Kuroneko Tantei no Jikenbo – the case file of the black cat detective
1. Kuroneko Tantei no Theme – theme of the black cat detective
2. Neko to Karasu – the cat and the crow
That day, when I visited the detective boarding house on Baker Street, a familiar newspaper reporter in the living room was in the midst of an eager conversation with the landlord.
This reporter is so enthusiastic about decorating the headlines of his newspaper that he would dig into trash cans and graves for the sake of a scoop; his colleague, half afraid and a half in awe of his passion, secretly called him “the crow.”
Perhaps he didn’t know about that.
Knowing or not knowing that I feel a bit awkward about the reporter when the black cat detective noticed me, he stood up, opened his arms, and welcomed me.
“You appeared at a very good time, Fox-kun”
“It’s been a long time; we were just talking about you. I’d love to hear your thoughts,” the reporter said.
3. Emerald wo Meguru – surrounding the emerald
Newspapers were folded and spread on the table placed between the detective and the reporter.
The newspapers were half a year old, from last year, from many years ago, and the dates of publication were disjoint, but I recalled all the articles.
“Did you read this morning’s newspaper?”, the detective said.
“Oh, it seems that “the Magician” has come out. There was a notice about their plan to steal the emerald that will be used for the upcoming show at the opera house”
“It’s unbelievably simple to use the headlines of newspaper articles!”
The detective said and exhaled the pipe smoke deeply as if he was a little afraid.
“But the modus operandi is always the same. They leave a notice card to a newspaper company, and they steal expensive gemstones that are guarded, with a technique that seems to be just magic…” the reporter said, while pitifully pointing to a newspaper article he unfolded.
“That’s what is confusing me,” the detective said.
“So, who are they, and why are they doing this?” I said.
“Now, did you think the rumors would spread and become opera ads… the unexpected mastermind could be the manager. Is that the emerald used on the stage play of Othello? It symbolizes the green-eyed monster. Anyway, I think it’s a bit premature to make an article concluding that the Magician is the culprit behind the notice card”
4. Iza Operaza e – now to the opera house
When the reporter, who was stingy for his job, went home, the black cat detective told me as if he had come up with it.
“Fox-kun, let’s go to see the Opera House tonight”
We went to the Royal Opera House station by subway and had a suitable dinner at the cafe.
In the meantime, the detective was looking up at the sky while incessantly smoking his pipe, as if he was pondering about something. In such a time, detectives are determined to ponder on stuff ordinary people can’t think of, so I decided to be quiet without talking.
When we arrived at the Opera House, there were two carriages beside the theater entrance.
“Look, that’s today’s protagonist.”
When I saw the detective pointing, there was a woman getting off the carriage.
Her elegant purple dress and her pale lemon-colored hair tied by a red ribbon gave her a noble aura as if she existed to collect the glances of the surroundings.
“She is Miss Violet. You’ve probably seen her photos” the detective said.
When the police sergeant Maple appeared from the second carriage, he rushed as soon as he found us.
“What you two came to do. Today we have several policemen as guard, there is enough help here”
“whaat, we are just-”
When I was trying to say that, the actress broke in with a supple movement.
“I called them. With a prodigious detective and his assistant, it will be safer”
“Having outsiders can be a source of trouble”
“Sergeant, you are working, we have a hobby. Let’s move on without invading each other”
The sergeant, who was still complaining, and our group entered the Opera House.
“You didn’t tell me to go to see the Opera,” I said.
“I told you to go to see the Opera House. You misunderstood me” he replied to his partner without fear.
5. Soutaisei Kyoukaisen
The actress’s dressing room was arranged according to the owner’s taste as if she was living there.
The sculptures made of white marble looked very fine, and the mantelpiece had a silver candlestick.
The detective was occasionally choking for the scent, due to a lot of large garlands that were supposedly gifts. One of the selling points of his partner is that he has a good sense of smell, but it seems that this advantage is not all convenient.
“You seem to have an interest in Greek stuff,” the detective said while giving an unreserved look at the room.
“My ancestors were born there. I have never been there, but this stuff makes me feel nostalgic. Would you like some tea and sweets?”
“No, it’s fine. Where is the gem in question?”
6. Hito no Tame
“Since the guards are troublesome, I’ve decided to use a replica on stage. The real one is being guarded by the manager in his room. …the one here is just a fake. I’m sorry to invite you to the play, but please feel free to go to see it, if you want to. Do you like Shakespeare?”
“That was Othello, the show”
“Yes, everyone in this town is fond of old things. They wouldn’t know it if it was a fake. Sometimes I get so tired of this job that I can’t stand it.”
The actress was able to sip tea with flowing action while talking.
“Are you sure you won’t eat the cake? I dislike berries… I’ll get the orange cake here”
“You seem so calm. In the face of all this excitement, you didn’t touch a nerve.”
I just said that because she seemed so carefree.
“There’s no point in panicking. But before the show, I spend an hour alone in my dressing room to calm myself down.”
As she said that, the actress gave a mysterious smile.
