Author: Susan Spann
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Part of a Series:Shinobi Mystery #3 (Claws of the Cat and Blade of the Samurai are prequels)
Type of book: Japan, mystery, 16th century, murder, Shinobi, hidden identity, underestimation, 1565, connections, missing person, risk of poverty, Kyoto
Year it was published: 2015
Master ninja Hiro Hattori and his companion Father Mateo are once again pulled into a murder investigation when a rival artisan turns up dead outside of their friend Ginjiro’s sake brewery. They must find the killer before the magistrate executes Ginjiro, seizes the brewery, and renders his family destitute. All the evidence implicates the brewer, yet with Kyoto on alert in the wake of the shogun’s recent death, Ginjiro’s is not the only life at risk.
As tensions rise, Hiro investigates a missing merchant, a vicious debt collector, a moneylender and the victim’s spendthrift son. But when a drunken Buddhist monk insists on helping Hiro and Father Mateo solve the crime, the monk’s bumbling threatens to foil the investigation altogether. With time running out, Hiro once again gambles on a clandestine mission to find the truth. Except that this time, Hiro isn’t the only one with a secret mission to fulfill.
Flask of the Drunken Master is the latest entry in Susan Spann's thrilling 16th century Japanese mystery series, sure to gain new fans and please old alike.
The characters weren't fully rounded as I had hoped, but still I got tantalizing glimpses of their personalities and relationships with others. Hiro is a loyal bodyguard to Father Mateo who has a fascinating past which includes trauma and immunity to romance. Aside from that, very little is known of him. Father Mateo is a Portugese priest who lives in Japan and often makes Japanese people underestimate him. There are a few other memorable characters such as a woman who enjoys masculine pursuits and wants to be loved as well as a Buddhist priest that loves drinking and doesn't know importance of what he hears and what he doesn't.
One can't get away with evil doing
The story is in third person narrative from Hiro's point of view. The author stays with Hiro's point of view and doesn't really go to other characters. The mystery grasped me quickly and didn't really let me go until the final pages. I also liked the fact that moments of some comedy and self revelation about Hiro are revealed. I have to say that a few things that Susan Spann covered made me curious about the Shinobi, and I hope to learn more about him in the future. Most of the story is dominated by mystery and how Father Mateo and Hiro solve it, and very little is focused on character growth.
Flask of the Drunken Master Available at
Honestly I didn't mean to take such a long time with reviewing this book. Like the previous book I've read, Blade of the Samurai, its well written with an addictive mystery, and, much to mine relief, I get to learn more about Hiro, the mysterious Shinobi bodyguard of Father Mateo. There is quite a bit of progress in terms of Father Mateo adapting to Japanese culture, although he is still seen as a foreigner. I look forward to (hopefully) read more about Hiro and Father Mateo and to learn more about them. Also, in this book there is a list of characters so the reader will know who's who.
This is a late review for Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
Flask of the Drunken Master Blog Tour Schedule
4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)