Konishi Zenta, the 16th century Samurai and charismatic detective we met in The Samurai and the Long-Nosed Devils (p. 848, J-248), triumphs again when he matches wits with a white serpent ghost and a scheming chamberlain to insure that Lord Okudaira's castle falls to his rightful heir. His investigation begins with flashy swordplay and proceeds amid Namioka's courtly unfolding of feudal customs: there is a hilarious moon-viewing party in which rough, provincial samurai try to emulate the polished verse-making of courtiers from the capital; and a corps of halberd-weilding amazons whose comradely courage in defending the women's quarters wins Zenta's admiration. But who is the legitimate heir? The solution, which seems so elementary at first, folds in on itself like one of those intricate origami constructions. Zenta is as quick as the author is knowledgeable (hers are the first mysteries we've seen that come with bibliographies) and together they'll keep you guessing until the very last page.