Monday 6 May 2019


A couple from a new-to-me American author - Susan Spann and a bit of 16th century Japanese mystery.

Susan Spann has written seven novels so far in her Shinobi mystery series, plus a work of non-fiction.

These are a bit of a departure from my usual reading tastes and a step out of my comfort zone, but I'm looking forward to them when time allows.

Shinobi Mystery
1. Claws of the Cat (2013)
2. Blade of the Samurai (2014)
3. Flask of the Drunken Master (2015)
4. The Ninja's Daughter (2016)
5. Betrayal at Iga (2017)
6. Trial on Mount Koya (2018)
7. Ghost of the Bamboo Road (2019)

She has her website here.

The Ninja's Daughter (2016)

Autumn, 1565: When an actor's daughter is murdered on the banks of Kyoto's Kamo River, master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo are the victim's only hope for justice. As political tensions rise in the wake of the shogun's recent death, and rival warlords threaten war, the Kyoto police forbid an investigation of the killing, to keep the peace--but Hiro has a personal connection to the girl, and must avenge her. The secret investigation leads Hiro and Father Mateo deep into the exclusive world of Kyoto's theater guilds, where they quickly learn that nothing, and no one, is as it seems. With only a mysterious golden coin to guide them, the investigators uncover a forbidden love affair, a missing mask, and a dangerous link to corruption within the Kyoto police department that leaves Hiro and Father Mateo running for their lives.

Betrayal at Iga (2017)

Autumn, 1565: After fleeing Kyoto, master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo take refuge with Hiro's ninja clan in the mountains of Iga province. But when an ambassador from the rival Koga clan is murdered during peace negotiations, Hiro and Father Mateo must find the killer in time to prevent a war between the ninja clans. With every suspect a trained assassin, and the evidence incriminating not only Hiro's commander, the infamous ninja Hattori Hanzo, but also Hiro's mother and his former lover, the detectives must struggle to find the truth in a village where deceit is a cultivated art. As tensions rise, the killer strikes again, and Hiro finds himself forced to choose between his family and his honor.


  1. I do like a good historical novel, Col. And the plots of these sound interesting, too. I admit I'm not familiar with her work, but I could see myself trying these. I'll be interested in what you think.

    1. Margot, I'm glad these interest you, I was hoping they might.

  2. My wife has been pressuring me for years to read a different series of historical mysteries set in Japan, by Laura Joh Rowland, but I haven't got round to it yet. I know she's finished the Rowland series, even reading some of them twice, so I'll pass on the info about Spann's series to her.

    1. I hope she enjoys these if she gives them a go. I think the first is being re-issued by Seventh Street, though I don't think the originals are that hard to find.

  3. I can imagine myself getting into a series set somewhere so obscure and remote (from us), if I didn't have too many other books to read. When you've read one you might persuade me.

    1. I'm curious to see how I go. It doesn't really sound like my kind of thing at all.