I’ve managed to avoid reading anything close to horror lately, but there are a few ghosts and monsters floating through a nice long reading at Podcastle of “Moon Viewing at Shijo Bridge,” by Richard Parks. Lord Yamada is drawn back into Heian imperial court at the request of an old friend, Princess Teiko. Even before the palace intrigue starts, the story is filled with hints and hidden messages, and we are drawn in along with Yamada to puzzle them out.
I’m always interested in stories set in feudal Japan, although I wasn’t so sure about the court intrigue at first. Most stories of intrigue seem dedicated to convincing you that you’d be swiftly poisoned toast in your average everyday court of intrigue. Or at least, I can never figure out what’s going on. But in this story, amid the hints and allusive poetry, you get just enough explanation to follow the convolutions of the plot within the plot. Even so, a second listening revealed even more inner turnings. Very rewarding.
Try it for a wind-down after the usual Halloween fare.