Kinue Nomura survived World War II only to be murdered in Tokyo, her severed limbs discovered in a room locked from the inside. Gone is the part of her that bore one of the most beautiful full-body tattoos ever rendered. Kenzo Matsushita, a young doctor who was first to discover the crime scene, feels compelled to assist his detective brother, who is in charge of the case. But Kenzo has a secret: he was Kinue's lover, and soon his involvement in the investigation becomes as twisted and complex as the writhing snakes that once adorned Kinue's torso.
'Like voyeurs, we follow Takagi down the charred streets of bombed-out Tokyo to scenes of fastidiously executed decadence' - The New York Times.