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Flask of the Drunken Master

(Shinobi Mystery #3)

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  162 ratings  ·  38 reviews
August 1565: When a rival artisan turns up dead outside Ginjiro's brewery, and all the evidence implicates the brewer, master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo must find the killer before the magistrate executes Ginjiro and seizes the brewery, leaving his wife and daughter destitute. A missing merchant, a vicious debt collector, and a female moneylender ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published July 14th 2015 by Minotaur Books
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3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  162 ratings  ·  38 reviews

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Jul 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
After last year's wonderful Blade of the Samurai , I was really pleased to have the opportunity to review its successor Flask of the Drunken Master, the third in the Shinobi Mysteries by Susan Spann. The book definitely didn't disappoint, though it doesn't stand alone as well as Blade of the Samurai did. The consequences of the power vacuum after the death of the Shogun in the previous book are felt throughout the narrative and there are some characters from the first book in the series, Claws ...more
Jul 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Rating: 4.5/5
The author brings Japanese history, its customs and politics, to life in this series and in this book, as we enjoy detecting from an unlikely pair of sleuths. I highly recommend it for history and mystery buffs alike.
My full review:
Jul 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: daniele

Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele

Flask of the Drunken Master is the engrossing third entry in the wonderful Shinobi Mystery series, and the main characters Hiro, the undercover ninja bodyguard, and the Portuguese priest Mateo, who he is sworn to protect, are as delightful as ever. Susan Spann draws a vivid picture of sixteenth century Japan that pulled me in right from the first sentence and kept me guessing until the very end.

While out on a morning q
Jul 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was looking forward to this third part of the Shinobi mysteries, as I had enjoyed the first two (CLAWS OF HE CAT and BLADE OF THE SAMURAI)very much, despite the fact that before picking up the first book, I had no interest in Japan in general, much less in medieval Japan. CLAWS OF THE CAT surprised and delighted me. And the next two books were worthy successors.
IN FLASK OF THE DRUNKEN MASTER, a brewer is murdered, and another brewer is the main suspect. So naturally, there is lots of sake as H
Heidi Timmons
Once again Susan Spann entertains readers and transports them to 16th century Japan. The author has the ability to make you feel like you are walking next to Hiro and Father Mateo. This time, Hiro engages in more sword fights and battles, which are thrilling and page-turning. It was exciting to see the samurai in action. The relationship between Hiro and Father Mateo continues to develop and deepen as the series progresses. Her writing is beautiful, and many times I would re-read a passage becau ...more
Sep 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
I absolutely love the dynamic between Hiro, a shinobi/ninja, and Father Mateo, a Portuguese priest in feudal Kyoto Japan. As Hiro officially acts as the priest's interpreter, it highlights the differences between Japanese and Western etiquette and judicial systems. I will be looking forward to reading more about Hiro and Father Mateo.
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: japoneze, owned, fiction
This 3rd book in the series was really good. I like this series more and more. There is some good connection with characters in the 1st book but I notice is that a) there is no pattern for the who did it; and b) the historical intricacies definitely heighten the tension. I finished the book in 2 evening readings. It was that good that it was worth it! I can't wait for the next books in the series.
May 04, 2017 rated it liked it
The story is really good, I've liked all her books so far. Usually I think that in these series you have to give them a few books to see if they're really going to be good. Susan Spann has been great from the beginning. I think she got some off information in this book which really created some speed bumps for my reading, like Samurai wearing their swords on their backs, sticking up like tails. Otherwise I loved this book.
Brett Bydairk
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Number three in the series has our shinobi hero investigating another murder, this time involving the owner of a sake brew-pub.
One engaging point of this historical series (it takes place in the 1540s) is the inclusion of then-current political events, in this case the on-coming battle between rivals for the shogunate.
Arnold A. Mount
Aug 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A "Sake" to me Mystery

