Flask of the Drunken Master

Susan Spann’s Shinobi Mystery series is great fun.  I love that it locates me firmly in a place and time in history that I know little about.  What’s even better is that it does this in a way that keeps a pretty puzzle and interesting people at the heart of the story.

In this particular book, Hiro and Father Mateo must prove the innocence of a brewer they know (Hiro owes him a favor) before the man is punished for murdering a competitor.  It’s a complicated little problem, set in a destabilized Kyoto (a situation which brings its own complexities), and the strain of navigating these troubling waters reveals some fault lines–or at least pressure points–in Hiro and Father Mateo’s relationship.  The descriptions are rich, the writing well-done.  It was a great pleasure to read, and I’ll be picking up Susan Spann’s next book when I can.