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Trial on Mount Koya (2018)

by Susan Spann

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Shinobi Mystery (6)

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1531,135,543 (4)1
Master ninja Hiro Hattori and Jesuit Father Mateo head up to Mount Koya, only to find themselves embroiled in yet another mystery, this time in a Shingon Buddhist temple atop one of Japan's most sacred peaks. November, 1565: Master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo travel to a Buddhist temple at the summit of Mount Koya, carrying a secret message for an Iga spy posing as a priest on the sacred mountain. When a snowstorm strikes the peak, a killer begins murdering the temple's priests and posing them as Buddhist judges of the afterlife--the Kings of Hell. Hiro and Father Mateo must unravel the mystery before the remaining priests--including Father Mateo--become unwilling members of the killer's grisly council of the dead.… (more)
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“Small-minded men had large opinions that left no mental room for any ideas but their own.”

The plot really good, I have a hard time to guess the culprit. Interesting result too.
I've really enjoyed this series, looking forward to the next installment. ( )
  ilnsgr | Aug 9, 2020 |
Hiro Hattori and Father Mateo have climbed to the temple of the Shingon Buddhist Temple on Mount Koya as the weather starts to turn for the worse. They are there so Hiro can deliver a message to a warrior priest from his clan so he can warn other agents of the trouble brewing in the country as they await the appointment of a new Shogun. They expect it to be a simple, restful visit but as is often the case with these two, life does not offer what they expect.

Soon the priests of the temple are being murdered in a symbolic manner that concerns Hiro as he feels that Father Mateo will soon be the next on the list and he is sworn to protect him. They must work to figure out who is doing the killings – one of the priests? a visiting pilgrim who is not what he seems? a female samurai who presence is also questionable? Someone is on a killing spree and they are all stuck on the mountain due to a snow storm.

I believe this is my fifth adventure with these two characters so they are quite familiar. Each year I very much look forward to my foray into 16th century Japan with Hiro Hattori, Father Matteo, Ana and Gato. It’s like catching up with old friends – but in a different century and people die. There is a certain comfort in the familiarity of a series like this; you know the characters and you can’t wait to “go out” with them again. Ms. Spann does not disappoint with this latest installment. The location is exotic, the mystery twisty and the banter between the two men is entertaining.

There was a bit less fighting for Hiro in this tale and bit more reflection. I think it was good for him as he did suffer a deep loss in the preceding book. He needed a bit of a kick in the pants to remind him that life goes on despite great sorrow. I shall very much look forward to next year’s journey for these two. ( )
  BooksCooksLooks | Aug 6, 2018 |
I had already enjoyed 3 titles from this wonderful series – Blade of the Samurai (#2), The Ninja’s Daughter (#4) and Betrayal at Iga (#5) – and was delighted to hear Spann’s latest offering, Trial on Mount Koya features the classic whodunnit locked-room mystery structure in ‘a homage to Agatha’.

In the last novel, Spann introduced readers to the secluded forest setting and mountain village that was Hiro Hattori’s birthplace. We also learned of people from his childhood to whom this samurai had given his heart. Now add an arduous trek up Mount Koya with a secret message and a cat-box, a snowstorm that traps Hiro and Jesuit Mateo in a temple of zealous and suspicious Shingon priests, and then a group of women seeking shelter, and you have a tinderbox ready to combust. Read full review >> ( )
  BookloverBookReviews | Jul 30, 2018 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Susan Spannprimary authorall editionscalculated
Sommer-Lecht, NicoleCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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For Christopher, the graduate.

Now and always, I am proud of you.
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"I question your judgement, Hiro,"
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Master ninja Hiro Hattori and Jesuit Father Mateo head up to Mount Koya, only to find themselves embroiled in yet another mystery, this time in a Shingon Buddhist temple atop one of Japan's most sacred peaks. November, 1565: Master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo travel to a Buddhist temple at the summit of Mount Koya, carrying a secret message for an Iga spy posing as a priest on the sacred mountain. When a snowstorm strikes the peak, a killer begins murdering the temple's priests and posing them as Buddhist judges of the afterlife--the Kings of Hell. Hiro and Father Mateo must unravel the mystery before the remaining priests--including Father Mateo--become unwilling members of the killer's grisly council of the dead.

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