Tag Archive | mystery

Review: Case Closed, Vol. 5

Case Closed, Vol. 5
Case Closed, Vol. 5 by Gosho Aoyama

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“I’m high-school detective Shinichi Kudo. When I went to an amusement park with my childhood friend and classmate, Ran Mouri, I saw a suspicious transaction between some men in black. While I was watching the deal, I didn’t notice another man in black coming at me from behind. The man gave me some poison, and when I woke up… My body had shrunk! If they found out that Shinichi Kudo was still alive, they will come after me and put people around me in danger. Following Professor Agasa’s advice to hide my true identity, I blurted out ‘Conan Edogawa’ when Ran asked for my name. In order to get more information on the men in black, I decided to stay with Ran whose father is a private detective. However, because her father is such a lousy detective, I’ve been using my own deductive ability to solve cases for him. Thanks to me, he’s a famous detective. I may have shrunk, but my intellect is still that of a great detective. There is always only one truth!”

This book consists of two finished cases and one unfinished case.

The first case is a brutal mutilation case. Close the book immediately if you can’t stomach a dismembered corpse.
Ran and Conan are invited to one of the mountain villa of Suzuki family by Sonoko Suzuki, the second daughter happened to be Ran’s best friend and classmate. They meet with other guests invited to the villa belonging to the same film club as the first daughter of the family, Ayako, minus a girl dead about two years ago. The mention of her name raises the tension in the room somehow. Before Conan truly grasp the truth about the death, one of the members of the club has gone missing and the body is found brutally murdered in the forest in such terrible state. Is the murderer one of the rest members of the club or the suspicious bandaged man which some of them encounter on their way to the villa? Why the murderer is determined to make Ran the second victim? This will be the first case portraying the birth of Deduction Queen Sonoko.

The second case is a tragic poisoning case because of a misunderstanding.
Through her father’s connections, Sonoko gets a lucky chance to meet her favorite singer, Tatsuya Kimura. She invites Ran and Conan to accompany her and together they enjoy a karaoke session with the singer, his manager and band mates. Unfortunately, the joyful session ends when Tatsuya starts to criticize and insults the others when he is very drunk. Apparently, one of them cannot take his insults very well since the singer starts coughing blood and collapses to his death after eating the served food. Yet, the evidence found on Tatsuya’s car brings another possibility. Is it homicide or suicide? This is the very first time Conan uses his true identity as Shinichi to solve the case after being shrunk, through the speaker in the karaoke room.

The third case is a rather peculiar kidnapping case.
An unfamiliar woman comes to Mouri Agency and introduces herself as Conan’s mother to Ran who opens the door. Being worried with Conan’s parents not having tried to contact them regarding their son, Ran is very happy to return Conan to the lady. Later on her car, Conan confronts her about her true identity and to his dismay, the woman knows about his real parents: Shinichi Kudo’s parents. Now Conan is trapped in a very dangerous game. Are the woman and her partner, a masked man, really members of Black Organization? Can he stop their horrible plan to poison another target? Can he even escape from dangerous positions they keep putting him in with his current state?

What I do like from this book
• The first case. It is the first introduction of Sonoko Suzuki and I like how Aoyama shapes the character. Even though she is the daughter of a very wealthy family, somehow she is not a pompous princess. She goes to the same school Ran goes to (even though she can go to much better school). She has a good friendship with Ran, someone who’s not her caliber. She acts like a normal teenager, dreaming of finding a boy for her (even though she practically can have everything she asks for with her family’s wealth and power). Though she gets jealous and angry when the man she is interested with prefers Ran, somehow it doesn’t affect their friendship (since she still walks home – that’s true, she walks home, not being picked up by a limousine or something – with Ran and invites her to meet Tatsuya afterwards). She might a bit stupid and ignorant (similar to Kogoro’s reaction when he is impersonated by Conan for the first time) and some might think that those are not suitable characters for a princess, I can’t care less. She is perfect that way.

