Japanese-like feudal, fantasy mystery!
Poison River: Legend of the Five Rings: A Daidoji Shin Mystery by Josh Reynolds
Wow! My descriptive title is a mouthful, but then the discovery of poisoned rice becomes a mouthful for those seeking its origin. It is like a pebble dropped into a pool, and as the ripple effect takes hold more players become involved.
This is my first foray into the world of Legend of the 5 Rings universe and hopefully not my last. Intrigue and warring factions in the land of Rokugan come to the attention of the unexpected Daidoji Shin, "Crane Clan’s trade envoy in the City of the Rich Frog." I'm enamored. I loved Shin. Hes a scion of a powerful clan, one of the Seven Great Clans, the Cranes. Sent here it seems, out of sight of his house, Shin is happily settling in, as he explains to his hard put upon sidekick the samurai Hiramori Kasami a blade of the clan and Shin's bodyguard, to a life "far from the prying eyes of the Crane, or the politicking of the Winter Court. We can both relax here, serene in the knowledge that our responsibilities are minimal and no one cares about us in the least.” Well that conceit doesn't last long.
I have always had a soft spot for the sharp and observant mind hiding behind the mannerisms of an aesthete fop. Shin is that to a Tee with more than a touch of Holmsian incisive understanding. His love of theater, of Kabuki comes into play in this fantasy detective novel set in a place reminiscent of medieval Japan with various attendant gods and spirits.
A multi layered mystery concerning poisoned rice, leading to wider encompassing circles. Cleverly written, replete with acerbic and descriptive language.
I'm looking forward to seeing more of Daidoji Shin.
An Aconyte Books ARC via NetGalley
Please note: Quotes taken from an advanced reading copy maybe subject to change
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