A Deadly Injustice

Written by Ian Morson
Review by Viviane Crystal

Nick Zuliani from Venice is now serving as the official Investigator of Crimes for the Mongol Emperor in the year 1268. The novel opens with an old man thinking about the beating he has just given his wife because she does not know her duties. They are obedience to father, husband, and then the son after the father’s death.Minutes later, the old man dies a painful, quick death.

Who did it is the subject of Nick or Niccolo’s investigation, requested by the Clerk to the Minister of Justice, Lin Chu-Tsai. The latter is the preoccupation of a conniving Ko Tsu-Chung, the head of the Censorate, the one who seeks out and prosecutes those guilty of fraud or any other injustice in the government or population. He is determined to destroy Lin. So he sends Lin and the “foreign devil” to investigate the murder of an old man.

The two unlikely friends, Nick’s Mongol girlfriend Gurbesu, a priest, and a silversmith from Europe travel to a remote village where the accused young woman is awaiting execution for murder. On entering the village, they soon observe a play that seems especially written with their quest in mind and offers possibilities of investigation and clues to the real murderer. As they talk to all the involved characters, the plot thickens and several may be guilty if one bases evidence on motivation such as exorbitant loans, greed for family wealth, jealousy over unrequited love, and so much more.

The story is fascinating because of the lavish presentation of Mongol and Chinese culture and mores interwoven into the tale, as well as a criminal inquiry that will shock every reader and cannot possibly be figured out beforehand. A Deadly Injustice presents a quaint, exotic, and multilayered plot – all in all, a superb read!