The thrilling 1st installment in Pulitzer Prize–winning author John P. Marquand’s classic espionage series featuring Imperial Japan’s most skillful spy
Capitalizing on his heroic career as a World War I flying ace, Casey Lee agrees to pilot a plane across the Pacific as a publicity stunt for an American tobacco company. But his future as a goodwill ambassador between East and West takes a nosedive when the flight is abruptly canceled. Stranded in Tokyo, his bank account rapidly dwindling, Casey is approached by Mr. Moto, a secret agent with a job to offer. The work entails a matter of grave international importance—and it pays well.
Casey accepts the proposition and boards a steamship bound for Shanghai, where his mission will begin. His fellow passengers include Mr. Moto and Sonya, a beautiful exile from White Russia with her own private agenda. When a Chinese man turns up dead in Casey’s stateroom, the trio is caught up in a dangerous game of intrigue and deceit, the outcome of which might just determine the fate of their nations.
First serialized in the Saturday Evening Post, John P. Marquand’s popular and acclaimed Mr. Moto Novels were the inspiration for 8 films starring Peter Lorre.
First published in 1935, this stellar entry in the American Mystery Classics series from Marquand (1893 1960) introduces an enigmatic Japanese agent known only as Mr. Moto. U.S. Navy Intelligence Cmdr. James Driscoll asks American pilot K.C. Lee, whose experience during WWI led him to an unsatisfying career as a stunt flyer and product endorser, to write down his version "of certain peculiar transactions which took place in Japan and China." Flash back to a year earlier in Tokyo. Lee, who drinks "to drown the depression that inevitably follows a man unlucky enough to become a publicized hero," is preparing to make a flight from Japan to the States on behalf of a tobacco company. When the job is cancelled, Lee ends up meeting a Russian femme fatale named Sonya, as well as Moto, who offers him a replacement gig flying the Pacific on behalf of Japan. Lee's acceptance leads to murder and further intrigue. Marquand's skillful portrayal of a deeply flawed lead makes this a standout. Those seeking literary spy fiction will be rewarded.