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Samurai Lord Inaba has been murdered in his sleep. To make matters worse, the crime took place under the protective eye of the Shogun himself. This is a case for Judge Ooka, Japan’s own real-life Sherlock Holmes. And, of course, for his 14-year-old apprentice, Seikei. Their only clue—a bloodstained origami butterfly—leads them on a journey filled with mysterious shape-shifting ninjas, vengeful peasants, and a power-hungry killer you might never suspect. If Seikei is to help solve this crime, he must first survive.
Edgar Award finalists Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler drench this story with drama and suspense in this, their third mystery featuring the famous magistrate Ooka and his young samurai apprentice.
Samurai fear nothing, not even death. They are loyal and brave. Fourteen-year-old Seikei has studied the way of the samurai, and would like nothing more than to be one. But a samurai is born, not made; Seikei was born the son of a tea merchant, so a merchant he must be. But when a priceless ruby intended for the shogun-the military governor of Japan-is stolen by a ghost, Seikei finds himself having to display all the courage of a samurai. Seikei is the only person to have seen the thief, and now the famous magistrate, Judge Ooka, needs the boy’s help to solve this mystery. Can the son of a merchant prove himself worthy to the shogun himself?
Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler have written a rich, satisfying thriller, set against the colorful backdrop of eighteenth-century Japan. Suspenseful, complex, and flat-out fun, this is a novel to savor.