What I don’t like from this book
• I totally agree with Conan’s inner voice when Ran constantly stumbles upon men in various naked states while trying to find their room in the villa. Why can’t she knock first? I won’t truly question the first mistake, but to repeat it two more times consecutively is rather… annoying. I mean, when you are invited to your friend’s villa and you think you are the only one to be invited, you can do the same mistake when you are facing so many doors (but you can prevent it by asking which room prepared for you). If you unintentionally enter a room and find it occupied already, you will think that some other rooms have been occupied as well, won’t you? Therefore, you will knock first to ensure the room is empty or not, or like I have mentioned before, ask your friend which room is for you. Surprisingly, the three men are changing clothes in the same time. It is a bit illogical, yet I understand its intention to humour the readers. And it actually works.
• I cannot fathom the mental state of the murderer to be able to endure bringing the head of the victim inside his clothes, on his stomach, no less. It is gross. Really. But again, he is capable to behead the victim as well as cut off her one hand and one leg, so maybe he doesn’t mind having the beheaded head so close to his body. Furthermore, I can’t fathom his reason to cut off the hand and the leg as well. He needs the head to create an alibi for him, but what is the benefit of cutting the hand and the leg? If he truly wants to dismember the victim, why stop with cutting a hand and a leg?
• And why oh why the only handsome man in the first case is such a scaredy-cat? It makes the murderer looks a lot better than him.
• The tragedy of the second case. What a stupid girl the murderer is. She has plastic surgery to make her beautiful, in hope to please Tatsuya. However, he doesn’t act as she expects him to. Because of that, she chooses murder? Oh come on. Can’t she just ask or speak to Tatsuya about it? Don’t be so weak! Regardless, she still admits that she loves him after killing him. Bullshit. If she truly loves him, she will try to understand his change first. I think she kills him because of her stinging pride that Tatsuya treats her bad after she turns into a beautiful woman. Somebody should shout in her ears: you want Tatsuya’s love? Beautify your brain first before your face.
• Due to his recklessness in using his name to solve the second case, Ran waits for him in front of his house for hours, thinking that he has returned. Not wanting to disappoint her, Conan turns off the power in his house and touches Ran’s hand on the railing, pretending to be his old self. However, no matter what, he touches Ran with Conan’s hand, a hand of a child. Can’t Ran realize it? Obviously the size of Shinichi’s hand and Conan’s hand is different, and she is supposed to notice it even during the blackout. Should I just overlook it because love is blind?
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Review: Case Closed, Vol. 4

Case Closed, Vol. 4
Case Closed, Vol. 4 by Gosho Aoyama

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“I’m high-school detective Shinichi Kudo. When I went to an amusement park with my childhood friend and classmate, Ran Mouri, I saw a suspicious transaction between some men in black. While I was watching the deal, I didn’t notice another man in black coming at me from behind. The man gave me some poison, and when I woke up… My body had shrunk! If they found out that Shinichi Kudo was still alive, they will come after me and put people around me in danger. Following Professor Agasa’s advice to hide my true identity, I blurted out ‘Conan Edogawa’ when Ran asked for my name. In order to get more information on the men in black, I decided to stay with Ran whose father is a private detective. However, because her father is such a lousy detective, I’ve been using my own deductive ability to solve cases for him. Thanks to me, he’s a famous detective. I may have shrunk, but my intellect is still that of a great detective. There is always only one truth!”

This book consists of three finished cases.

The first case is depicting the bloody and vicious artwork.

Superstitious phenomenon of walking armoured knight is rumoured to be happened in Beika Art Museum. Feeling curious, Ran persuades Conan and Kogoro to pay the museum a visit. Not only they find that the museum is almost devoid of visitors, they learn that the museum is on the verge of closing permanently. After a grand tour to the whole part of the museum, exhausting Conan and Kogoro, Ran notices another part of the museum they haven’t see yet, the Hell Gallery. There they find a scene taken from the hell itself, a gruesome bloody murder imitating ‘Divine Punishment’, a no less gruesome painting. The surveillance camera records the whole scene… revealing the impossible murderer: a walking armoured knight. A piece of paper written and thrown by the victim in his last moment shows the name of the murderer… Will the case be solved that easily?

The second case is Conan’s third encounter with Black Organization, where he learns the name code of the two men he met at the amusement park.

Kogoro, Ran, and Conan are on their way to Kyoto on a train for the wedding of Kogoro’s friend. When Conan leaves his seat to keep Kogoro from questioning his parents leaving him behind without news, he accidentally finds out that Gin and Vodka are on the same train! Using a miniature hidden microphone on his glasses, another gadget by Professor Agasa, he manages to eavesdrop their horrible plan to kill someone they are supposed to meet at that train along with other passengers with a time bomb inside a black suitcase given to that certain person. Failing to stop them from leaving the train, Conan now must be successful to find the bomb before the time limit from four suspicious passengers: a salesman, a career woman, a deaf old man, and a mean-looking gigantic man.

The third case is the second case featuring the Detective Boys: too-easy-for-children codes or too-difficult-for-adults codes?

