Book Review: Flask of the Drunken Master by Susan Spann

Flask of the Drunken MasterFlask of the Drunken Master
A Shinobi Mystery #3
Susan Spann
Minotaur Books, July 2015
ISBN 978-1-250-02706-1

From the publisher—

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?

I first made the acquaintance of two fine gentlemen, Hiro Hattori and Father Mateo, just about a year ago when I read Blade of the Samurai and promptly fell in love with them and with their regard for each other. As private investigators in 16th-century Japan, they are very different from our contemporary sleuths and, yet, they are also much the same. What endears them to me is their relationship. Separately, they are each very intelligent and knowledgeable in their respective fields but, together, they become a true team and each one clearly cares a great deal for the other. The Portuguese Jesuit frequently blunders his way through the cultural quagmire of this foreign country and the ninja annoys the priest with his willingness to occasionally stretch the truth to reach a goal but they still look after one another as friends do.

Class distinctions are very evident in their current case with the vast separation between the Samurai and the lowest of the low. The Samurai are also embroiled in the struggle for power following the events of the previous book and this infuses the investigation into the death of a local brewer. It’s especially interesting that a theme common in today’s criminal inquiries—follow the money—is just as prominent in medieval times.

The mystery to be solved in Flask of the Drunken Master is every bit as engaging and puzzling as in the earlier book and, despite the violence that imbues the shogunate society, it will appeal to all but the most hardcore cozy reader because, in an odd manner, there’s a gentleness to it. Actually, in some ways, this series reminds me of the fellow with the “little grey cells”; Hiro and Mateo are much more likely to use their minds than their brawn.

All in all, Ms. Spann has once again offered us a corker of a story and I enjoyed every minute I spent with the priest and the ninja. I just wish I had their next adventure waiting for me to step into right now.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, July 2015.



Purchase Links:

Barnes & Noble Buy Button     Kobo Buy Button     Amazon Buy Button     Indiebound Button 2


About the Author

Susan Spann 2Susan Spann is a transactional publishing attorney and the author of the Shinobi Mysteries, featuring ninja detective Hiro Hattori and his Portuguese Jesuit sidekick, Father Mateo. Her debut novel, CLAWS OF THE CAT (Minotaur Books, 2013), was named a Library Journal Mystery Debut of the Month. Susan has a degree in Asian Studies from Tufts University, where she studied Chinese and Japanese language, history, and culture. Her hobbies include cooking, traditional archery, martial arts, and horseback riding. She lives in northern California with her husband, son, two cats, and an aquarium full of seahorses.

Connect with Susan

Website Button     Twitter Button     Facebook Button     Goodreads Button 2


Follow the tour here.


TLC Book Tours Button

7 thoughts on “Book Review: Flask of the Drunken Master by Susan Spann

  1. A murder mystery in 1565? Wow. This could be called a historical (very historical) mystery. Good review and the book sounds good both in the historical way and the mystery way.


  2. Pingback: Susan Spann, author of Flask of the Drunken Master, on tour July/August 2015 | TLC Book Tours

  3. Pingback: Be Our Guest Fridays {31}: Finding Inspiration in Japan's Exotic Past by Author Susan Spann - Mom's Small VictoriesMom's Small Victories

  4. Pingback: The Flask of the Drunken Master by Susan Spann Review & GIVEAWAY! - Mom's Small VictoriesMom's Small Victories

  5. Pingback: My Favorite Books of 2015 | Buried Under Books

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.