* By: Richard Lloyd Parry *
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Girox, New York, www.fsgbooks.com *
Copyright: 2012, ISBN:  *
Cover: Abby Kagan *
Reviewed by: Lynard Barnes, June 19, 2013 *
* Summary: Murder in a foreign land and the strange culture of Japan. Better than Truman Capote’s IN COLD BLOOD? PEOPLE WHO EAT DARKNESS is on an entirely different level where the facts are the facts and the ambience is weaved from the tightly drawn threads of two societies. *
First, the crime. *
In May 2000, Lucie Blackman and her best friend, Louise Phillips, left their native England via Heathrow Airport and arrived at Japan’s Narita Airport. Upon arriving in Japan, the pair eventually settled in an entertainment district of Tokyo known as Roppongi (a place with the motto, according to the author, “High Touch Town”). By July 2000, Lucie had disappeared from the face of the earth.
Author Richard Parry’s treatment of Lucie Blackman’s murder is like a photographer with a zoom lens, constantly adjusting focus. While most true crime books focus on the victim or the perpetrator, Parry zooms out far enough to give us the social morass in which the crime takes place. Parry brings a unique qualification to this task by being the Asia editor and Tokyo bureau chief of the London TIMES. His treatment of the crime leaves a slightly queasy feeling about our “civilized” societies. A twenty-one year old woman leaves home for a foreign land to find a way to pay off her debts; a forty-eight year old businessman spends thirty years as a serial rapist, treating women as disposable objects. Stepping back from these transient circumstances which brought these two totally different people together, we find two dysfunctional families with just enough buoyancy to maintain a semblance of “normal” for their time and place.