Home Excerpts Ghost of the Bamboo Road by Susan Spann [Review & Excerpt]

Ghost of the Bamboo Road by Susan Spann [Review & Excerpt]

by Aleen @ Lampshade Reader

Ghost of the Bamboo Road by Susan Spann picks up after the events of the previous novel and finds Hiro and Father Mateo along with Ana their house servant, and Gato their cat, continuing their journey to Edo. Their mission this time is to find spies of Hattori Hanzo and give them messages of warning. However, as always, their plans don’t always work out and they find themselves in the midst of a mystery and murder.

 

I’ve said this once and I’ll definitely say this again. I totally ship the Hiro and Father Mateo duo and there HAS to be a TV series made (a la Poirot) about this series. They have the banter, the uniqueness of their characters, a spunky house keeper, and a cat that somehow inadvertently helps with their mysteries. Not to mention that Father Mateo is totally allergic to said cat. It’s the perfect storm for a live action series.

 

Anyways, I feel sorry for Hiro (even though he would hate me feeling this way), but all he wants is to move along and mind his own business. But a murder/mystery HAS to happen around him and because one of his own is accused of theft he is honor bound to prove their innocence and stick around the strange village and solve their mysteries as well.

 

This village had me cringing. All of the inhabitants were crazy and quirky. But the author did a good job incorporating the Japanese’s superstitious beliefs about ghosts, and wove the story around it. When multiple mysterious deaths occur, a vengeful spirit is blamed, but Hiro, being the sensible one will prove that a human is committing the murders not a ghost.

This is the perfect winter type mystery because of the setting. Snowy village with cold mountains, I could feel the atmosphere. Susan Spann has the ability to transport the reader to feudal Japan every time, with each new setting it’s like we’re also journeying to every landmark, village, and city, along with Hiro and Father Mateo. Can’t wait for their new adventures.

 

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

Ghost of the Bamboo Road

Ghost of the Bamboo Road by Susan Spann [Review & Excerpt]
by Susan Spann
Published by Seventh Street Books
on November 12th, 2019
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery
Pages: 272
Format: Print
Source: Publisher
Purchase: Amazon
Rating: 5 Stars

Goodreads

Blurb:

When a vengeful spirit terrorizes a mountain village, a ninja and a Jesuit must save the villagers from the phantom’s wrath.

January 1566: En route to Edo, Master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo spend the night in a rural mountain village whose inhabitants live in terror of a legendary vengeful ghost. When the innkeeper's wife is murdered and Father Mateo’s housekeeper, Ana, is blamed for a crime she did not commit, Hiro and Father Mateo are forced to investigate and reveal the truth. But when another woman turns up murdered in the snow, the detectives must face the shocking truth that the vengeful yurei the villagers fear might be more than just a legend after all.

When a vengeful spirit terrorizes a mountain village, a ninja and a Jesuit must save the villagers from the phantom’s wrath.

January 1566: En route to Edo, Master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo spend the night in a rural mountain village whose inhabitants live in terror of a legendary vengeful ghost. When the innkeeper's wife is murdered and Father Mateo’s housekeeper, Ana, is blamed for a crime she did not commit, Hiro and Father Mateo are forced to investigate and reveal the truth. But when another woman turns up murdered in the snow, the detectives must face the shocking truth that the vengeful yurei the villagers fear might be more than just a legend after all.

Historical Samurai Series

 

Check out my other Shinobi Mystery reviews!

(Clicking on image will take you to Amazon series page.)

shinobi series group

 

 

 

Other than the corpse itself, Hiro saw no signs of violence near the grave. an empty rice bowl and the waxy remains of a burned-out candle sat atop the monument beside the corpse. a silver crack ran down the side of the bowl, indicating a careful repair of a former break. The waist-high monument was barely thicker than the bowl itself. had a struggle taken place beside the grave, the bowl—and it’s now-missing offering—would have fallen.
A dirty slush of icy snow and frozen mud covered the ground. footprints were everywhere, but none of them looked new.
“Will you help me?” Noboru asked. “I do not think I have the strength to carry her alone.”
“Of course.” father Mateo helped him lift Ishiko’s lifeless body, which remained almost as stiff and straight as the posts of the sacred torii at the entrance to the burial ground.
Hiro could not tell if the stiffness came from the passage of time or merely from the body spending the night in the freezing cold.
As he followed Noboru and father Mateo back along the trail toward the village, Hiro realized, with some surprise, that he had assessed the body and the scene as if he planned to find the woman’s killer.
When the men returned to the ryokan, Kane opened the door and held it as they carried the body past. she did not speak, but her gaze never left the corpse.
After slipping off their shoes in the entry, father Mateo and Noboru carried Ishiko into the reception room. Noboru opened the door to a guest room across from the one where hiro and father Mateo slept. except for the tokonoma, which held an empty vase, and the fact that only a single, unused futon rested in the center of the floor, the room appeared identical to theirs.
Father Mateo stopped at the sight of the futon. “You had a room prepared?”
“My mother had trouble climbing the stairs,” Noboru said. “she slept here often, especially on the nights when she visited my sister’s grave. I apologize for placing . . . her body . . . so close to your guest room . . .”
“They will be leaving this morning anyway.” Kane spoke from the doorway.
As Hiro heard the words, he knew instinctively they were untrue.
After father Mateo helped Noboru lower the corpse to the futon, the innkeeper fell to his knees.
“This is my fault.”
He brushed Ishiko’s hair from her face, revealing her sightless eyes. a dead leaf clung to the woman’s cheek.
Kane gasped. “Red eyes . . . bare feet and trailing hair . . . she looks like a yūrei.”
Noboru whirled. “Do not say such things!”
His wife seemed not to hear him. “Masako-san was right . . . it has returned . . .”
“Enough!” Noboru hissed. “show respect for the dead!”
“You brought her here. Now it will follow . . .” Kane gestured to the corpse.
“I said enough.” Noboru stood and faced his wife.
Kane cringed and backed away. When she reached the door, she turned and fled down
the passage to the kitchen. a moment later, they heard footsteps on the creaking stairs to the second floor.
“I apologize for my wife,” Noboru knelt beside the corpse once more.
“What did she mean about ‘it’ returning?” father Mateo asked.

