This mystery portrays the horrors and pitfalls of a cashless society.?Written by one of the most popular female mystery authors in Japan today, the book became a sensation among fans of the genre as soon as it was published in 1992, rising to first place in the year's mystery-fiction rankings. It became a general bestseller as well, winning applause from critics and receiving the 1993 Yamamoto Shugoro Prize. Still popular today, the book has so far printed over 2.5 million copies. It has been translated into English and French, both to wide acclaim.
Police detective Shunsuke Honma, on leave following an injury, is asked by distant relative Kazuya Kurisaka to investigate the sudden disappearance of Kurisaka's fiancee. The woman, Shoko Sekine, seems not only to have vanished by her own will but to have utterly effaced all traces of her whereabouts. What, Honma wonders, could have driven Shoko to go this far? The only possible clue seems to lie in her past bankruptcy, a fact discovered by Kurisaka while he and Shoko were shopping together in preparation for their new life. Is this the reason for her flight? Where has Shoko gone? And who is she, really?
During his investigation Honma learns of the existence of a certain Kyoko Shinjo, a woman beset by creditors for her father's consumer loan debts. Kyoko, he discovers, had escaped her predicament by erasing her identity and pretending to become someone else. Could Kyoko's story be connected to his investigation?