Ayumi accidentally takes the wrong bag similar to her own when she goes to the restroom during her visit to a museum with Ran and other members of the Detective Boys. The bag has a strange paper inside with weird symbols and the word ‘ORO’. The children believe it will lead them to hidden treasure and begin to solve and follow the code. They are unaware that three suspicious men are always lurking behind them, watching and waiting for the children to solve the code and find the treasure for them.

What I do like from this book
• Ran’s fear of ghost. It’s kind of irony because she is strong enough to punch a hole into the wall without even flinching.
• Shinichi, by any means, is a master of acting. He cleverly plays innocent acts of a child either to solve a case or to convince Ran that he is truly a 7-years-old boy. He can even do that in the presence of Black Organization. Poor Ran, though, who has no idea about Conan’s dilemma. She just thinks that Conan is a naughty child that she should keep watching for.
• This is the first case where the Detective Boys run into a dangerous case, since they deal with a gang of foreign thief. Yet somehow, they can beat the dangerous adults, the armed ones, no less, proving that the weakest can win against the strongest with the power of wit.
• My favorite scene in the second case: when Conan tries to find the certain person with the bomb from Gin and Vodka, and accidentally drop the black suitcase of the gigantic-looking man, only to reveal that the suitcase contains a large amount of cute underwear.

What I don’t like from this book
• The first case involves too much blood and violence for any children to stomach. Even the adults cannot truly tolerate the live recording of the murder. Yet, Megure, Mouri and several police let Conan (or maybe they do not notice him there) check the surveillance camera with them. Ran, who is also present at the crime scene, isn’t seen to watch it, but somehow she forgets about Conan.
• In the second case, Conan kicks the suitcase containing the bomb to prevent the bomb explodes in the bullet train. The bomb flies and explodes outside, far enough to not harm anybody. However, shouldn’t the bomb explode when Conan makes contact with the suitcase? Gin warns that the bomb will explode due to strong impact. So why the bomb is not explode even when Conan kicks it using his power-enhanced shoes?
• In the end of third case, Inspector Megure is shown to pat the children while smiling widely, thanking them for capturing the rest of the gang of the thief. However, shouldn’t he (and other policemen) reprimand or yell at the children as well? It happens at night and it is surely not the time for children to be outside without any adult with them, even though there are five of them. Moreover, none of their parents or guardians calls the police to report that the children are not home yet. Isn’t it strange? They’re only first graders; shouldn’t they be home after sunset?
• Though I find it funny, I also find that the children’s imagination about how they will be killed by the gang terrifying. What kind of TV programs that they watch or books they read? How could children of 7 years old think about being killed by being burnt and sunk? I don’t think children supposed to know about being shot with a gun either.
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Review: Case Closed, Vol. 3

Case Closed, Vol. 3
Case Closed, Vol. 3 by Gosho Aoyama

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“I’m high-school detective Shinichi Kudo. When I went to an amusement park with my childhood friend and classmate, Ran Mouri, I saw a suspicious transaction between some men in black. While I was watching the deal, I didn’t notice another man in black coming at me from behind. The man gave me some poison, and when I woke up… My body had shrunk! If they found out that Shinichi Kudo was still alive, they will come after me and put people around me in danger. Following Professor Agasa’s advice to hide my true identity, I blurted out ‘Conan Edogawa’ when Ran asked for my name. In order to get more information on the men in black, I decided to stay with Ran whose father is a private detective. However, because her father is such a lousy detective, I’ve been using my own deductive ability to solve cases for him. Thanks to me, he’s a famous detective. I may have shrunk, but my intellect is still that of a great detective. There is always only one truth!”

This book consists of 2 finished cases.

This is a story of a secret admirer who can’t speak his feelings through words and chooses the way of murders instead.

Ran and Conan aren’t sure to either blame or thank Kogoro for his recklessness to forget the departure time of the ship they’re supposed to go aboard from their little tour on a little island. Luckily, Hatamoto’s family had celebrated the wedding of the youngest granddaughter of the family on that island and they offer Mouri to join them back to main island on their rented cruise ship. Little do they know that the family head of Hatamoto will get killed that day after some rumor of inheritance spread among the rest of the family. The husband of the new married couple is accused as the main suspect due to his relation as the sole heir of the owner of the rival company. Is it truly a revenge to avenge his father’s suicide due to the taking over of the company by Hatamoto or is it something entirely different? Sleeping Kogoro presents to solve the case once again.

This is the case of someone puts the blame of losing someone dear to another.

