The Ninja's Daughter
Review: Father Mateo Ávila de Santos, a Portuguese priest living in mid-16th century Kyoto and his bodyguard Hattori Hiro are awakened by a young man, who fears he may have killed a young woman on the banks of a local river, in The Ninja's Daughter, the fourth mystery in this series by Susan Spann.
Jiro, a merchant's apprentice, was secretly meeting Emi, the daughter of an actor, after dark and fell asleep sometime during the night. He awoke to find Emi strangled, a gold coin on her chest. Not remembering, but also not believing, he could have killed her, he rushed to Father Mateo for advice. Father Mateo and Hiro visit the scene, only to find samurai disinterested in the young woman's death. She was of a class that was of no importance to the government, which itself is in turmoil after the death of the local shogun. Emi's family take her body away in shame, but, to the dismay of Hiro, Father Mateo seems unusually concerned about the hows and whys surrounding her death. Explicitly warned against investigating Emi's death, which is not considered a crime anyway, Father Mateo and Hiro do exactly that, determined to unmask a killer.
There is a lot of subtle, nuanced complexity present in The Ninja's Daughter, from the crime itself to the political situation through which Father Mateo and Hiro must carefully navigate. Even so, it is quick reading as the plot moves along briskly with the investigating duo traveling throughout Kyoto interviewing family members, friends, and potential suspects in Emi's murder. Misdirection as to whodunit is handled in an adept manner, and while the culprit, in hindsight, isn't surprising it comes as a surprise nonetheless. This is a very strong, most enjoyable entry in this historical series.
Acknowledgment: Seventh Street Books provided an ARC of The Ninja's Daughter for this review.
Review Copyright © 2016 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in The Ninja's Daughter: Kyoto, Japan
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The Ninja's Daughter by Susan Spann — A Shinobi Mystery
Publisher: Seventh Street Books
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: August 2016
List Price: $15.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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