Jul 18, 2014

Book Review: Claws of the Cat by Susan Spann

Claws of the Cat
An unlikely pair of collaborators in 16th century Kyoto risk their lives to solve the murder of a samurai who died from claw and stab wounds in a local tea house. The fatal wounds were made by neko-te or "cat's claws," a type of weapon used mostly be female fighters. But did a female murder the samurai?

Father Mateo, a Portuguese Jesuit priest who is protected and sponsored by the shogun, and his official protector, the ninja Hiro, must prove that Mateo's convert to Christianity, the tea house entertainer Sayuri, is innocent of the crime. The son of the dead samurai threatens to kill both Mateo and Sayuri unless another person is found responsible for the murder.

An engrossing mystery in an intriguing historical setting, with likable and well developed main characters, Claws of the Cat is also an entertaining and well researched novel about the samurai, their code of conduct, and their manner of fighting. I recommend the book for those who enjoy a good mystery and are curious about the old samurai culture of Japan.

Thanks to the author for a complimentary review copy of this book. The next in the series, Blade of the Samurai, was published July 15, 2014. Here is my review.


  1. I think that it is a neat idea to have Portuguese Jesuit priest solving murders in 16th century Japan. I am glad that the characters are well developed as I think this would be a key component to making a book like this work.

  2. Brian: I neglected to point out that the ninja Hiro is the main mystery solver, with Father Mateo as a sort of side kick or foil. They work well together in this well done historical mystery.

  3. Sounds like an awesome setting. I may have to check this series out.

  4. This sounds good! I am intrigued by the historical setting and the characters from divergent cultures.

  5. I really like this one. :)


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