The Ghost in the Tokaido Inn by Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler

Seikei is the son of a merchant in ancient Japan, but he longs to escape his current station and become a noble samurai – one of the knights of Japan. He gets his chance when he notices a mysterious figure in the dark while he and his father are staying at an inn. When he speaks up about what he’s seen to save the lives of some innocent paper merchants, Judge Ooka, the investigator decides to let Seikei help him solve the crime he is investigating surrounding that mysterious figure. Along the way Ooka gives Seikei the opportunity to prove that he has what it takes to be a truly great samurai. A valuable jewel was stolen from the samurai Hakuseki, who meant to deliver it to the shogun as a present. A fake jewel was found among the belongings of the paper merchant and his daughter. Seikei glimpses the thief, but thinks he has seen an evil spirit of some kind. He discovers that it was a real person who disappeared beneath the floor of the inn and escaped through a tunnel. Judge Ooka suspects that one of a troop of kabuki players has stolen the jewel and they set off in pursuit. Seikei confirms this suspicion – Tomomi, whose real name is Genji Takezaki, is the thief. But Judge Ooka does not apprehend him, even when he knows the culprit’s name. Instead, they wait to see how events will play out – to find out what motive Genji had in stealing the jewel and what he plans to do with it. What follows is a great samurai mystery, with intrigue, drama, and honor. The criminals and the dishonorable all die in the end and during a wrap up tea ceremony the Judge reveals to the shogun how he and Seikei made their discoveries. The shogun allows the Judge to adopt Seikei, letting him follow his dream of becoming a samurai. Fast-moving, detailed, and engaging. For those who like mysteries and those fascinated by ancient Japanese culture. Reviewed by Karin Thogersen, YA Librarian

Find this book in the catalog/place a hold