Flask of the Drunken Master: A Shinobi Mystery #3 by Susan Spann
Published July 14, 2015; Minotaur Books
Genre: historical mystery, 16th century Japan
"Halt!" The armored samurai stepped forward to block the bridge. "No one crosses the Kamo River without identification. State our names and your business in Kyoto."
Hattori Hiro gestured to the Jesuit at his side. "Father Mateo Avila de Santos, a priest of the foreign god, from Portugal . I am Matsui Hiro, his interpreter and scribe."My comments: And so begins the third book in the Shinobi Mystery series, featuring Hiro, a samurai in disguise as an interpreter, whose job is to guard the Jesuit priest, Father Mateo, in Japan. The two have solved murders before, and continue to do so in this book. Hiro is the main crime solver, with Father Mateo as his sidekick or helper.
Samurai and Japanese codes of conduct are very much in the forefront, and Hiro must steer Father Mateo clear of any offence the Jesuit might make in speech, manner, or conduct while they interrogate people and make inquiries regarding the crime they are determined to solve. The two make an interesting pair of sleuths and their complimentary characters add to the interest of the novel.
The author brings Japanese history, its customs and politics, to life in this series and in this book, as we enjoy detecting from an unlikely pair of sleuths. I highly recommend it for history and mystery buffs alike.
The plot: "August 1565: When a rival artisan turns up dead outside Ginjiro’s brewery, and all the evidence implicates the brewer, master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo must find the killer before the magistrate executes Ginjiro and seizes the brewery, leaving his wife and daughter destitute....
But with Kyoto on alert in the wake of the shogun’s recent death, a rival shinobi on the prowl, and samurai threatening Hiro and Father Mateo at every turn, Ginjiro’s life is not the only one in danger." (publisher)
Thanks to TLC Book Tours and the author for a review copy of this book. For other reviews of this and other books in the mystery series, for giveaways, and author posts, visit the tour schedule.