Hiro Hattori has a problem: he needs to find the murderer of an important guest ASAP. But the suspects are all people he doesn’t want to give up. Like his mother. Or his ex-lover. As time runs out, what is he going to do?
“Betrayal at Iga” is set in 16th-century Japan, and is full of period detail–I am not qualified to say how accurate the period detail actually is, but it certainly felt convincing to me, and some quick Wikipediaing showed there was all kinds of historical backstory to the novel–but it reads more like a classic murder mystery than a historical novel. The plot is tightly constructed, with plenty of the kinds of red herrings, suspense-building tactics, and of course the surprise twist at the end, that you’d expect from a classic British mystery book. It’s a cliche of the genre, but it’s well-done and effective, making the book a light but entertaining read.
This is the fifth book in the series, but the first I had read, and so there was some backstory that I didn’t know, but the book still worked well as a standalone read, and I was able to gather all the information that I needed to follow along. I suspect that fans of heavy historical fiction will find it a little on the slender side, and the characters are, not 2-dimensional, but secondary to the twists and turns of the plot, but it’s full of fun historical Easter eggs and satisfying reveals of secrets and surprises. Certainly something that readers looking for an entertaining mystery series, especially with an unusual, non-Western setting, are likely to enjoy.
My thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.