Fantasy Mystery Comics Non-Fiction Fiction

The Hell Screen

Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Hell Screen (2003) I.J. Parker

The-Hell-ScreenI was trying to figure out what I was in the mood to read, when I stumbled across The Hell Screen and remembered that I have the Lord Sugawara Akitada mysteries.

Akitada is returning to the capital after receiving notice that his mother is dying. On his way he spends the night at a temple where he is shown an amazing and horrifying work in progress: a Hell Screen to help convince viewers to change their ways.

What kind of faith was this that celebrated human suffering, and what sort of mind could call up such scenes of horror and agony?

Akitada is awakened in the night by a woman’s scream, but it is not until he returns to the capital that he learns that a woman was murdered. Partially to escape the cruelty of his dying mother, and partially because of his own curiosity, Akitada looks into the murder.

This was a complex and fascinating mystery. There is the mystery of the murdered actress, the mystery of why Akitada’s mother hates him, and Akitada also stumbles upon a haunted temple where people who live nearby turn up mutilated or missing.

I also like the various people Akitada and his retainers meet during the course of their investigations.

The cook shouted across, “The only spirits he calls up are in his cup. He’s a hard drinker.” Harada, far from taking offense, said, “On the contrary, my friend of the steaming pots. Drinking is the easiest thing I do. The world rests heavily on my shoulders and the worries of my days fray at my nerves.”

“(I)t’s like this: When he’s out of sorts, he drinks. After the first cup he feels more like himself. So he has another and now feels like a new man. But the new man wants to drink, too, and so he goes on drinking till, pretty soon, he feels like a babe . . . bawling and crawling all the way home.”

I really liked this book, and it reminded me that I like this series and that I should read more.
Rating: 8/10

Published by Ingrid J. Parker Inc.

Categories: 8/10, Asian, Historical, Mystery     Comments (0)    

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