Death at the Crossroads: A Samurai Mystery

Dale Furutani, Author William Morrow & Company $22 (256p) ISBN 978-0-688-15817-0
The Anthony and Macavity Award-winning author of Death in Little Tokyo (1996) and The Toyotomi Blades (1997) moves back in time with his third mystery, a quietly reflective historical puzzler set in early-17th-century Japan. Matsuyama Kaze is a ronin--an unaffiliated, wandering samurai--whose personal history is gradually revealed as he investigates the murder of an unidentified man whose corpse is left near a remote mountain village. Interrupting his mission to find the missing daughter of his Lord and Lady, whose deaths came in the revolt that led to the oppressive centuries-long rule of the Tokugawa Shogunate, Matsuyama gradually weaves himself into the fabric of daily life in the region. He exercises his samurai skills in martial arts, in cultivated patience and in cunning intelligence through which he understands the obvious and hidden links among the local peasants, the petty village officials, its Lord and the band of local outlaws whose power has recently increased. Furutani surely and gradually creates an atmospheric setting in this increasingly compelling story, casting in the hero's role a figure who manages to embody with utter credibility both compassion and ruthlessness. This is the first tale in a projected trilogy, and readers will look forward to the second installment. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/29/1998
Release date: 07/01/1998
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