A surgeon comes to Mouri Agency bringing many used toys, admitting that he receives all the toys, along with some money, from unknown different addresses for each month in the last 2 years. Despite the happiness of his only boy to receive the toys, the surgeon feels afraid since he cannot find the giver among the circle of his coworkers, families, or even thankful patients. Moreover, today package includes a strange letter, indicating that the sender will take something of surgeon for the replacement of all the toys and money sent. By observing the medical record of the hospital where the surgeon works at, Conan manages to reveal yet another sad case.

What I do like from this book
• A long case involving a big family on a cruise ship. Long case means more complicated case. And in this case, the readers are falsely led to believe that the murderer is the avenging son of a dead rival businessman. I never thought that the real murderer will be the less suspicious and weakest member of the family. It shows that someone looking less dangerous can be the most dangerous of all.
• Ran is convinced that Conan is actually Shinichi after witnessing his behaviors during the second case. Yet, instead of thinking about the logic of a high-schooler turns into such a child, she concerns herself more in the events when she admits her interest in Shinichi. The way Conan tries to convince Ran otherwise by pretending to be extremely attracted to the toys is cute.
• The touching ending of the second case. A heart of a man full of hatred towards the surgeon failing to save his son’s life, leading to him planning to murder the surgeon’s son, melts by the innocent happiness of the surgeon’s son. The fact that the surgeon chooses to forgive the man and refuse to report him to the police for his attempted murder on his son by reasoning that he understands the feeling of a father is very touching. The surgeon truly has a big heart.

What I don’t like from this book
• The murderer in the first case whom I consider a totally psychopath. First, his motive for the first murder is his anger towards the victim who doesn’t bless his desire granddaughter, who is, in a sense, his cousin. It’s a poor reason to commit murder. To prevent unwanted decision regarding the inheritance is much better reason. Moreover, he does nothing to try to speak his feelings to the granddaughter. This man has courage to speak to his grandfather about his intention to marry the granddaughter, but he has no effort to approach the girl. He keeps painting her over, turning himself into a stalker instead of a secret admirer. And nobody notices his paintings after it is too late. He even kills another person to silence him and even hurts himself to avoid suspicion. What a crazy man.
• For the second case, I think the surgeon is a little bit too ‘stupid’, if I may use the harsh word. For a surgeon, I think he should have good enough deductive ability to find out the sender of the toys, money, letter, and flowers, especially from the flowers sent each 3 August. The date has spoken much. He, as the insider of the hospital, can gain access to the hospital record more easily than the outsiders. Can’t he try to find out what happened on previous 3-Augusts by himself? He shouldn’t need a detective to do that for him.
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Cabin in the Wood: the Truth

cabin in the wood

By Enelis C

Harry was awakened by a loud thud outside the house. He sat down immediately and cursed inwardly.  So much for the idea to stay awake. He got out the bed and went out the room. The sun’s rays went in through the window and illuminated the corridor. Yawning widely, he knocked on Anna’s door. No answer. He waited for several minutes before knocking again. Being impatient, because it was so not-Anna-at-all, he turned the knob and opened the door. Panic pierced his heart when he realized that the bed was empty. No Anna in sight.

He hurriedly went down the stairs and looked around. The fire still danced happily in the hearth. The dinner table was empty, showing no sign of the feast last night, as if it was only an illusion. As his mind tried hard to find the logic of the situation, he noticed strange sounds outside, like something continuously scraping against something. He realized that the front door was ajar.

Gripped by fear, Harry slowly went to the door. He opened it soundlessly. Kathy was standing at the clearing with her back was to him, bending over something, wasn’t aware of his presence. He realized that she was the source of the sound he heard. She was sharpening a saw on a big round stone, almost enthusiastically while humming softly. What was she going to do with that thing? Harry inhaled sharply.

To his horror, he saw dark red blotches were smeared on her clothes, particularly the lower part. He darted a shocked look at the ground. There was a pool of red almost like fresh blood. A wave of sickness hit him hard he almost collapsed. He couldn’t believe his eyes. Was that Anna lying motionless beside the red pool? There was no mistake. It was her! He knew that redhead too well.

You might think that being unnoticed as he was, he has an ultimate chance to finish her off and she might not realize she was attacked until it was too late. Or he might yell a war cry, announcing his presence then attacked her like a hero on many fairy tales. He would come as the winner and would be famous for avenging the monster that killed his friend. No. He just stood there numbly for several seconds before shrieking un-hero-like.

The saw on Kathy’s hand fell with a sickening thud to the ground. She turned and looked at Harry with a crazy gleam in her eyes.

“My bacon sandwich! You’re awake! Care to join your girlfriend?”

