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Flask of the Drunken Master (2015)

by Susan Spann

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Shinobi Mystery (3)

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203900,146 (4)1
"August 1565: When a rival artisan turns up dead outside Ginjiro's brewery, and all the evidence implicates the brewer, master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo must find the killer before the magistrate executes Ginjiro and seizes the brewery, leaving his wife and daughter destitute. A missing merchant, a vicious debt collector, and a female moneylender join Ginjiro and the victim's spendthrift son on the suspect list. But with Kyoto on alert in the wake of the shogun's recent death, a rival shinobi on the prowl, and samurai threatening Hiro and Father Mateo at every turn, Ginjiro's life is not the only one in danger. Will Hiro and Father Mateo unravel the clues in time to save Ginjiro's life, or will the shadows gathering over Kyoto consume the detectives as well as the brewer? Flask of the Drunken Master is the latest entry in Susan Spann's thrilling 16th century Japanese mystery series, featuring ninja detective Hiro Hattori and Jesuit Father Mateo"--… (more)
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Showing 3 of 3
“but murders turn on evidence, not belief.”

I enjoy this book very much. I like this series. ( )
  ilnsgr | Aug 9, 2020 |
Flask of the Drunken Master is the third book in the Shinobi Mystery series. It takes place in 16th Century Japan and our main characters are a Jesuit priest and a Shinobi (ninja) as his bodyguard disguised as his interpreter. I really enjoyed this book and it is the first one I’ve read that takes place during that time frame in Japan. It was fun following a Jesuit priest around feudal Kyoto. The Shinobi a trained assassin, knows protocols and his internal dialog can be enlightening as well as entertaining. I think I would classify this in the realm of cozy mysteries.

Hiro and Father Mateo are walking through Kyoto one morning when they see a commotion. There appears to be something going on in front of Ginjiro’s shop. Turns out there is a dead guy in the back. Ginjiro is a brewer and the dead man is one of his competitors. It appears to the local magistrate that Ginjiro did the deed and takes him into custody. Hiro is pretty sure the man is innocent and besides, he owes him from a favor given earlier. Father Mateo just does not like seeing injustice. So the two decide to help the investigator, whether he wants it or not, to find the truth of the matter.

Recently a death of the reigning warlord has left a power gap. The current interim governor is flexing his muscle and has samori’s all over the city, in a show of force, challenging people in the name of preventing spies and assassins. This adds a little drama to the investigation.

It is an interesting relationship between our two investigators. Hiro is a samori and as such there are just somethings not said, and many that should ‘never’ be asked. Father Mateo is a curious European and a man ernest in his vocation. This works well as an investigative duo, Hiro understands his culture, and Father Mateo can ask questions as a foreigner that would be inappropriate for a Samori. ( )
  readafew | Jul 29, 2015 |
This is the third in the Shinobi series. I didn’t have the opportunity to read the first book in the series, Claws of the Cat but I did read Blade of the Samurai. The two main characters Hiro Hattori and Father Mateo are very well drawn and I enjoy their interactions. The two of them are starting to get a reputation now for solving murders; Hiro is not sure about this since his main focus needs to be protecting Father Mateo. He has been hired to make sure that the priest stays alive.

In this volume Hiro and Father Mateo come upon Ginjiro, the sake bar owner they both know being arrested for the murder of another sake brewer. Ginjiro’s daughter asks Hiro to find the evidence that will clear her father. She is sure he is innocent. Hiro agrees because Ginjiro did him a favor when he was investigating last year. Hiro finds many people who have motive to kill the brewer – including Ginjiro – and he works slowly and methodically to find the killer.

This all happens while the city around them swirls with rumors about the new Shogun. Will he stay in power or will there be a threat to it. Samurai are on every corner asking for papers making it hard for Hiro and Father Mateo to move about – especially since Father Mateo is a foreigner.

I enjoyed the book. The relationship between the two men is very refreshing and it grows deeper with each book. The setting of feudal Japan is one not used very often and that makes it enticing. Ms. Spann brings the period to life in quiet ways. It’s not a suspenseful murder mystery but it’s one that was engaging from start to finish. ( )
  BooksCooksLooks | Jul 27, 2015 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Susan Spannprimary authorall editionscalculated
Adams, LisaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rotstein, David BaldeosinghCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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For my brother, Rob,
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"Halt!" The armored samurai stepped forward to block the bridge.
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"August 1565: When a rival artisan turns up dead outside Ginjiro's brewery, and all the evidence implicates the brewer, master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo must find the killer before the magistrate executes Ginjiro and seizes the brewery, leaving his wife and daughter destitute. A missing merchant, a vicious debt collector, and a female moneylender join Ginjiro and the victim's spendthrift son on the suspect list. But with Kyoto on alert in the wake of the shogun's recent death, a rival shinobi on the prowl, and samurai threatening Hiro and Father Mateo at every turn, Ginjiro's life is not the only one in danger. Will Hiro and Father Mateo unravel the clues in time to save Ginjiro's life, or will the shadows gathering over Kyoto consume the detectives as well as the brewer? Flask of the Drunken Master is the latest entry in Susan Spann's thrilling 16th century Japanese mystery series, featuring ninja detective Hiro Hattori and Jesuit Father Mateo"--

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"August 1565: When a rival artisan turns up dead outside Ginjiro's brewery, and all the evidence implicates the brewer, master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo must find the killer before the magistrate executes Ginjiro and seizes the brewery, leaving his wife and daughter destitute. A missing merchant, a vicious debt collector, and a female moneylender join Ginjiro and the victim's spendthrift son on the suspect list. But with Kyoto on alert in the wake of the shogun's recent death, a rival shinobi on the prowl, and samurai threatening Hiro and Father Mateo at every turn, Ginjiro's life is not the only one in danger. Will Hiro and Father Mateo unravel the clues in time to save Ginjiro's life, or will the shadows gathering over Kyoto consume the detectives as well as the brewer? Flask of the Drunken Master is the latest entry in Susan Spann's thrilling 16th century Japanese mystery series, featuring ninja detective Hiro Hattori and Jesuit Father Mateo"-- Provided by publisher.
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