The Incense Game Delves Into a Mysterious Culture & An Interesting Murder!
Readers may be surprised to learn that this interesting title is actually book #16 in this author’s series featuring Sano Ichiro, who is now the Honorable Chamberlain, not to mention the Shogun’s second in command. (Let’s face it, when you’ve written sixteen novels about a character, you know that it’s one of the ‘best-of-the-best’ in literature).
The year is 1703 in Edo (Tokyo), Japan. Sano is about to look for the truth behind a suspicious suicide that was made to look like an ‘Incense Game,’ (an innocent game that was once played by many).
The tale begins when a very powerful earthquake flattens the city and provinces. The people threaten to overthrow the Shogun’s administration when he refuses to do anything about the travesty, choosing instead to send Sano to oversee the relief and rebuilding of the city.
While doing his job, Sano comes across the well-preserved bodies of three women that would have been seen as a casualty of the quake, but with a further look turns out to be ‘murder by incense poisoning.’ Sano is asked by a powerful landowner—the grief-stricken father of two of the women—to find out the real reason why his daughters were murdered.
As Sano hunts for leads and suspects, including some powerful members of the government, he travels the length of the city observing the aftermath of the horrible force of nature. With the help of his family, he soon stumbles upon a so-called ‘secret’ society; its members are bound together with the sole purpose of weakening the government of the Shogun. Add to all this the fact that there is someone (the previous Chamberlain) who wants Sano’s job and will stop at nothing to get it back, and you have a novel filled with intrigue.
Sano is a longtime hero who’s very likable and highly interesting. The mystery is strong, and offers an added bonus of giving several ‘hints’ as to how the next installment will be written.
Until Next Time, Everybody,