Harry shrieked again. He stumbled backward. The front door was slamming in front of him.

“Why were you running away? Come here. I want to show you something!”

Harry held the urge to throw up. She was crazy. Then, he realized his mistake. Instead of running away from the cabin, he was running inside. He cursed. Now what? He was totally trapped. He forced himself to calm down and think it over. The idea of running away with that wicked woman free to chase him was not a good idea. Who knew what that woman would do? For goodness sake he might have a saw embedded on his body the moment he fled from her. Maybe that woman could catch up with him despite her fat body. Moreover, he couldn’t leave Anna behind. He shuddered. The thought of her lit his anger.

He needed to outwit the crazy woman. His best weapon was his brain. He couldn’t use destructive power like his other friends. Though he might do some fighting, he couldn’t battle an armed maniac almost twice his size barehanded. Not to mention that she had a sharp saw! He needed to make her incapacitated so that he could escape to the town and asked for help. He looked around, trying to find a way to subdue her. He could trap her somewhere in the cabin. But where?

“Roast chicken, don’t be shy. Why are you running away?” Kathy called. She was on the other side of the door already.

Harry could lure her inside one of the bedroom and trap her there. No. That was not a good idea, either. He could hide behind the door, but her big body would block the exit. He would be the one trapped. There was no time.

Speaking about a trap… He set his eyes on the trapdoor. He got an idea. A foolish and desperate one, but he didn’t have a choice.

Kathy opened the door forcefully.

“Where are you, smoked sausage?” She called in a sing-song voice. “Are we playing hide and seek now?”

From his hiding place, Harry could tell that Kathy moved around, searching for him in any possible hideouts in the small cabin.

“Huh? The trapdoor was open! Bad kebab! I told him not to open the door!” she grumbled. “I will teach him a lesson! Maybe he can be the main dish for breakfast today?” she laughed evilly.

Harry held his breath and willed his heart to stop beating fast, afraid she could hear them clearly. He heard her walking down the stair to the basement. He moved fast, opened the door of the larder where he hid, ran towards the surprised Kathy, kicked her in the chest and sent her tumbling down the stairs, closed the trapdoor and bolted it.

“What are you doing, chicken nugget?!” her muffled cry sounded beneath the trapdoor.

Harry ran outside and went to Anna’s still body. Blood covered the back of her head and her neck. Her lifeless blue eyes stared at the sky. It was too late. Harry cursed. Tears stung his eyes. He turned and ran as fast as possible to the city. Now that the sun was up and the fog was gone, he could find his way back to the city. Rage boiled inside him as he noticed that the cabin was located so damn near to the city. If they hadn’t stopped at the cabin and kept walking, they might reach the city in less than twenty minutes. And then, Anna would not…

Harry closed his eyes, trying to dismiss the thought. He hoped that it was just a nightmarish nightmare, that he was still asleep, so was Anna on the next door. That Kathy was only a harmless fat lady. He kept running and running, letting his legs led him. And what a wonderful guide they were, since he suddenly crashed into a solid muscular body and landed hard on his bottom on the cobblestone road.

He opened his eyes and looked up at the handsome face of the head of the Red Dormitory.

“Larc!”

“You looked like hell,” he said. Okay. Just forget about the handsome and muscular part.

“Wh-what are you doing here?” Harry stuttered.

“I have a business to make with Annaliese. So, where is she?”

In a flash, Harry stood up. Words poured from his mouth incoherently.

“Never mind about that! She was… It was too late… The witch… Trapdoor… My fault…”

Larc raised his hand, signaling him to stop talking. “You don’t make any sense. Try to explain slowly.”

“We don’t have time for that!” Harry shouted at his face. In normal situation, he would never dare to even think about shouting at Larc. In fact, he never saw anybody doing so, except those who had death wishes to die in a painful way. Since it was not a normal situation, he thought he could make it an exception. “Just follow me, please. I will tell you the whole story while we are running.”

Harry wondered if he truly looked like hell like Larc had said before, since the man didn’t argue with Harry ordering him around. He expected a thunderbolt to strike him from behind, but there was nothing. Larc followed him, though Harry couldn’t read his expression at all. Running back to Kathy’s cabin, he explained everything in detail, starting from his decision to walk back to the city when their car was out of fuel to his trapping Cathy inside her own cabin. When he finished his story, they had arrived at the cabin. Harry knelt beside Anna’s lifeless body and sobbed.

“If only I didn’t fall asleep, she might be still alive. Poor Anna. I will make sure that the witch will get a severe punishment for this.”

