The 12th appearance of Japan's Inspector Otani (The Bogus Buddha, etc.), now retired from the Hyogo prefectural police and persuaded to let author Melville record his ""reminiscences."" Here, he recalls a case that begins with an argument with his wife, Hanae; includes someone hitting him with a rifle bullet in a park near city hall; and involves the murder of an amateur Noh enthusiast, the wealthy Hideki Suminoe, whom Otani first saw performing at a shrine. Suminoe's two nephews come under scrutiny, as does his lawyer Susuma Narita, when it's discovered that his secret will has been opened; but neither the recuperating Otani nor Inspector Hara, presiding over the case--and, meanwhile, breaking up with his mistress, Otani's sister-in-law--uncovers the major clues: those will be found by patrolman Migishima as he roots through the suspects' garbage. Before the sad resolution, there'll also be another death and more conflict with Hanae and his sister-in-law. Awkward authorial intrusions (Otani addressing Melville directly) and a rather unimaginative murder plot, but Otani's grappling with a Freudian lament--what do women want?--and his concern for his officers are compelling.