he became Japan’s ruler. In the midst of this celebration, a murder occurs. Once this happens, the storyline skillfully takes off and suspects are introduced in an impressive, shadowy style, keeping the reader successfully in the dark until the end.

Kaze, the wandering Samurai, has come to Edo to find his Lady’s nine-year-old daughter, who may have been taken to a local prostitution house. Once there he does his best, in his eating and behavior, to hide that he is a Samurai, so as not to give himself away. While looking for the child, Kaze finds himself in some unusual incidents that take his Samurai skills to escape. He reunites with some old acquaintances, makes some new ones, and finds himself in the middle of a murder plot -- as the one and only suspect.

The wandering Samurai mysteries are an inspiring addition to the historical mystery genre. Readers will experience the seamless collaboration of Japan’s history with a compelling, action packed mystery. Kill the Shogun is an easy read full of unforgettable characters. The theme is far from cozy and I don’t recommend it for younger audiences. Mr. Furutani mentions in the Author’s Notes that, although this is the third volume in a trilogy, it is meant to meld together as one narrative. Each Samurai mystery can be read as a stand-alone mystery.

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