When one of his patients informs Dr. Uemura that he has committed a murder, the psychiatrist undertakes his own investigation into the case, uncovering a far-from-dead supposed victim, as well as a labyrinthine web of sexual decadence, dark secrets, and hidden identities. 15,000 first printing.
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Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Japanese
In Tokyo during the Vietnam War, a young student threatens to take his life and, under the care of Dr. Uemura, a 27-year-old psychologist, confesses to brutally murdering a woman. Trouble is, the woman, Mrs. Owada, a poet and the wife of an airline pilot, is quite alive. As Dr. Uemura, the narrator, uncovers successive layers of deceit that surround his patient's case, he is drawn deeper and deeper into a bizarre world of sexual deviance. In the process, he encounters a college professor who arranges his own cuckoldings; a head nurse who attempts to seduce a patient in order to find out whether or not he's impotent; a woman who keeps her dead friend and perhaps lesbian lover in a freezer; and a party girl whose body is covered with human bite-marks. First published in Japan in 1976, the novel feels a bit dated; the sexual libertinism on display no longer delivers a frisson of surprise. The author of 20 novels (of which three, including The Master Key, have been translated into English), Togawa is a solid writer, and her skills, added to what is an unbeatable hook, help make the first four chapters riveting. Unfortunately, after the opening, the plot consists almost entirely of Dr. Uemura accosting all the players repeatedly and studying their reactions in minute detail?a process that is too static and renders this a thriller without a lasting punch.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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