The Assassin’s Touch
In the page-turning climax of her tenth Inspector Sano mystery, Rowland locks us in a remote villa with Sano and the Assassin. It is a battle of Sano’s samurai skills against the Assassin’s superb martial arts tactics. To build suspense, the author interrupts the action to flash to scenes of another life-and-death fight being waged in the villa—one fought with altogether different weapons.
Hopefully your appetite has been whetted enough to read Rowland’s excellent mystery set in 17th century Japan. With two sets of murders to solve in this story, the reader is taken into the highest echelons of medieval Japanese society and to the lowest points in the place of the hinin, the outcasts of Edo.
As in the earlier Inspector Sano mysteries, Reiko, Sano’s wife, plays an active role in his investigations, this time solving one of the murders on her own. One wonders how plausible this is given the strict codes of behavior in Japan at that time. But Reiko is a likable character, and her strong presence provides the opportunity to look at marriage and family life in 17th century Japan.