A second novel proving the author's well-received debut (The Master Key) to be no fluke. Ichiro Honda is a good-looking computer expert who works in Tokyo, lives in a respectable hotel, and visits his wife, in Osaka with her wealthy father, only on weekends. Behind this unexceptional facade, his life is dedicated to the conquest of a never-ending succession of young women; a secret apartment facilitates his many phony identities, a diary records each seduction. One of his victims is Keiko Obana, a dreamy key-punch operator who commits suicide when pregnancy results from her one night with Honda, a fact the police disclose only to her sister Tsuneko. Over the next months, three of Honda's bedmates are murdered. He's eventually convicted of two of the killings. The evidence against him--in part, blood and semen traces, lack of alibis and his diary--seems solid as granite, but elderly Kentaro Hatanaka, his appeal lawyer, is a man of sensitivity, tenacity and imagination. He needs all of those qualities to get to the surprise spider in this tightly woven web. Full of subtly menacing tensions and sharp psychological insights, told in lean, sparsely ornamented style. This one is a must for the discerning reader.