Sunday, August 14, 2016

Bookish Thoughts: The Ninja's Daughter by Susan Spann

Knocking echoed through the silent house. ~ Opening of The Ninja's Daughter



The Ninja's Daughter (Shinobi Mystery #4) by Susan Spann
Seventh Street Books, 2016
Crime Fiction (Historical), 230 pgs

The year is 1565, and the political wind in Kyoto is shifting after the recent death of the shogun. Tensions are high and a possible war is on the horizon. An apprentice to a local merchant arrives on the Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo's doorstep early one morning much to Hiro Hattori's chagrin. A girl has been murdered on the banks of the Kamo River. Hiro, a shinobi (ninja) charged with protecting the foreign priest, disguised as a ronin (masterless samurai), takes his job very seriously, and so when Father Mateo decides he will look into the matter despite Hiro's reservations, Hiro knows he must go along. Soon, both men have reasons to start their own investigation, even as they face the wrath of a corrupt Kyoto police force intent on halting the investigation.

The Ninja's Daughter is my first novel by Susan Spann, but it certainly won't be my last. Although fourth in the series, The Ninja's Daughter stands well on its own as a mystery. I admit I am very curious as to how Father Mateo and Hiro's relationship came about and about their previous adventures together. Both are such intriguing characters from Hiro's loyalty and strong sense of justice to Father Mateo's thoughtfulness and caring ways. I also grew quite fond of Ana, the housekeeper, and, of course, Gato, Hiro's cat. I would like to have spent more time getting to know Ana as well as Luis, the Portuguese merchant living with Hiro and Father Mateo--but perhaps I will in earlier books.

Author Susan Spann does not waste words in her novel. This isn't a novel you will find full of description nor much set-up in terms of the setting and time period, and yet, she skillfully creates an image of the time and place the book is set in as well that of her characters. The hierarchy and roles of people and castes, particularly that of the acting guilds, is explained so naturally. It helps too that the priest is a foreigner, new to such ways just as many of us readers might be. I felt like I was right there in the pages of the novel. You get a real sense for who the characters are, and I really appreciated that about this novel.

The Ninja's Daughter is a traditional mystery in many ways, with the protagonists asking questions and putting together the clues they find in hopes of finding out who did what. The deeper they dig, the more they uncover, including that almost everyone seems to be keeping secrets. There is some action, but it is a relatively quiet novel, with some tense moments. Even so, this is a quick read, and it was hard to set the book aside when I was forced to. It's quite a compelling read, and if you are a mystery reader who enjoys historical mysteries, I highly recommend this one.


To learn more about Susan Spann and her work, please visit the author's websiteShe can also be found on Goodreads and Twitter.


I hope you will check out what others had to say about June on the TLC Book Tours route!







Many thanks to the TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to be a part of this book tour.  Review copy provided by publisher for an honest review.



© 2016, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

22 comments:

  1. This sounds so interesting. I expected this to be heavy and dull, so I'm glad to see that isn't the case.

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    1. Christy - I really wasn't sure what to expect going in, but I enjoyed this one quite a bit. It isn't high in action or even suspense, but the mystery is good and the characters worth getting to know.

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  2. I like spare writing and mysteries but I'm not sure about the time period. I'm glad to see you enjoyed it so much.

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    1. Kathy - The time period isn't overbearing at all, Kathy. You might be okay with this one.

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  3. This sounds interesting! This one was on my radar but not my TBR because while I love a historical mystery I tend not to be drawn to settings that are THAT historical. I do like the sound of the writing and how the tension was done. I think I'll have to add this to my TBR! Thanks for changing my mind!

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    1. Katherine - I've been curious about this series for awhile and am glad I finally had an excuse to jump in and give it a try. Not that I needed an excuse--but tours sometimes can motivate me to make the jump. I don't generally read historical fiction set back this far either, but it didn't feel like it was terribly long ago, if that makes sense. This was written in such an approachable way.

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  4. What I thought was quite a spooky cover, this one otherwise really appeals to me.

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    1. Tracy - In a certain light, I can see how the cover could seem spooky. I really like it. I think it fits well with the book--the mask being something an actor would wear. :-)

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  5. Love the title! I have only read a few books set in that time period in Japan, which is another draw. Great review!

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    1. Lark - The title drew me in too. :-) I enjoyed this one quite a bit.

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  6. This sounds intriguing! That cover alone is enough to catch my attention. :)

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    1. Melody - I really like the cover too. I am glad I decided to read this one. Now I have another series to catch up on. Haha

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  7. Ah great review Wendy! What a unique setting - medieval Japan with Christian missionaries. I love when authors don't get too verbose with descriptions of places and people but still manage to capture the setting well!

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    1. Nina - Thank you! It's definitely a new to me setting and I love the two protagonists--how different they are, both personality wise and culturally.

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  8. Love the kabuki mask on the cover and the title. Had already added this one to my list from your previous mentions, but am even more eager to read it now.

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    1. Jenclair - I hope you do enjoy this one if you read it. Maybe start with the first one if you get the chance.

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  9. This really sounds like a series worth checking out! I love historicals and must add it to my list. Great review!

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    1. Iliana - I love historical mysteries too. :-) I hope you do give this a try and enjoy it!

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  10. I'm glad you enjoyed this latest in the series! Thanks for being a part of the tour.

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    1. Heather - I am glad I could be a part of the tour!

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