The Ghost in the Tokaido Inn

May 29, 2009
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I read the book The Ghost in the Tokaido Inn written by Dorothy Hoobler. It was published by Puffin Book in 1999 with 214 pages and is considered a mystery. The character development, plot and unpredictability ended up making this a great book. It is a wonderful book and I would recommend to anyone!

Seikei is a son of a tea merchant and wants to be one of the most honorable warriors in Japan, a samurai. He and his father are on their way to Edo, the shogun’s city. On their way there, Seikei and his father stop at an inn to rest for the night. During the middle of the night, Seikei thinks he sees a jikininki or an eater of human flesh. Seikei tries to follow it but it soon disappears. When they wake up, the innkeeper informs them a priceless gem on its way to Edo for the shogun vanishes. Only Seikei’s eyes saw the thief who he thought was a ghost, therefore he is the only one who can solve the mystery with the help of judge Ooka, an honorable judge who works under the shogun. Seikei soon finds himself face to face with the thief, Tomomi, a kabuki actor who likes to play a woman. Not long after that, Seikei figures out Tomomi is a samurai and Seikei starts to learn how to wield a sword. Seikei now knows that Tomomi is the thief because he well, told him and offered the gem, a priceless ruby to the sun goddesses at an alter… or did he? Why does Tomomi steal the ruby just to offer it to get blessing? Why did a noble samurai work as kabuki actor? Why does Tomomi keep Seikei around after he shown him the ruby when he knows Seikei is working with judge Ooka to bust him? All these answers and more in the Ghost in the Tokaido Inn!

I think the author’s purpose was to show how honor was one of the most important things in Japan, so I think she reached her purpose. This was a powerful story because it showed honor, suicide and revenge. It was also a difficult piece to follow, yet fast paced and short. I like this book because you could never tell the end. Every time you think you figured it out, something unexpected happens. For example, when Tomomi dropped the ruby at the altar, I thought it was an offering and now Seikei just had to find the judge and convict him and the story would be over, but the ruby wasn’t what it seemed to be. Seikei also became a strong, wise and mature over the course of the book. In the beginning, he was not sure he could catch the criminal or even survive what he thought the judge had in store for him. He faced his fear and even when Tomomi told him he knew who he was, he still did what he had to do to stay alive and convict him! Also the plot of this book was not clear at first, but eventual it showed its true colors and how it mixed mystery with a bit of history and realistic fiction was key to the plot. No one wants to read a story how someone got jacked, but this was different in a good way. Overall this book was first-class because it was interesting and kept me reading to the end when I stared plus at the end of most chapters it had a cliffhanger. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a scare, likes Japan, or just likes mystery over all.

In conclusion this is a wonderful book full of surprises, fun, adventure, humor and mostly about a kid wanting to be a samurai and getting a chance. The character development, plot and suspenseful cliff hangers made this a beautifully written book. I dare you to read it to see what happens in between! Oh yeah, and to find out what happens at the end, because I bet you will be shocked!





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