Today is the release date for Trial on Mount Koya by Susan Spann, which is what happens when you put Agatha Christie in a blender with shogunate Japan and add a seasoning of ninja.
I had a chance to see this one in advance and I read it in a single sitting. It’s your iconic scenario of a group trapped together without escape (here, in an ancient Buddhist temple atop a sacred mountain) while one of them kills off the others one by one (and in this case, poses the corpses like the Buddhist judges of hell). The race is on to find the killer before he murders the entire cast.
Bonus: today, release day, Susan is actually on Mount Koya, because she’s currently climbing the hyakumeizan (hundred famous peaks of Japan), where she’s sitting beneath a ferocious storm like the one in the book. Too perfect! Here are some of her pictures from last night and today, shared with permission:
Trial on Mount Koya is #6, the latest in the Shinobi Mystery series. You can get your own copy of Trial on Mount Koya for a stormy night.
November, 1565: Master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo travel to a Buddhist temple at the summit of Mount Koya, carrying a secret message for an Iga spy posing as a priest on the sacred mountain. When a snowstorm strikes the peak, a killer begins murdering the temple’s priests and posing them as Buddhist judges of the afterlife–the Kings of Hell. Hiro and Father Mateo must unravel the mystery before the remaining priests–including Father Mateo–become unwilling members of the killer’s grisly council of the dead.