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The Ninja’s Daughter
Shinobi Mystery #4
Susan Spann

publisher Seventh Street Books
August 2, 2016/ ISBN 978-1633881815
Thriller & Suspense / International Mystery

Reviewed 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.

Reviewer 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.
Reviewed 2016