The Masuda Affair
Sugawara Akitada, a Senior Secretary in the Ministry of Justice in 11th-century Japan, is very depressed as he had lost his only son in an epidemic the previous year. As typical in such cases, his wife and he suffer from the “darkness of the heart” following the loss of a child and their relationship is more than cool at this point. Traveling throughout the region, Akitada runs into a little boy who is obviously malnourished and bearing obvious bruises all over his body. Very quickly, Akitada finds himself caring about this mute boy but is quickly shocked when the boy’s supposed parents show up and demand both the return of the boy and financial compensation for trying to kidnap him. Leaving gold behind to use for care of the boy, Akitada backtracks to find the boy and assure his well-being when he is plunged into a deeper mystery: the death of a former dancer in the Kyoto district, and two potential suspects who fear his investigation will go too far. A story within a story concerns Akitada’s servant, Tora, who is involved in another mystery: the disappearance of his pregnant wife, a scenario that may eventually lead Akitada to the real killer of Peony and reveal the true identity of the boy Yori and perhaps an even larger transformation.
This wonderful historical mystery novel reveals so much of the history and culture of the Kyoto region, as well as containing a very informative section at the end of the book about the facts behind this fictional account. Whether you love great historical fiction or mysteries, The Masuda Affair is a tightly plotted, emotional yet logical murder mystery sure to grip a reader’s interest, leaving all highly satisfied!