cover image Fires of Edo: A Hiro Hattori Novel

Fires of Edo: A Hiro Hattori Novel

Susan Spann. Seventh Street, $17.95 trade paper (230p) ISBN 978-1-64506-044-4

Is arson responsible for multiple fatal fires in 16th-century Edo, Japan? Unlikely investigative partners Hiro Hattori, a ronin ninja, and Fr. Mateo, the Portuguese Jesuit he’s vowed to protect, must tackle that question in their entertaining eighth outing (after 2019’s Ghost of the Bamboo Road). They have travelled to Edo to tell members of Hiro’s ninja clan, Iga ryu, that they have been marked for death by warlord Oda Nobunaga, whose plans to rule as shogun are opposed by the Iga ryu. Oda has learned the names of its members, but before the clan members can be warned, Hiro and Mateo witness a fire destroy a bookbinder’s store, a calamity that takes on new weight when a charred corpse is found in the ruins with its limbs severed and throat slit. The prospect that the dead man was Iga ryu, among other factors, increases the pressure on the investigators to find the truth. Spann offers plenty of plausible twists while incorporating period details seamlessly. Fans of Laura Joh Rowland’s Sano Ichiro novels will be pleased. Agent: Sandra Bond, Bond Literary. (Feb.)