Haunting story of a murder in Tokyo in 2000.
In the summer of that year, a 21-year-old British woman, Lucie Blackman, disappeared while on a date. Seven months later her remains were found in a seaside cave. Times (London) Tokyo bureau chief Parry (In the Time of Madness: Indonesia on the Edge of Chaos, 2005) paints portraits of both the victim and perpetrator, exploring how Blackman’s past led her to Japan to find work as a “hostess,” a little-understood profession with murky boundaries that defies easy explanation. In describing the months spent hunting for signs of the missing woman, Parry gives readers an inside view of the Tokyo police force. The Blackman family was a constant presence in Tokyo during the search. By explaining their unhappy dealings with the police, use of media appearances to keep attention on the case, and increasingly desperate attempts to find answers, Parry gives the story an extra sense of depth and urgency. The account of the trial of Joji Obara, Blackman’s mystery date, serves as a window not just into Obara’s mind, but also into Japan’s legal system. While much of his life remains a mystery, the author sheds some light on Obara’s character through family history and Obara’s participation in his defense. Though Parry is a journalist, this book often has the feel of a memoir. In the beginning, this disturbs the flow of the narrative, but eventually the author becomes one of the characters and the asides become an enjoyable part of the story.
A fresh, compelling read for fans of true crime and slowly unfolding mysteries.