Japan 1985 – a young English woman battles her conscience.
A page-turning suspense novel…
Money blows across a field, the notes slapping against the stubble of dry rice stalks. Mr Ito walks towards the irrigation ditch at the end of his field, his rubber boots kicking up dust.
Standing at the ditch, he remembers the rumour; the one about the missing English woman.
But this is Mari’s story. She knows it’s her fault that her sister died, and trying to move on, she takes a dream job teaching English in small-town Japan. It turns into a nightmare when Mari learns that she’s employed by the yakuza (Japanese mafia), and that the man she loves has his own dark secrets. When the yakuza play their final hand, Mari believes that once again, it’s all her fault.
Kanzashi by Christopher Kincaid is an absorbing read about a maiko’s struggle to find her place in the world.
WHAT IS THE BOOK ABOUT
Geikos are women skilled in the art of entertaining men with dancing, singing, pouring drinks, and telling stories. Maikos are apprentice geikos.
Mameko is one such maiko, training to be a geiko under the stern guidance of her mother. Her calendar is choc-a-bloc with training, appointments, and other social demands of a maiko. Being a daughter of a prominent geiko family, everyone thinks life is easy for her. However, only Mameko knows how hard she works.
Amid all these, one of Mameko’s patrons, Mr. Funaki (who is also an important politician), is murdered with her hairpin stuck in his throat, thus, making her the prime suspect. She must resist the police’s effort to make her confess to the crime and find the true killer, or else her dream of becoming a geiko will never be fulfilled.
Meryl, a Vietnam war widow, feels forlorn as her son has moved to Japan, and her aged father has remarried. A WWII Japanese flag, the last message of its bearer scribbled on it in his blood dried long ago, falls into her hands. She wants to return the flag to the soldier’s family but is reluctant to step out of her world.
After a gentle nudge from a love-struck professor and a not-so-subtle push from her father and cousin, she sets out to return the flag to where it belongs—Japan. Along the way, she meets many people – all of whom help her in reaching her destination one step closer while also helping her find herself.