The Gentleman from Japan: An Inspector O Novel

James Church. Minotaur, $25.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-312-61431-7
A complex mystery involving seven deaths in one night kicks off Church’s excellent sixth novel featuring enigmatic North Korean intelligence operative Inspector O (after 2012’s A Drop of Chinese Blood). O has been living in exile in Yanji, China, with his cynical nephew, Major Bing, who heads that city’s office of the Ministry of State Security. Bing doesn’t want any part in the investigation of the unexplained deaths of three elderly men at a noodle shop, two prostitutes behind a dim sum joint, a female tourist in a new Mongolian tearoom, and a well-dressed man in an upscale hotel restaurant. Contrary to Bing’s wishes, police reports of the eatery-related fatalities have reached his ministry’s headquarters in Beijing, forcing him to take a role. Bing must also fend off Yanji’s corrupt mayor, who hopes to use Bing’s failure to solve the case to get rid of him. Some unexpected turns lead to O taking part in an operation in Europe. The pseudonymous Church, himself a former spy, makes all the plot developments chillingly plausible. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 10/10/2016
Release date: 12/06/2016
Genre: Fiction
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