Larc knelt beside him and looked at the body. Though he claimed that he was looking for her, his face was still unreadable as ever. Then he stood and looked around the cabin.

“Well, if it is her, is that you over there?” he pointed.

Harry raised his head, following the direction Larc’s index finger pointed at. True, there was a figure that looked like him, well, looked exactly like him, standing under the sunlight at the end of the clearing. He was instantly dumbfounded. He looked at Anna’s body closely, his mind kept racing. Larc knelt once again and touched the body.

“Despite of what you’ve said, I think we are truly looking at a very fine statue. An absolutely marvellous art it looks like the real deal.”

“B-bu-but…” Harry stammered.

“We can ask the old lady to find the truth. Where do you lock her in, you said?”

“But Anna is missing!” he protested.

“Well, do you think a crazy old lady can do her in that easily?”

“Well, she’s not that old, but yeah, I see your point,” Harry said in a small voice. He totally forgot that. Anna might look like a fragile and weak girl, but she was strong, super strong, in fact. Now, how could he forget that? He felt so stupid suddenly.

“Where, Harry? We better release her before she becomes the victim.”

Harry groaned inwardly. He went inside the cabin, Larc on his tail. He stopped midway. There were no pounding and no muffled cries. His fear increased. Larc walked pass him and opened the trapdoor. Kathy blinked her eyes as she climbed up the stairs, looking at yet another stranger in her house confusingly.

“I’m verry sorry, Madam. It seems that one of my students had mistaken you for a bloody murderer who killed his friend,” explained Larc.

“Murderer? Kill?” asked Kathy with a questioning look.

“You have a saw with you and blood smeared on your clothes and Anna’s gone and you were so interested with her last night!” accused Harry.

“Ohhh, my chicken nugget, I think you’ve misunderstood.”

Larc looked puzzled by the endearment.

“See!? She keep calling us by any kind of meat dishes even though we’ve told her our names!”

“Well, you like it better if I call you by vegetable dishes?” asked Kathy, looked more confused than before.

Harry slapped his forehead. Larc looked bored.

“Maybe you can explain what actually happened,” Larc prompted.

“I accidentally slipped on the ground while painting the statue of your girlfriend. I knocked the can over and the red paint splashed on me as well. I fell into the pedestal and it broke under my weight. That’s why I sharpen my saw, to make a new pedestal from the logs.”

“So, that’s why Anna’s statue is lying on the ground rather than standing like my statue,” Harry concluded. Everything began to make sense inside his head.

“So, you’ve looked at the statue, then. I put it under the sunlight to let the paint dry faster.”

“But, you are so mysterious about your basement!”

“I’ve placed all my statues there. I want to show them to you guys after I finished your statues.”

“But, it doesn’t explain why Anna is missing!”

“She’s not. She went to take a bath on the river nearby. You can reach the river through the path behind my cabin.”

Larc closed his eyes and shook his head. Harry had never felt so humiliated before. His cheeks were red and he hoped the ground opened to swallow him. He could feel his face reddening more when light footsteps were heard getting closer outside. Less than a minute, Anna appeared at the door, looked so fresh and alive. The three of them stared at her.

“Huh? Did I miss something?” she asked with pure confusion. “Harry, you look like a red tomato. Kathy, is there something wrong with the statue? And Larc? What are you doing here?”

Larc sighed and walked towards her. “I’ve just arrived. I want to ask for your help.” He took Anna’s arm and led her outside.

“Um,” Harry began difficultly. “I’m so terribly sorry. You’ve been so kind to us and I repay you so badly.”

“Don’t worry, pickled cucumber. It’s not every day that I have such an interesting day,” she laughed heartily and slapped him on the shoulder.

Harry couldn’t help but flinched hearing the new endearment. Oh well, it turned out that she was only an eccentric fat woman with an awesome talent. Later that day, she finished Anna’s statue and placed it beside his statue. Harry felt as if he was looking at his own reflection. Kathy showed them the basement, where she stored her statues, all of which were so astounding that no words could truly describe them. If Harry looked at the content of the basement and saw the statues before he hid inside the larder, he might think that they were victims of black magic and got more freaked out than he was at that time. All in all, he was grateful that he had awakened from his ‘nightmare’.

