Dancing History

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Dancing History
Author: Atsunori Tomatsu
Specifications: ISBN  978-4488012977
471 pages
14.0 x 19.5 cm / 5.6 x 7.8 in (WxH)
Category: Fiction
Publisher: Tokyo Sogensha Co., Ltd.
Tokyo, 2004
www.tsogen.co.jp
Awards: Mystery Writers of Japan Award, 2005
Buy now: amazon.co.jp

Synopsis

It is June 1860 and a delegation of 76 samurai has been dispatched from Japan to the United States to ratify a new Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation. Arriving in New York on June 17, the delegation disembarks to a welcome of unprecedented warmth and extravagance . . .

In this grandly conceived novel of suspense, a series of four murders plays out against a backdrop of international diplomacy. New York is in turmoil in early May as it prepares for the important state visit when a notorious thug and the manager of a stock-jobbing company are murdered within a few days of one another. Pages torn from the Old Testament (one about Noah's Ark, the other about the sacrifice of Isaac) are found on the two corpses. In both cases a link to the Japanese delegation is also discovered. Three days after the Japanese arrive, Rifkin, the assistant manager of the hotel where they are staying, is stabbed to death on the hotel's top floor. It looks like a locked-room murder, but the door was blown up immediately after the crime, and a page from the Book of Job is found on the corpse. The U.S. Navy asks William Dallow, a veteran journalist from the weekly paper The Atlantic Review, and Freeley, the paper's illustrator, to look into the episode. The pair eventually discover that the murders lead back to the secret societies currently helping slaves escape to northern states from the south. This is a masterpiece that combines meticulous historical research with sophisticated crime-solving.