7. Koi no Yamai
“Hey, what do you think about her?”
Upon reaching the audience, the detective suddenly asked me that.
“Oh well… she seems mysterious. But that might be an actor thing”
“Is that all you’ve got? You look like you’ve had fairy potion applied to your eyelids for a while now.”
“Stop it, are you kidding me?”
After saying that, the detective silenced again.
There was a huge audience, partly because of the emerald’s previous reputation.
As the actress said, no one seemed to notice that the large gem she was wearing was a fake.
Indeed, I was thinking that if it was going to be this direct, I might as well make one of the warning letters myself.
8. Hajime no Ippo
When the jealous Othello tightened his wife’s neck, she fell like a soft cloth.
The scene turned, and the stage progressed around a doomed actress lying down, covered with a black cloth. The story ended there, with Othello finding out that he had killed his innocent wife and judging himself.
In crackling applause and cheers, the detective stood up.
“It’s here, it’s here. Let’s go, Fox-kun”
We moved away from the audience as I was hustled away by my partner, who had an unusually grim expression on his face.
In the dressing room, an even more grim-faced, rather weepy-looking sergeant Maple was sitting shivering in the dressing room.
“Ms. Violet is dead. When we removed the black cloth… her face was crushed by a blunt weapon, it looks awful. I don’t know when in the world she was killed, and there wasn’t a minute between I saw her moving on stage and the transition to the following act”
In the dressing room, the actress’s silk dress and marten’s scarf were scattered. The side table was filled with evening snacks and all the teacups and cake plates were left out.
“You guys, where did you place the guards?”
The black cat detective asked while looking at each of the scattered objects.
“We’ve sealed off the entrance to the theater and part of it is up to us to preserve the site….. We’ve just finished a roll call of the parties involved, who had access to the backstage area” the sergeant said, then suddenly huffed and screamed.
9. “Konkai wa Watashi janai ze” – “it wasn’t me this time”
“The theater is indeed a complex structure. The underground passage from the basement under the stage is like an ant’s nest. The culprit must have entered the manager’s office through an underground passage from the backstage and escaped back to the outside through the basement. Now that I’ve passed through it, I know it won’t take me more than three minutes if I’m familiar with it.”
The black cat detective said as if he had no one to explain to, while he lit the foot of the passage with his candle.
“Do you think it’s the work of the Magician?” I asked, and he thought a bit while holding onto the pipe.
“I don’t think the Magician has anything to do with this matter. Well, I may have made a mistake. I’ll hurry back upstairs, you can take your time getting back”
After saying that, my partner walked quickly back to the ground.
When I was walking, worrying about my footsteps echoing in the passage, I suddenly heard a voice from behind.
It was a female voice – of a girl who was still somehow innocent.
On the walls of the passage, two long shadows were projected. One was mine, and the other was unknown. That shadow appeared to be covered with a large, pointed triangle. It’s hard to tell from the outline alone what it was, but it seemed to be pointing something like a weapon at my back.
It was the Magician – I felt as if there was ice on my back.
“It wasn’t me this time. Tell that to the detective” as the owner of that voice said that, the bat-like silhouette slipped back in and in an instant, like magic, it disappeared without a trace.
10. Saewataru Meisuiri – distinct reasoning
On the ground, everyone was gathered around the detective and the body.
The black cat detective wanted to inspect the corpse for a while, but when he stood up, he sighed and started talking.
“Sergeant, you can break the security on the front. The culprit is no longer at this venue. It was easy. This corpse is not Ms. Violet.”
The detective took the hand of the corpse and showed me her finger while everyone was astonished.
“Some of her nails are stained purple. I guessed this was from the mulberry cake we had eaten in the dressing room a while ago. I thought it was strange because she said she did not eat any kind of berries. We were all fooled by the fact that we couldn’t see her face, but if we checked carefully, we could see that she was not the same person. It wouldn’t have been that difficult to get into the manager’s office and steal the emerald while the police were busy with the corpse. She was already dead at the time of the theft…… this is her alibi.”
“Then what about her? Where did she disappear?”
“Settle down, sergeant. From here I’m just guessing, but she’s probably going to head to Greece. I’m sure she is. Since she had a thing for Hellada…… you can stake out the harbor. There’s probably a flight out tonight. The jewel will be with her.”
11. Asai Nemuri – shallow sleep
A few days later, I was reading the newspaper at the detective house.
“It seems that the girl who died was a flower vendor and her identity is unknown. Apparently, she found a girl in the street who looked a lot like her and came up with the idea. No girl would refuse if a famous actress asked her to be her replacement. It’s a tragical story”
When I said so, the black cat detective shook his head.
“The lady was so confident that she called us to be her alibi witnesses. As expected from a lead actress”
“But for a long time, I didn’t understand your thoughts. How did you know from the beginning that the Magician wasn’t the culprit? It looks like you’re somehow sympathetic to each other”
There was no answer to my question.
My partner was sitting deep in his chair and closing his eyes.
Like a cat, he took a long nap.