Speaking about black magic, Anna looked a bit guarded after Larc told her the reason he came searching for her. She didn’t tell Harry anything about that but he could see that she was becoming restless. Something bad must be happened in the city. But it was definitely another story…

The End

Cabin in the Wood: the Suspicion

cabin in the wood

By Enelis C

You might have ever heard about a story where two children named Hansel and Gretel were lost in the forest and found a house made of gingerbread, cakes, and candies. Though the idea of such house sounds harmless, it turned out that the owner of the house was a cannibalistic witch who loved eating children by luring them to her house. Like other classic stories, there must be one moral or two from this story. Maybe it wants to teach you not to eat too many sweets. Maybe it wants to show you that good-looking something does not always mean good. Or to put it simply, it gives you a warning: beware a strange house in the middle of the forest.

The fog was getting heavier with every passing second and so was the feeling of regret in Harry’s heart at his stupid decision to leave the carriage and walk instead. Their horse accidentally injured its leg, preventing them from continuing their journey back to the city.  The carriage would not be a warm place to spend the night, but it would be if his fear of their getting lost had been true. With the thick fog, he wasn’t so sure that the path they’ve taken was the right path to the city. He even wasn’t sure that they would find the carriage if they turned back. Worse, he even wasn’t sure about their location anymore.

Before leaving the carriage, the fog was not as thick as it was now. He was sure that they were so close to the city already, that it would take less than an hour to reach the city by foot. At least, they might find some inns along the way where they were supposed to get warmer than staying in the carriage. Unfortunately, the fog chose to get thicker when they have gone through the halfway of the journey. Now, after walking for an hour with no sign of life except the fog and the forest and the dim light of their lanterns, Harry was pretty sure that they were lost. He stopped, forcing the girl beside him to do the same.

“I’m sorry,” he managed. “We’re lost. I don’t know where we are right now.”

Anna didn’t answer, but she nodded. She kept shining her lantern to their right side, but nothing to be seen except trees. She lowered her lantern and gasped.

“Harry, do you see what I see?”

“What?” he answered rather too fast. He knew that they were alone inside the forest right now, and any idea of superstition didn’t make him feeling better.

“Is that a mailbox?” she pointed her finger to something that looked like a very rusty can impaled by an iron bar. They moved closer to inspect it. It was so rusty that Harry was sure if there was something written on it, nobody could read it without scraped the rust first.

“If that thing is here, there must be…” Harry shone his lantern frantically until the light shone into a large shadow lurking not so far from them. There are some rectangular shapes glowing on it.

“A cabin,” she finished his sentence. She shone her lantern to the ground and they looked at a small bushy path leading to the cabin. She looked at him expectantly. “Those lights mean there’s someone there. I hope that someone doesn’t mind welcoming two visitors in the middle of the night.”

They followed the smaller path towards the wooden cabin. Harry realized that there was a small clearing beside the cabin, hidden behind tall and thick trees they saw at the previous path. His lantern shone on strange-looking heaps within walking distance. He wanted to know what those were, but feared the possibility of swamp or bog there. He moved closer to Anna who was walking in front of him instead.

“Are you sure it is a great idea? This place sure is creepy.”

“It’s better than spending the night outdoor,” she answered.

“It reminds me of a witch’s house a lot.” Harry looked around, expecting some short monsters popped out and surrounded them. Oh hell, maybe those heaps were monsters that’d been waiting for ambush strangers.

“You listen to too many spooky stories, Harry.”

“I can’t help it. You’re the one telling me such stories,” he complained.

“My bad.” She knocked at the door.

No one answered. Anna knocked again.

“Excuse me?” she called.

Heavy footsteps echoed inside the cabin. Shortly, the sound of the door being unlocked was heard. They glanced at each other nervously. Harry prepared himself to see an old crooked frail witch to open the door. Instead, a very tall and fat woman holding a lantern looked down at them. “Yes?” she asked in a quite deep voice.

“I’m sorry. We have a trouble with our carriage. May we ask your favor to let us spend the night here?” asked Anna sweetly.

“Oh, my poor hamburgers!” the fat woman hugged them all of a sudden. “You must be so cold and hungry. Come in, come in.” She practically pulled them in and locked the door behind them.

“Did she just call us hamburgers?” Harry whispered in Anna’ ears. She gave him a quizzical look.

“You can call me Kathy. Welcome to my humble abode,” said the woman while hanging the lantern on the nail beside the door.

“Oh, thank you, Madam. I am Anna and this is Harry.”

“You meatballs come in a right time. It is so rare to have visitors here. I have some dinner prepared. I’m glad I don’t have to finish it alone.”

Kathy placed her hands on their shoulders, ushering them into the cabin. Harry mouthed something to Anna, maybe wondering why the woman called them ‘meatball’ this time. But she didn’t pay much attention to him. She was distracted by the interior of the cabin.

