Beyond the Trope: Ninjas and Japan!

Curious about ninjas–either the real, historical ones or the fictional ones that appear in my Hiro Hattori mystery novels? I recently had the opportunity to talk about ninjas, fiction, and my upcoming mystery, BETRAYAL AT IGA, with one of my favorite podcasts: Beyond the Trope. Check out the podcast here, and when you finish take a look at the archives for more fantastic podcast content!

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Back from Left Coast Crime!

The blog was more silent than usual last week; I was finishing up a project and out of town for the Left Coast Crime conference – a fantastic West Coast mystery convention, organized by volunteers, that takes place in a different location every year. This year’s conference, “Honolulu Havoc” — took place at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Resort in Waikiki (O’ahu, Hawaii) Later that morning, I spoke on the Historical Mystery panel with Rebecca Cantrell, Ovidia Yu, Ann Parker, and fantastic moderator Noel Hynd: Later in the weekend, I moderated a panel on Religion in Crime Fiction, attended even more

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How to Hunt a Shogun

How do you stop a plot to kill a man who’s been dead for five hundred years? In my case, it required a map, a tour guide, and a ninja. My second Hiro Hattori novel (Shinobi Mystery), Blade of the Samurai, involved a plot to assassinate the 13th Ashikaga Shogun, Japan’s military leader from 1546 to 1565. In the novel, the shogun’s cousin is stabbed to death inside the shogun’s palace, and master ninja Hiro Hattori (along with his Portuguese Jesuit sidekick, Father Mateo) must find the killer and stop the plot – or face execution in the killer’s place. Writing historical mysteries

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Fact from Fiction: Shinobi vs Ninja

At signings, I’m often asked why I refer to my ninja detective, Hattori Hiro (or Hiro Hattori to those who put surnames last), as a “shinobi” instead of a “ninja.” The answer is simple: the two are one and the same. Many Japanese words are written using Kanji, or characters, originally borrowed from Chinese. In Japanese, the word many English speakers pronounce as “ninja” looks like this: The Chinese pronunciation of those characters is “nin sha” – from which the English language derives the word “ninja.” That pronunciation is used in Japan, but more often, the Japanese pronounce those characters

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