Too Many Detectives

"Go to fuckin' Toys R' Us and get a Sherlock Holmes detective kit, and put the hat on with the magnifying glass and look for clues. You little brat."
- Anthony Cumia
The content of the 50th volume of Case Closed, also known as Detective Conan, was not what you'd expect from a milestone in the series, except for the final chapters, which brings Harley Hartwell in for a story that took place before the series began – involving two seemingly impossible murders in a ski-lift and a legendary snow spirit. However, that's not to say the other two stories were bad, but nothing grand in the way of the 30th volume.

In the first story, Takagi and Sato, from the Metropolitan Police Department, bump into each other at a mixer for singles. As to be expected by now, Conan, Rachel and the great "Sleeping Moore" are there as well, but, surprisingly, nobody ends being murdered.

A young boy, Kota, is swapped for a ransom demand of one million yen (less than ten thousand euros/dollars) and there are three potential suspects, who didn't show up at the singles mixer. It's one of those stories that regular pops-up in the series, in which Conan has to deduce the culprit from a group of only three or four suspects – based on behavior, clothes or items they carried. The clues and red herrings here consist of a rare trading card, lottery tickets, collectible banknotes and an unexciting game of baseball. Not an outstanding story, but good enough, and Takagi finally got to play the hero.

The second story opens with a request from a freelance writer, Masato Sugimori, to Ms. Kobayashi to interview the Junior Detective League from her class, because he's heard they've been assisting the police in several investigations. Even in murder cases!

However, when they come around to his place the following day, they find out that the interview is cancelled: someone bludgeoned Mr. Sugimori to death with a photo-tripod. The plot rehashes a time-alibi trick from an earlier volume, but the main problem here was how Conan was going to solve the case, while their teacher was peeking over their shoulders. I'm usually not too fond of the stories with the Junior Detective League (i.e. dead weight), but here they were actually somewhat useful. Not too bad, but, plot-wise, not too original either.

In the final story, Conan and Harley have a braggers conversation over the phone about the amount of cases they've solved and who's the better detective. Harley has a story for Conan about the best detective he has ever met during one of his first investigations: a man apparently committed suicide while riding alone on a ski lift. There was a gunshot wound to the head and a gun clenched in his hand, but what goes against the simple explanation of suicide is the presence of a snow-filled bag next to the body. The case goes unsolved and few years later a mystery movie is being shot at the snow resort, based on the case, but history repeats itself again – leaving a body in exactly the same situation as a few years before. An unlikely suicide, but murder seems impossible.

Unbeknownst to Harley, Conan (then Jimmy Kudo) was there as well, but they kept walking pass each other the entire time, but there are more detectives prowling the snow-covered slopes of the resort. One of them being a private eye, Rikuto Katashina, who's convinced these suicides are murders and yet another detective reveals himself towards the ending – having merely observed and listened to what was going on. The explanation will be revealed in the first chapter of the next volume, but I have a pretty good idea about the identity of the murderer and the motive. I'm a bit sketchy about the trick, but considering it took place on a ski lift, Aoyama's preferred method for impossible crimes and the bags of snow, I have a rough idea how it was pulled off. 

All in all, a decent volume of stories, but like I said, I was hoping for something more grander than for the 50th volume in the series.

By the way, is Aoyama the most prolific writer of sports (related) mysteries? There have been numerous stories centered around football (soccer), baseball, tennis, skiing, professional wrestling, fishing, kendo, karate, etc. I can't recall any other mystery writer who had so many sports and outdoors-activity related detective stories. And a regular review will be up before the end of the weekend.


  1. I don't know if Aoyama's the most prolific in that particular field, but I do know he has a lot of interest in sports in general. Some of his older (pre-Conan) series/one-shots also deal with sports, like kendo in Yaiba and baseball in 4-Ban Third.

    Also, because of the way manga are serialized, collected volumes are seldom seen as particular milestones in publication history of any given series; this is usually reserved for special chapter numbers (they are at file 919 now, so maybe something at file 1000?)

    1. Well, the series has to end at some point, right? And a 1000 files covering hundreds of cases is an impressive accomplishment, but I'm saying that with the comfortibility of years of volumes still ahead.

    2. Oh, speaking of things we've been waiting for (horrible bridge!): I finally read "De Laatste Kans"! (But the review probably won't appear until *looks at to-be-posted schedule*..... late October. Hmm.

    3. B-but we'll be WW3 veterans by the time that review is published!

      Did you think it was any good? I still think it's one of the best Dutch detective novels I have read to date.

    4. Oh, I definitely enjoyed the book. I was juggling between "The Laatste Kans" and another book and they both happened to try to do the same thing, so I caught on quite fast, but despite that, I had a great time with it.

    5. I'm glad you enjoyed it! It was about time another fan of the (neo) classics began to appreciate the Bureau Heuvelrug-series. You'll probably enjoy all of the titles (originally) published by De Lees Kamer. I recommend Een afgesloten huis.

      If you like neo-orthodox mysteries with locked rooms and gruesome murders, you'll enjoy Een afgesloten huis. En dat in het Nederlands. Je verwacht het niet.