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Q.E.D., vol. 22, by Katou Motohiro. Grade: B
(Akabane discovers the pilot's uniform in an abandoned apartment.)
Natsu no Ogawa (Summer Stream, Great Magazine, 2005). Kana and Touma are walking along a stream not too far from Mount Fuji, when they see a despondent-looking guy wearing a kimono walking into the cold mountain water. Thinking that he's going to drown himself, Kana pushes Touma into the stream to stop him. Turns out that the guy, Keisetsu Akabane, is an artist and was just trying to pick a flower to draw. He's approached by several people that claim that he's someone else - a pilot or doctor. He's been the victim of mistaken identity ever since getting hit by a car and losing part of his memory. When everyone else leaves, he talks to his wife about remembering where his "great treasure" is hidden. He's visited by an art dealer who wants his next painting to exhibit in his gallery, but Keisetsu is in the middle of a slump and hasn't been able to draw in months.
(Touma explains to Akabane why no one noticed the corpse lying at the bottom of a clear pool in a cave in Mount Fuji.)
Questions: Why do so many people keep mistaking Akabane for someone else? What is the treasure he's looking for? What do the sketches he's made of a cave in Mount Fuji mean? Why are all of his sketches so amateurish? Why does the art gallery dealer keep stalking him? And why doesn't anyone else talk to his wife when she's in the room?
The only real science is another repeat of the reflective effect you get with something being hidden in water, the rest is just an exploration into mental illness.
(Alan Brad gets kidnapped in Italy.)
Benechian Meikyuu (Venetian Maze, Great Magazine, 2005). Alan Brad, CEO of Alan Soft, Corp., is back. He's trying to set up romantic dinners with his secretary, Elly, but not getting very far with her. So he flies Kana and Touma out to Italy to pick out an engagement ring for him. As the three are walking out of the jewelry story, 3 inept guys wearing hoods rush out of the bank next door and grab Alan as a hostage. They drive off. Later, Elly and Touma work with the police to try to find her boss. The would-be robbers are brothers, leather workers that had lost their shop to the bank when it decided to foreclose on their building for a subprime loan when the economy went bad. Alan has to tell the brothers to call Touma to turn this into a kidnapping for ransom scheme. The brothers are basically nice guys, along the lines of the Three Stooges. Eventually, they relocate to their mother's house. She's the smarter and more ruthless member of the family, and when she discovers the ring Alan bought, she takes it knowing exactly how much it's worth (millions), while pretending it's just a glass trinket.
(Elly shows that she doesn't like it when Alan makes her worry.)
The mother arranges the money for hostage exchange, using a gondola that belonged to her deceased husband. The police try to follow the gondola with a motor boat, but lose it in the canal ways. Touma gets the police to let him review the bank's security cameras, and he notices that there may be an inside man (a fourth brother) in the bank. The brothers get the money, and Alan is returned safely, but now Elly is furious because he made her worry about him. Questions: How did the gondola disappear? What does having a fourth brother mean in this case? What will Alan do now that he doesn't have the engagement ring? Will Elly turn him down? How can Touma track down the whereabouts of the family once they get outside of Venice?
No science. Just lots of nice Italian scenery, and the mention of the Trio Sonata.
Comments: Nothing really worth commenting about this time. "Summer Stream" is more of a psychological mystery, and "Venetian Maze" almost borders on slapstick. (The only informative part of VM is that Elly explains why she decided to work for Alan - although he tries to hide it, he really cares about other people.) Recommended if you like the rest of the series.