People Who Eat Darkness: the murder of Lucie Blackman

Richard Lloyd Parry's meticulous account of the murder of Lucie Blackman, the British bar hostess whose dismembered body was found in a seaside cave months after her sudden disappearance in Tokyo .

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People Who Eat Darkness
Richard Lloyd Parry
Jonathan Cape

In 2000, Lucie Blackman stepped into "the vastness of Tokyo in summer" and disappeared. The following winter her dismembered remains were found buried in a seaside cave.

In the months separating these events, the search for the 21-year-old, the investigation and the arrest of Joji Obara, who was charged with Lucie's rape and murder, played out across the world media.

The journalist Richard Lloyd Parry recalls how Lucie became "the symbol of a certain kind of victimhood: the young woman who comes to a ghastly end in an exotic land".

She was a hostess in Roponggi and her story spoke of the seedy underbelly of a little understood culture.

Lloyd Parry attempts to reconstruct the life led, as well as the death met, by Lucie. He notably resists moral judgement of Lucie's father Tim's acceptance of blood money.

He is meticulous, but his bid to restore Lucie's status as a "normal person ... complex and loveable in her ordinariness" can only ever be partial. The fact of her victimhood is unavoidable. However noble his efforts to excavate her from it, it alone justifies this biography of a complex place, a riven family and a brutal crime.