A Haiku for Hanae

James Melville, Author Scribner Book Company $16.95 (195p) ISBN 978-0-684-19131-7
Among the strangest and most engaging in Melville's Japanese mystery series, the 10th recalls Inspector Otani's stay years earlier, on Awaji Island, far from home and his wife Hanae. There he is put in charge of a case involving a murder inside the island's Shinto shrine. Otani learns that the victim, a Mormon missionary from the U.S., was supposedly knifed by a ``fox-possessed family,'' the Suekawas, who own the inn where Otani stays. When he witnesses an exorcism of the evil spirit that forces humans to do its mischief, Otani is awed by the rites that challenge his disbelief, and uses facts disclosed in the magic event to find the killer among the large cast of colorful characters. But he can't solve a more troubling mystery. On the night when he drank too much, did he or didn't he fall for seductive Mrs. Suekawa? The question is the inspiration for the haiku to his beloved Hanae. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
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