Noboru tried to close Ishiko’s eyelids, but her flesh refused to yield. “A foolish superstition. Nothing more.”
“Superstitions do not end in murder,” the priest observed.
“I once believed that also.” Noboru stood up. “Now, I am not so sure.”
“Yūrei do not kill people,” Hiro said, “because ghosts do not exist.”
“You should leave this village now, while you still can.” Noboru seemed unable to tear his gaze from his mother’s body. “and hope the yūrei does not follow.”
“Vengeful spirits did not kill this woman.” Hiro gestured to the corpse. “Do you see the marks on her neck? The blood in her eyes? she was strangled.”
Noboru continued as though he did not hear. “I should have gone with her to the burial yard. or insisted she wait for morning . . .”
“A yūrei did not do this,” Hiro repeated.
“But we can help you find whoever did,” father Mateo said.
“No.” Noboru shook his head at the priest. “Every hour you remain, you put your lives at risk. You must leave at once.”
“If you believe that, why did you allow us to spend the night?” Hiro asked.
“I did not think . . . did not believe it would return.”
Ana appeared in the doorway. “has something happened?” Based on her lack of reaction to the body lying on the floor, Hiro suspected the housekeeper knew the facts, but wondered what father Mateo intended to do about the situation.
“Your master needs to leave at once,” Noboru said. “You should prepare to go.”
Ana waited for the Jesuit’s decision.
“We should leave,” Hiro murmured in Portuguese. “We have people to warn in other towns, and this woman’s death is no concern of ours.” he switched to Japanese. “Pack our belongings Ana, it’s time to leave.”
The housekeeper did not move.
“We are not leaving,” father Mateo said in Portuguese. “These people need our help.”
“He does not want our help.” Hiro replied in kind.
Noboru looked puzzled but said nothing”
“We can help him learn the truth—” the Jesuit began.
“Please excuse us,” Hiro said to Noboru, and gestured for the priest to leave the room. To his relief, father Mateo crossed the threshold without argument.
“Should I get ready to leave, or not?” Ana asked.
“Yes,” Hiro said.
At the same time, father Mateo answered, “No.”
“When you make your minds up, tell me.” Ana walked back toward the kitchen.
Hiro followed father Mateo into their guest room and closed the door.
“We need to stay and help these people learn the truth,” the Jesuit said.
“We have a more important task to complete,” Hiro objected. “The woman we looked for here is gone, but others from my clan remain in danger. Would you risk their lives to chase a village ghost?”
“You know as well as I do that a person killed Ishiko, not a ghost.” “No!” Kane shrieked, somewhere nearby, “You’ll kill us all!”

 

About Susan Spann

Susan spann 2

Susan Spann is the award-winning author of the Hiro Hattori mystery novels, featuring ninja detective Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo. Susan went to Tufts University in Boston, where she immersed herself in the history and culture of China and Japan. After earning an undergraduate degree in Asian Studies, Susan diverted to law school. She returned to California to practice law, where her continuing love of books has led her to specialize in intellectual property, business and publishing contracts. She is the 2015 Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ Writer of the Year, a former president of the Northern California Chapter of Mystery Writers of America and a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime (National and Sacramento chapters), the Historical Novel Society, and the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers.

 

Do tell header

What’s your favorite type of setting for a mystery?

 

 

Follow me on social media!

Visit Us On InstagramVisit Us On FacebookVisit Us On Twitter

Turn on the light!

Light up your inbox and never miss a post!

I agree to have my personal information transfered to MailChimp ( more information )

I will never give away, trade or sell your email address. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Book Outlet ad
2 comments

2
Leave a Reply

What me to visit you? Just leave a link in the comments and I will stop by. :)

avatar
2 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
2 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
2 Comment authors
Crystal @ Lost in StorylandMary Kirkland Recent comment authors

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

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Crystal @ Lost in Storyland
Guest

The Hiro and Father Mateo dynamics like sound fun, and I love the historical Japan setting!

Mary Kirkland
Guest

I like the sound of that one. New author for me.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Privacy & Cookies Policy
%d bloggers like this: