Ruby, HS is number 5. It doesn't matter for the mystery, which stands alone, but since the protagonist and sidekicks have existed before, you may end up wondering what their lives were like in the past. :)
Normally when that happens I buy books. I do review books for several websites and that always happens to me - I get a book at no charge to do the review and then I want to read the rest of the story so off to the bookstore.
Just finished I.J.'s The Hell Screen (along with The Black Arrow and Roshomon Gate). Being an ex-history teacher I like a good historical mystery. Sugawara Akitada is a thinking person's samurai.
Also just finished John Church's Bamboo and Blood. Church has two novels out about a. . . and get this as being unusual. . . a North Korean sleuth by the name of Inspector O. More spy than mystery--and I'll betcha a used McDonald's Big Mac no one can figure this one out!
Three of them. That is very good of you, B.R. "Thinking man's samurai" is not a bad description. It's too early for the proper age of the samurai, but some of the courtly types in Heian Japan were also fighters. Thank you.
Ingrid's books are excellent. I enjoyed them, then mom stole them all from me and has read them all.
I just finished this weekend reading Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian. Not entirely sure, but I think I'll be reading Forty Words for Sorry by Giles Blunt for my fiction reading choice. For non-fiction, probably something related to Bible study or small group at church. But I could be lured away to an extent by a good biography or history book.
Clay, I think I've thanked you and your mom already. I feel lucky when someone tells me they enjoyed the books. That is where the greatest pleasure is, and that makes up for the frustrations with publishers and libraries. :)