August 2, 2016/ ISBN 978-1633881815
Thriller & Suspense / International Mystery
by Rick Morelli
The latest installment of the Shinobi mysteries by Susan Spann,
The Ninja's Daughter, finds the intrepid ninja Detective Hattori
navigating 16th century Kyoto's theater guilds and changing
political landscape to solve a murder that the authorities
and the victim's family do not want to be solved. Teamed with
Father Mateo, the Portuguese priest and Hattori's partner,
the two apply their different skills, investigatory styles
and their respective different cultural backgrounds to uncover
the reasons and background to the murder. This sets up how
different the European way of thinking sharply contrasted
the Japanese samurai approach to looking at the world.
What I liked about this story was the detailed descriptions
of Japanese life in late 16th century, when the Portuguese
trading activity was at its peak. The author did a great job
in revealing that tensions were becoming more open between
the Portuguese and the Japanese warlords – a precursor
to the ousting of the Portuguese from Japan.
Political corruption was also rampant in the Kyoto police,
which created obstacles in solving the crime for Hattori and
Father Mateo. On the other hand, their investigations introduce
us to the mysterious world of Japanese theater and its important
role in Japanese life.
What I enjoyed most was that the author took me on a journey
back in time to the mysterious and distant world of Shogun
Japan, and I was struck by the exotic aspects of 16th century
Japanese life and mores.
Note: Susan is the 2015 Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers' Writer
of the Year, a former president of the Northern California chapter
of Mystery Writers of America, and a member of Sisters in Crime,
the Historical Novel Society, and the Rocky Mountain Fiction
Writers' Association. Her first Shinobi mystery novel, Claws
of the Cat (Minotaur Books, 2013), was a Library Journal Mystery
Debut of the Month and a finalist for the Silver Falchion Award
for Best First Novel.