An extremely entertaining story with the whodunit deftly woven into the fabric of historic Japan. A plethora of suspects all the way to the crucial end. The kind of tale that satisfies the palate of a hungry for adventure reader.
Shira Bea
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The series keeps on getting better and better. At least we can see character developments and involvement of other characters.
Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another excellent mystery! Getting to read this book was a study reward. And yes it really helped me to keep going with my studies! I wanted to know who the killer was and what happened!!!!
Don Carey
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Love reading a story based in Japan! Well written
Aug 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Originally published at Reading Reality

While every bit as captivating as its two predecessors, Claws of the Cat and Blade of the Samurai it also takes off in slightly different direction from those previous two books in this series.

In their earlier adventures, Father Mateo and his bodyguard, the shinobi (read ninja) Hiro found themselves investigating within the halls of power; solving murders at the heart of the shogunate, risking their lives to determine the guilt or innocence of possible kill
Julianne Douglas
Aug 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
FLASK OF THE DRUNKEN MASTER by Susan Spann (Minotaur, 2015) continues the exciting adventures of ninja spy Hattori Hiro and the Portuguese priest he must protect in sixteenth century Japan. While Kyoto stews in uneasy anticipation as rival warlords plot for control of the city, Hiro and Father Mateo must prove the innocence of their friend Ginjiro, a brewer accused of murdering an indebted colleague. The victim, who had been seeking Ginjiro's sponsorship for admittance into the brewer's guild de ...more
Jul 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
A satisfying mystery. It took a while for this story to pull me in, despite the early murder discovery. The setting was sparse in the first 40 pages and the characters, now into their third installment in the series, weren't introduced with the painstaking care and conflict seen previously. But as soon as the duo started interviewing suspects the story took off and I found more of the setting and cultural insights I want from a historical. And the tension kept ratcheting higher with news of poli ...more
Reader's Hollow
Jun 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
**We received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review**
Reviewed by Erin at The Reader's Hollow

The historical aspect has not lost its flare, for me. There's new details and old ones to remind and enhance the whole setting.

I was excited when I heard the title of this novel. Suke, the drunken monk, felt like he had a rich history to his life and I was happy that he'd be more involved in this novel. He's a very dangerous man, after all.

Father Mateo, a Portuguese priest, is out to conver
Jan 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
A man has been murdered and Hiro's friend Ginjiro stands accused. The victim was a fellow brewer whose son racked up a hefty debt with Ginjiro. Witnesses reported the seeing the dead man and Ginjiro arguing over exactly that matter the night before the body is found in Ginjiro's alley. Some even say that Ginjiro was heard threatening the dead man!

Nevertheless, the evidence seems highly circumstantial to Hiro and Father Mateo who are both certain their friend is no killer. Though Hiro is somewha
Lelia Taylor
Jul 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: full-reviews
I first made the acquaintance of two fine gentlemen, Hiro Hattori and Father Mateo, just about a year ago when I read Blade of the Samurai and promptly fell in love with them and with their regard for each other. As private investigators in 16th-century Japan, they are very different from our contemporary sleuths and, yet, they are also much the same. What endears them to me is their relationship. Separately, they are each very intelligent and knowledgeable in their respective fields but, togeth ...more
Apr 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Father Mateo and Hiro out in the early morning to get noodles from Hiro's favorite street cart come across the discovery of a dead sake brewer in the alley outside the back door of another brewer, Ginjiro. Allowed to inspect the scene the two discover a broken sake flask bearing Ginjiro's seal and a man with a head violently bashed in. The police immediately arrest Ginjiro since the location and the broken flask both point to him as the murderer.

Neither Hiro nor Father Mateo think this immediat
Jul 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is the third in the Shinobi series. I didn’t have the opportunity to read the first book in the series, Claws of the Cat but I did read Blade of the Samurai. The two main characters Hiro Hattori and Father Mateo are very well drawn and I enjoy their interactions. The two of them are starting to get a reputation now for solving murders; Hiro is not sure about this since his main focus needs to be protecting Father Mateo. He has been hired to make sure that the priest stays alive.

