Author: Miyuki Miyabe
Number of pages: 296
Genre: Crime Fiction/Mystery
Awards: Best Novel of the Year and Best Mystery for 1992 in Japan
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
When police inspector, Honma, is asked by his nephew (Jun) to investigate the disappearance of Jun's fiance, he has no idea that he will be enmeshed in an enormous tangle of deception and woe.
Apparently, the fiance has had her identity stolen by a beautiful girl who must escape a life of desperation which is brought upon her by enormous financial distress.
I found it terribly ironic to read such a novel considering the economic struggles America is currently suffering:
"Honma could well imagine the vicious circle the Shinjo family had been caught up in. A small down payment and a large loan. Then, when things got tight, a second loan, for a smaller amount, this time from a loan shark. That set the pinball rolling, picking up speed, than going too fast for anybody to stop. Finally, they came up against one of those operations that charge ten percent interest every ten days, a front for the yakuza-all the debts had fallen into their hands, apparently." (p. 231)
Every country has people who want the best, and want it now, regardless of their ability to pay for it. Credit card debt, mortgages much higher than the property is worth given to families who cannot afford them...these very issues are raised in this novel which not only examines a murder mystery but Japan's contemporary life. Which is not so very different from America's.
With this important exception: in Japan, the creditors hunt you down. Until the hunted become the hunters as they are in this crime thriller.