Shinsuke Amemura works as a bartender at the bar Myoga. One day as he is closing up, he is attacked by an unidentified man. Although he escapes with his life, he soon realizes that he suffers from partial amnesia, particularly with regard to a traffic accident from a year ago in which he was deemed at fault. Police investigations determine that his attacker is Reiji Kishinaka, whose wife, Minae, died in the accident. A short while later, Reiji takes his own life by poisoning himself, leaving behind a mannequin in Minae’s image. He had been a mannequin-maker by trade.
It then emerges that it was actually another vehicle that had killed Reiji’s wife in the multi-car accident, when its driver, Haruhiko Kiuchi, swerved in an attempt to avoid hitting Shinsuke’s car. But something still doesn’t sit right with Shinsuke; something keeps tugging at his memory. Meanwhile, a mysterious woman who gives her name as Ruriko appears at Myoga. Shinsuke feels drawn to her, but then he learns that she is the spitting image of the mannequin Reiji made of his wife.
New facts continue to come to light. In truth, the driver of the car that caused the accident was neither Shinsuke nor Kiuchi. Ejima, the owner of a bar where Shinsuke used to work, had paid Shinsuke to take the blame for him, and similarly, Kiuchi had taken the blame for Midori, Ejima’s fiancée. After finally recovering his full memory of the events, Shinsuke is almost killed by Ejima, but escapes by the skin of his teeth. Ruriko turns out to be Midori under possession by Minae’s vengeful spirit; under the spell of her eye, Ejima stabs himself in the eyes and goes blind.
Marketed as "a hidden masterpiece," the book has sold over a million copies. It is a work of a different flavor from other Higashino titles, not only in the nature of the story, but in literary style and characterization as well. Gradually peeling away the truth about the past and Shinsuke’s memory of it one layer at a time, this intricately crafted mystery captures the reader and never lets go.