Character in The Novels
In Marquand's novels, Moto calls himself I. A. Moto, though it is made clear in some of the books that this is almost certainly an alias. Most of the novels are about intrigue in Pacific Rim countries in the 1930s. The central character is usually an American, a military veteran, who becomes accidentally enmeshed in the action and meets Moto. The ex-military American character usually does not realize that Mr. Moto is an imperial agent until late in the story.
Mr. Moto is a master at working undercover. Though capable of ruthlessness and deadly violence, he appears to be merely a harmless, easygoing eccentric. Through a series of fast-paced adventures, other characters gradually comprehend how important and formidable Moto really is. Marquand tends to keep Mr. Moto in the background rather than at the center of the action, with the spy's more dramatic exploits typically described secondhand. It lends a further air of mystery to the character.
In the first five novels, set in the era of expansionist Imperial Japan, Mr. Moto is an agent of the empire. In the final novel, set in the 1950s inside Japan, he is a senior intelligence official in the pro-Western Japanese government. This final novel, titled Stopover: Tokyo (a.k.a. Right You Are, Mr. Moto) is a more conventional spy story and a somewhat darker tale than the earlier novels. The American who encounters Mr. Moto is not an innocent abroad but an agent on the trail of a pro-Soviet assassin, and he senses early on that Moto is not what he seems to be. Virtually all the characters in the novel are in the spy business.
Read more about this topic: Mr. Moto
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