Yasuo Saito, who became one of
Margaret Roberts, one of the FBI’s most successful female agents ever, has reached the point in late 1998 of being considered for the agency’s top spot, a mixed blessing because of the personal embarrassment resulting from the media investigation into her past and qualifications for the job. Roberts, hoping to relieve some of the tremendous stress she is under, looks to a few days in Hawaii as the way to go but finds herself there when an unusual crime makes headlines around the world: a body has been found on the U.S.S. Arizona memorial with bloody footprints leading away from it. Because of the location of the crime scene, the FBI assumes jurisdiction over the investigation and Roberts is immediately in the thick of things.
Clouds Over Mountains is an intriguing mystery, one that keeps the reader guessing for a while, but its real strength is that it is a strong character-driven mystery and not just a simple whodunit. Yasuo Saito is old-school when it comes to issues of personal honor and he has struggled for most of his life to reconcile himself to a decision that he made during the war. Through Saito’s efforts to explain the life that he has lived for the last five decades, the reader is taken inside a pre-World War II Japanese society very different from the modern
Clouds Over Mountains is about family loyalties, patriotism, personal honor and shame, and desire for atonement. As in the best fiction of this type, history is simply the backdrop used to share the lessons learned by those who were there to experience it. This one took me to a world I was not at all familiar with, and I’m glad I made the trip.
Rated at: 4.0