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Q.E.D., vol. 14, by Katou Motohiro. Grade: B
Natsuyasumi Jiken (Summer Vacation Incident, Great Magazine, 2002.) Kana is in the kendo dojo talking to her sempai, Ritsuko Shimazu, when a basketball comes flying across the field at the dojo building and through the window. Touma hears that Kana's been injured and he rushes over to see if she's ok (she twisted her wrist when Shimazu pushed her out of the way). Akira Kakizawa runs into the room also. He'd been dating Ritsuko, but they've been fighting recently, and because he's on the basketball team, she thinks that he threw the ball at her. However, the field had been empty at the time and it looks like this may be one more of the mystery events plaguing the school this summer. A strange person is seen lurking next to the broken window and he gets captured, only to turn out to be Akira's friend, Mamoru Oshio, shutterbug and a member of the school's newspaper club. Kana sees a girl standing to the side before running off - she's identified as Rei Kusama, a calligraphy club member.
(Ritsuko sees Mamoru and Akira staring at some new graffiti.)
As a reporter, Mamoru has collected data on the 4 "mysteries". 1) An "x" painted on a classroom floor on the 3rd floor of the school. 2) A graffiti painting in the 3rd floor hallway of someone holding a basketball and kendo sword. It had appeared right around when Ritsuko was seen going into her classroom, and was discovered by Akira and Mamoru. 3) A metal trashcan in front of the calligraphy clubroom was found with some burned paper in it. 4) The basketball flying out from nowhere into the kendo club's window. Mamoru adds that Rei had given him a love letter to deliver to Akira. The assumption is that Ritsuko had found the love letter and burned it in front of the door. Rei had gotten angry and took her pain out on Akira, which Akira misunderstands and he responds by throwing the basketball at the dojo. It's up to Touma to straighten everything out.
(Recreating the crime.)
Unlike in past cases involving friends like this, Touma doesn't ask them to not hold a grudge at the end. Kana says that it's good that no one had gotten hurt, and Touma comments that that's not true. So, why did each event happen in such a way as to provide Rei, Ritsuko, Mamoru and Akira alibis in a particular order? How did the wall graffiti spring up in such a short time with no one seeing it happen? What was the strange sound Rei had been hearing recently? Where did the basketball come from? Why was a sheet of plywood found behind the kendo club building? Who exactly was responsible for the mysteries, and why would he/she/they do all of this?
No real science this time, just a demonstration of gravity and 3D simulation software.
(Satomi wasn't told that the day's game was canceled because of rain.)
Iregyura- Baund (Irregular Bound, Great Magazine, 2002). Hisamichi Toyoda, a corrupt city councilman, is found next to his small private airplane in F-prefecture (probably Fukushima), passing out from the loss of blood from a knife wound in his arm. There's blood in the plane and on the flight controls, indicating that he'd been stabbed elsewhere (Tokyo airport). Det. Misuhara is called in to investigate from the Tokyo side. We get a flashback to a few days earlier, where Touma was forced to play on Kana's and her father's team in a "friendly" baseball game against Toyoda's team. Toyoda lives for baseball, and he hates losing. He takes his anger out on the glove of one Satomi, a company player that has been playing baseball almost all his life; the glove came from his father, and he attacks Toyoda. The next day, Satomi's boss drags him to Toyoda's office to apologize with a $10,000 "political contribution". Toyoda accepts the apology and hints that he's going to fly his prop plane to Fukushima to spend it all on his mistress. Satomi is stunned, thinking that the money could be better used to buy new uniforms and equipment for the baseball team. He then builds up an alibi and arranges to be at the airport when the corrupt city council member arrives.
(Do NOT mess with Kana.)
There is one more suspect, Shuuichi Toyoda, the victim's son. He'd been demanding money from his father, and was constantly turned down. Shuuichi was on the bullet train to Fukushima at the time of the crime. Questions: Did Satomi try to kill Toyoda over $10,000? Where did the money go? Why was Shuuichi trying to get to Fukushima so fast? What was Satomi's alibi, and how is it broken? Why is it so important to solve the crime before Toyoda recovers from his coma in the hospital?
No science again. Just a look at daily life in Tokyo, politics as normal, and a short description of why radio broadcasts of sports events happen a few seconds ahead of the televised video.
Comments: Summer Vacation Incident feels like filler. The only really purpose is to show that Touma is very protective of Kana and hates it when she gets hurt. Irregular Bound leaves us with one big question - Why was Kana, a civilian minor, allowed into the hospital when Toyoda's attacker was expected to finish him off? Sure, she can defend herself (and she does), but it is kind of against department policy for her to be there. Anyway, it's still mindless entertainment. Recommended.