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Shinobi Mysteries (Book 3)

The morning starts out regular enough as Hiro and Father Mateo make their way for their favorite noodle vendor, but the day takes a turn when they witness Ginjiro the brewer being arrested for murder.

A fellow brewer has been found dead in Ginjiro’s alley, apparently beaten with one of Ginjiro’s own flasks. Just hours before, patrons at Ginjiro’s brewery witnessed the two of them arguing and overheard Ginjiro threaten the dead man. With such damning evidence, Ginjiro’s guilt is the simplest conclusion. But Hiro and Father Mateo aren’t so certain. The two are given just a few days to try and find the real killer before Ginjiro is put to trial and almost certainly hanged, but will it be enough time to prove their friend’s innocence?

Susan Spann’s Shinobi series is an excellent blend of history and mystery. With feudal Japan as the backdrop, Spann explores the intricacies and politics of the era, weaving those details into well-conceived plots of murder and more.

Though Flask is technically the third in the series, it does stand quite well on its own. There are a few mentions of previous investigations on the part of our heroes, but nothing that would ruin Claws of the Cat or Blade of the Samurai should you decide to go back to those later.

7/15 Becky LeJeune

FLASK OF THE DRUNKEN MASTER by Susan Spann. Minotaur Books (July 14, 2015).  ISBN 978-1250027061. 304p.

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