While I was searching for Charlie Chan, I discovered a cache of Mr. Moto books on the Canadian Gutenberg site
(Charlie Chan comes from the Australian Gutenberg site
). Anyway, I had some vague recollections of, or references to anyway, Mr. Moto from my childhood and thought perhaps he was similar to Charlie Chan, albeit Japanese instead of Chinese American. Nope, Charlie is an American police detective, albeit of Chinese extraction. Mr. Moto, on the other hand is a Japanese spy working for the glory of Imperial Japan in the 1930s.
The protagonist of this book is actually not Mr. Moto, but an American aviator, K. C. Lee. He is in Tokyo, expecting to fly across the Pacific in a publicity stunt arranged to advertise a tobacco company. But the flight falls through, and K.C., who has become rather a disreputable drunk, whines and complains and blames his troubles on his home country, i.e. America. Mr. Moto happens to overhear him and thinks perhaps he can get K.C. to help him find some secret naval plans that have gone missing. He, Mr. Moto, gets a beautiful white Russian ex-pat who grew up in Northern China to vamp K.C. and see if he might be recruited to help find the missing plans. Needless there's lots of skullduggery and attempts to kill K.C. and others and it all ends "adequately" for all sides.
While Mr. Moto is a spy, he is a polite one. He doesn't hold any animosity toward the people he's working against. It's almost like the old-fashioned view of sports from the Victorian era, you fight like hell for the victory, then go off at the end to have tea together, the best of friends, hoping for another "good show" another day. Or something like that. I'm vaguely undecided whether I'll read the next Mr. Moto or not, but likely I well. The story is well plotted and well written.