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Q.E.D., vol. 32, by Katou Motohiro. Grade: B
For those of you not familiar with the series, the title comes from the Greek expression "quod erat demonstrandum", which translates roughly as "thus it is demonstrated". It's Sou Touma's favorite expression, and Motohiro works the initials into his artwork whenever the villain's secret is about to be exposed.
In this volume, there are again two main cases, although the first one doesn't actually involve a crime. Touma and Kana are at a theater watching a magic act. Kana keeps asking how the illusions are performed, and Touma keeps telling her that they're more fun if you don't know the trick, but she extorts the answers anyway and then acts all disappointed. The magician hears part of the conversation and sneaks up behind them to make Touma a bet - if he can perform a trick that Touma can't figure out, he'll take the volume of Professor Hoffmann's magic that the boy is carrying around. Touma agrees to the challenge. Later, after the two heroes meet the magician backstage, Kana overhears the guy desperately pleading to an assistant for help in creating an all-new illusion.
(Learning about futures trading.)
For the second case, Kana's father is working on the death of a white collar worker from a bank. What's not clear is if the worker tripped and banged his head on the counter behind him, or if he was pushed. If pushed, by whom and for what reason? Meanwhile, Touma and Kana are in a family restaurant when a news report announces that a programmer at a bank is wanted on charges of embezzlement. The programmer in question, Chris Flier, accidentally bumps into Touma, and it turns out that they know each other through Loki at MIT. She immediately disappears, but a waitress sees the exchange and notifies the police. A newspaper reporter gets a printout of the security camera photos and tracks down Kana to try to break the story. Thus the two kids find themselves in the world of high finance and risky hedge fund investments. Touma has to explain the idea of futures and hedging to Kana, and it looks like Flier may be the one that killed the guy from the bank.
(Which leads into a discussion of how hedge funds work.)
The story about the magician is rather unsatisfying, but it did cause me to look up Professor Hoffmann, and to consider getting a copy of his book on magic. The financial markets story is a very good introduction into futures trading, though, and is worth reading. Recommended.