In this volu
Kate Lansing
Jul 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cozy-mysteries
I just love the premise of this mystery series--a Portuguese priest and the Shinobi ninja assassin hired to protect him solve murders in medieval Kyoto. The details about Japan--the subtle etiquette and culture--are astounding, and so much fun to read.

This book takes us into the world of sake breweries and moneylenders when a competitor is murdered outside Ginjiro's prominent sake brewery. The seemingly innocent Ginjiro is implicated, leaving Hiro and Father Mateo racing to find the true killer
Kim Rendfeld
Jul 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Susan Spann’s “Flask of the Drunken Master” will take readers into medieval Japan and introduce them to its social classes, the rules and politics of sake breweries, and brutal justice. In you’ve read the first two books in the series, you’ll get more enjoyment as the adventures of Hiro and Father Mateo continue and a larger story unfolds, but you don’t need to read the others novels to understand “Flask.” It would be a pleasure as a standalone.

The setting feels exotic, but the reader is never l
Jun 30, 2015 rated it liked it
I do love this series but this was not the best of the bunch. Not as much of Hiro's special skills came into play as I would have liked. The mystery had more to do with the merchant class where previous cases centered more on samurai/gentry so there was a lot more mud, grim prison scenes and less savory parts of town explored. I liked that many characters from previous books made appearances and I particularly like Hiro's devotion to his kitty, Gato. This one strongly foreshadowed brewing polit ...more
Jul 24, 2015 rated it liked it
Flask of the Drunken Master is not one of the most thrilling novels I’ve ever read, but there’s a special spark to it. It’s so simple, which makes it a refreshing change. I think this is the brilliance behind cozy mystery.

The pace and language remind me a lot of Hyōka, a Japanese mystery novel set in Kamiyama High School. Aside from the mystery element, Susan Spann does a wonderful job at crafting action scenes. If only there were more.

Full review on Priscilla and her Books
Joe Slavinsky
Jun 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
The title is a little misleading, as there is no "Drunken Master", although the murder weapon is a sake flask. I'm guessing someone from the author's publisher came up with the title, hoping to sell more books, by making people think of one of Jackie Chan's better "chop-saki" movies, with the same words in it's title. Other than that, the book was a continuation of Ms Spann's well-done series about "shinobi", aka ninja, in 16th century Japan.
Jul 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2015
Another fine entry in the Shinobi Mystery series. I enjoy learning more and more about Mateo and Hiro with each book. This was an interesting step back in time to sixteenth century Japanese culture and customs.
Rebekah Sheppard
Sep 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: asian-stories
Very intriguing and a clean story!
Clinton Sheppard
Sep 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: feudal-japan
Another well done mystery with lots of false leads.
Sep 29, 2014 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book. Didn't take me as long as last time to figure out who did it, but I enjoyed reading how Hiro figured it out.

I recommend this whole series.
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Author of the Hiro Hattori Novels (Shinobi Mysteries), featuring ninja detective Hiro Hattori and his Portuguese Jesuit sidekick, Father Mateo.

CLAWS OF THE CAT (Minotaur Books, 2013)
Library Journal Mystery Debut of the Month
Silver Falchion Finalist: Best First Novel

BLADE OF THE SAMURAI (Minotaur Books, 2014)

FLASK OF THE DRUNKEN MASTER (Minotaur Books, July 2015)


Other books in the series

Shinobi Mystery (7 books)
  • Claws of the Cat (Shinobi Mystery, #1)
  • Blade of the Samurai (Shinobi Mystery, #2)
  • The Ninja's Daughter (Shinobi Mystery, #4)
  • Betrayal at Iga (Shinobi Mystery #5)
  • Trial on Mount Koya (Shinobi Mystery #6)
  • Ghost of the Bamboo Road (Shinobi Mystery #7)