(*Note, although this is the tenth in this series of reviews, I only encourage you to read my review of the first volume to get a summary of the series and my preamble about the reviews. It is not necessary to read any other entry in the series besides the first)
Volumes 6 to 8 were a breath of fresh air for a series that started off so mediocrely. Although Volume 9 stumbled a bit, with a very uneven assortment of stories, it evened up by the end with a pretty good alibi trick inside of a decent, if underrealized, mystery tale. The average quality of the stories has improved considerably since the first few volumes, and I now found myself reading Detective Conan again casually, instead of beating out volumes “waiting for it to get good”. Even a mediocre story from this stage of the game is considerably better than a good story from the first three volumes…
Volume 8 opens with Casebook 25 – Diplomat Murder Case (Chapters 2-6), in which a woman summons Richard to her husband’s study to help with a background check on her future daughter-in-law, who is “too perfect to be good”! However, when the gang arrives at the scene, they find that the husband, a diplomat, has been killed by a poison prick-pin! Worse yet, the room was locked-and-sealed, and when the murder must’ve occurred, not only did everyone have an alibi but one person, but the only keys to the door were either in the victim’s pocket or the wife’s pocket (who was away from the house).
While struggling to piece together the mystery, Conan struggles with a fierce fever. Worse yet, a new detective named Harley Hatwell has shown up and named himself Jimmy’s rival — and he’s about to walk into the killer’s trap and blow the whole case!
This one’s fun, I really like the introduction of Harley as having him bounce ideas off of Conan and also butt heads with him makes the reasoning/deduction segments of Detective Conan more engaging and fun. The mystery itself is a bit minor for a feature-length story, though, as a lot of the story was basically dedicated to the locked-room mystery’s false solution as well as setting up the final confrontation between Jimmy (Conan) and Harley.
The locked-room mystery is fairly basic. The solution is a decent reworking of an age-old trick. However, the way it’s applied here is a lot more elegant on account of the way the presentation of the locked-room is handled. It makes the killer’s actions more natural so that the age-old solution doesn’t quite jump out at you like it would if this story played it entirely like those other stories tend to… This reworking of this particular solution type also lends itself to some fun cluing.
This is a decent story. The introduction of Harley is significant, and the denouement is a very good scene, but the mystery plot is just mediocre.
Immediately after this is Casebook 26 – Library Employee Murder Case (Chapters 6-8), the first story in the series to share chapters with another story, as chapter 6, the ending of Diplomat Murder Case is a direct tie-in to the beginning of this case (not that it matters to the plot).
Newly reinvigorated with the knowledge of how to return to his adult body, Jimmy accompanies the Junior Detective League on one last case where they investigate the disappearance and presumed murder of an employee… While there, they hunt for the secrets of the owner of the library while their life is in danger!
Okay, fine! I really liked this Junior Detective League story! There’s a fairly-clued, if obvious, “Purloined Letter”-esque trick with the hiding place of a particular item in the story. The real puncher here, though, is the hiding place of the body, which is just mildly clever on its own, but is further elevated by a really clever piece of mathematic misdirection.
Not an astoundingly brilliant one, but I really enjoyed this one.
The volume ends on Casebook 27 – Medical Professors Murder Case (Volumes 10-11, Chapters 9-1), in which the Moores are stranded outside on a ski trip after Richard loses their lodge keys. The family is, fortunately, saved by a band of medical professors who invite them to spend the night at their private lodge. However, while there, the head professor under which the others study is murdered violently, and it appears he’s left behind a message identifying his killer…!
This one is ingenious in all of the ways that dying messages tend to be, but also absurd in all of the ways that dying messages tend to be. The message involves intimate knowledge of Japanese culture and language, and also demands you be reading the story in Japanese or else you just won’t get any of the clues that actually reveal the solution to you in the character names…
I think this one is wildly ingenious, but for some reason I just didn’t find it very satisfying. I give it points for cleverness, but I didn’t actually really enjoy this one.
Volume 10 is much more even than Volume 9! While it never quite reaches the highs of any of the volumes before it, there are no standout bad stories in this volume! This is all-around a good, balanced collection of Detective Conan tales.
- ————THE GOOD————
Moonlight Sonata (CB#18 V7 C2-7)
- Art Collector (CB#15 V6 C2-5)
- Tenkaichi Festival (CB#17 V6-7 C9-1)
- Bandaged Man (CB#12 V5 C1-5)
- Night Baron (CB#20 V8 C2-7)
- Wealthy Daughter (CB#24 V9-10 C7-1)
- Art Museum Owner (CB#9 V4 C1-3)
- Library Employee Murder Case (CB#26 V10 C6-8)
- ————THE DECENT————
Poisoned Bride (CB#21 V8 C8-10)
KogoroRichard’s Reunion (CB#23 V9 C4-6)
- Strange Shadow (CB#4 V2 C1-3)
- Diplomat Murder Case (CB#25 V10 C 2-6)
- LEX Vocalist (CB#13 V6 C6-9)
- Hatamoto Murder (CB#7 V3 C1-6)
- Shinkansen Bombing (CB#10 V4, C4-6)
- Conan Kidnapping (CB#14 V5-6 C10-1)
- Medical Professor (CB#27 V10-11 C9-1)
- ————THE BAD————
Haunted Mansion Case (CB#6 V2, C8-10)
- Idol Locked-Room (CB#3 V1, C6-9)
- Roller Coaster (CB#1 V1 C1)
- Soccer Brother (CB#19 V7-8 C8-1)
- Monthly Presents (CB#8 V3 C7-10)
- Twin Brothers (CB#16 V6 C6-8)
- President’s Daughter (CB#2 V1, C2-5)
- Billion Yen (CB#5 V2 C4-7)
- ORO (CB#11 V4 C7-9)
- Ayumi Kidnapping (CB#22 V9 C-13)