Monday, March 13, 2017

The Ninth Netsuke

Superintendent Tatsuo Otani #4:The Ninth Netsuke by James Melville. Manila murder victim, Cleo Ventura is found in the Sweet Harmony Room of the Fantasia hotel a notorious catering spot for prostitutes to take their clients. Although Superintendent Otani isn’t on the case, he still wants to check out the scene of the murder. As a disguise he takes his wife, Hanae with him for a supposed tryst. It’s Hanae that finds the 8th Greek Muse, a netsuke. The netsuke causes uproar within the political system due to its place a National Treasure. And someone else wants it very badly. Hanae discovers tiny marks on the 8th netsuke, and Otani visits the museum where he photographs the seven already among the museum’s collection. It’s a clue to something else, something valuable enough to kill for, maybe a treasure map. This was the first story in the series I’ve read, and it kept my interest. A Japanese murder mystery, perhaps better described as a cozy mystery, but with a good plot and characters. Oh, yeah, the ninth netsuke in the title? Hanae steals this from its hiding place at the end of the story, so we don’t actually see it until the final page.