A MEIJI MYSTERY by Deborah J Mantle
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Everyone has secrets … … but few people would kill to conceal them.
In 1880, Henry Sinclair, a British diplomat recently returned from Japan, is found dead in the garden of the American Deputy Ambassador’s residence in London. From the deep horizontal and vertical cuts to his stomach, Henry Sinclair appears to have committed suicide in a very painful, characteristically Japanese way. For over a century the reason for his death remains a mystery.
In twenty-first century London, 34 year-old Peta Hansen has set out to create a quiet, safe life as a lecturer and writer of Japanese history, successfully hiding her secret identity as the author of historical adventure novels. Thinking of her career and her hefty mortgage repayments, Peta agrees to work on a study of Japan in the latter half of the nineteenth century, a time known as the Meiji Period. Ending over two centuries of isolation from the outside world, the Meiji Period (1868-1912) was an era of great change and often violence in Japan. Foreigners travelled to the newly reopened and exotic country to serve governments, God and their own economic interests. They found a society caught between the old and the new, and a people who viewed foreign ‘barbarians’ with open curiosity and deep suspicion.
As the focus of Peta’s study, she chooses four relatively unknown men who played a part in the process of Japan’s modernisation: the British diplomat, Henry Sinclair, as well as a Dutch trader and two Japanese politicians. While Peta delves deeper into the lives of these men, three contemporary men increasingly affect her own life. Her publisher, Riley James, is a direct descendant of Henry Sinclair and has a personal interest in the project – and Peta. David Hart is the owner of a respected Asian antiques firm established in the 1870s by his ancestor Benedict Hart. He is also the boss of Peta’s closest friend, Shelley. Charles Van Kleeck III, known as Van, is an American journalist bent on uncovering Peta’s secret identity.
After receiving a morbid haiku poem in the post, Peta is confused. When the second threatening haiku arrives, she gets worried. In spite of increasing danger, Peta throws herself into her work convinced that the intimidation is somehow linked to her research. Buried in the past is a secret someone is going to great extremes to hide.
When her personal life falls apart, Peta throws financial caution to the wind and escapes to Japan to try and find some answers there. In Yokohama, Peta must solve the puzzle of Henry Sinclair’s death in order to understand why someone is threatening her in modern-day London. She must stop them before there is another death – her own.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Having worked in a number of countries and done a variety of jobs (teacher, cleaner, civil servant and seller of milkshakes, thermal underwear and electrical appliances), Deborah Mantle is now content to live in Cumbria, wear waterproof clothing frequently and write when possible.
Tell us 5 random things about you the person, not the author
1) I wrote my first novel when I was eleven years old. I decided it was boring and burnt it.
2) I love to walk around and across cities. I've walked all over London and Tokyo.
3) I will walk a long way to get a good cup of coffee.
4) Taking photos helps me to see things differently.
5) I lived in Japan for seven years.
Where to connect online
Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/deborah_mantle