Who’s killing off members of Kyoto’s artistic Nobuki family, and why? First a son is murdered on a visit to Napa, California; then a sniper nearly succeeds in gunning down the father, a famous artist. After the younger son and his fiance are thrown off a precipice in Kyoto, the sole daughter — an anti-nuclear activist — and her attorney husband vanish upon their arrival at Narita airport.
When California police require help on matters Japanese, they turn to Jim Brodie. Raised in Tokyo and fluent in the language, Brodie leads a double life, dealing in Japanese antiques and objets d’art, which he sells at his shop in San Francisco. He also inherited a Tokyo security agency from his late father and serves as a corporate figurehead for the Japanese staff.