"A stellar psychological thriller with a surprising and immensely satisfying resolution that flows naturally from the book's complex characterizations. Read more...
"A stellar psychological thriller with a surprising and immensely satisfying resolution that flows naturally from the book's complex characterizations. Readers will agree that Matsumoto (1909-1992) deserves his reputation as Japan's Georges Simenon.-Publishers Weekly
While on a business trip to Kobe, Tsuneo Asai receives the news that his wife Eiko has died of a heart attack. Eiko had a heart condition so the news of her death wasn't totally unexpected. But the circumstances of her demise left Tsuneo, a softly-spoken government bureaucrat, perplexed. How did it come about that his wife--who was shy and withdrawn, and only left their house twice a week to go to haiku meetings--ended up dead in a small shop in a shady Tokyo neighborhood?
When Tsuneo goes to apologize to the boutique owner for the trouble caused by his wife's death he discovers the villa Tachibana near by, a house known to be a meeting place for secret lovers. As he digs deeper into his wife's recent past, he must eventually conclude that she led a double life...
Seicho Matsumoto was Japan's most successful thriller writer. His first detective novel, Points and Lines, sold over a million copies in Japan. Vessel of Sand, published in English as Inspector Imanishi Investigates in 1989, sold over four million copies and became a movie box-office hit.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-06-20
- Reviewer: Staff
Why would a woman with a serious heart condition risk her health by climbing a steep hill in an area where she knew no one? That conundrum obsesses Japanese bureaucrat Tsuneo Asai, the hero of this stellar psychological thriller from Matsumoto (Inspector Imanishi Investigates). Asai, a section chief in the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, is on a business trip with his boss when word reaches him that his wife, Eiko, who had a heart condition, has died suddenly in Tokyo. Despite the emotional distance in their relationship, the tragedy is a shock to Asai, though not enough to make him put aside his professional obligations before he arranges travel home. Asai questions the official version of her death—that she suffered a heart attack in the street, and collapsed inside a nearby cosmetics store—and figures out that her fatal collapse was triggered by Eiko overexerting herself elsewhere. His pursuit of the truth becomes all-consuming, building to a surprising and immensely satisfying resolution that flows naturally from the book’s complex characterizations. Readers will agree that Matsumoto (1909–1992) deserves his reputation as Japan’s Georges Simenon. (Aug.)