It was not a large cabin, but it was sure a simple and cozy one. Fire roared in the stone hearth on their left, a comfy sofa bed facing it. To their right were a neat and orderly kitchen and a larder. At the backside, there was a staircase leading to the second floor and a trapdoor, maybe leading to a basement. But the most attracting part of the cabin stood in the center, which was a dinner table served with many kind of mouth-watering meals that could feed 20 people at most. Harry couldn’t stop goggling at the spectacular feast.

“Don’t be shy, pork chops. Eat as much as you want.” Kathy helped Anna to her seat then gestured to Harry to sit down beside her. Harry raised his eyebrow at the endearment. Anna was either very hungry or astonished that she didn’t care. Her eyes fixed on the dishes. Kathy sat down in front of them and started filling their plates.

“You cooked a lot for someone who lives alone,” Harry muttered. Anna shot him a dirty look. He mouthed ‘what’ angrily. He got the right to feel suspicious, didn’t he?

“I am a woman with a large appetite,” her laugh echoed throughout the cabin. Harry wondered whether he mistook the vibration of the walls all around them. Great. A large lady with a large appetite. Hopefully, two teenagers had nothing to do with it.

Harry didn’t feel reassured at all. Nevertheless, he couldn’t deny that he was hungry. What they had been through in the forest earlier had taken its toll on them. He’s not only hungry, he was exhausted as well. He began to chew and swallow everything Kathy had placed on his plate like somebody who had not eaten for weeks. He couldn’t help it. The food tasted as fantastic as it looked.

“Those are very beautiful eyes you have there, my pot roast,” said Kathy. Harry almost forgot that the woman was there watching them. He stopped halfway to pick some sausages, then realized that the woman was addressing Anna. She mumbled ‘thank you’ with her mouth full with cheese.

Anna was very beautiful with her redhead and clear sky-blue eyes. It was not the first time someone commented on those physical features of her. Yet, Harry couldn’t help the unsettling feeling in his gut. Kathy said those words like a hunter appraised her prey. He couldn’t stop noticing that Kathy kept watching on her all this time.

“Those eyes would be a masterpiece, indeed,” Kathy sighed. Harry shivered. However, the girl in question was not affected at all. She gulped down her milk like nothing happened. Well, there was nothing happened, literally, but, couldn’t she tell that their host were getting more suspicious over time?

Suddenly, after dropping the empty glass back on the table, Anna’s body went limp. She leaned forward and dropped her head to the table and didn’t move anymore. Harry panicked and stood immediately.

“Ah! My poor hot dog! She must be very tired!” uttered Kathy. In a very swift motion for a fat woman, she approached Anna and scooped her up easily. “She fell into a deep sleep. We better put her to bed. Follow me, my beefsteak.” She walked towards the stairs with Anna in her arms. The girl didn’t stir. Harry followed her halfheartedly, convinced that there was something wrong. He stopped at the bottom of the stair, looking down at the trapdoor, suddenly feeling curious about it. Kathy stopped and looked round.

“Chicken pie! You shouldn’t open that door!” Kathy sounded alarmed.

“Why? What’s in there?” asked Harry.

“Just some things I don’t want people to look at. Come on. We better hurry and put your girlfriend upstairs. She will be more comfortable, then.”

Kathy led him to the corridor upstairs. Two wooden doors stood ajar on one side. There was a small window at the end of the corridor which he was sure facing the small clearing outside. Kathy entered the nearest room and laid Anna down on a small bed. Beside the bed, a wooden cupboard was the only furniture available in the room. Kathy turned to him.

“You can sleep in the room next door. I think I will let you get some rest, as well. I will be downstairs if you need me.”

“Well… okay. Thank you,” said Harry. He watched the woman walking down the stairs in confusion. He re-entered Anna’s room to make sure that the girl was indeed sleeping before he got to the second room. Laying on the similar small bed and gazing at the dim lamp above his head, Harry couldn’t help thinking that maybe Kathy was truly a kind loner as she seemed to be. He felt bad to think otherwise. The woman had let them into her home, eaten her food, and even used her bed. However, he couldn’t put aside the need to stay alert. He decided not to sleep until sunrise when they would be ready to leave. Something told him to keep awake and he felt it will be safer that way.

Of course, he managed to do that for only ten minutes before he snored.

To be continued

Review: Case Closed, Vol. 2

Case Closed, Vol. 2
Case Closed, Vol. 2 by Gosho Aoyama

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is an adventure of Sherlock-Holmes-maniac high schooler Shinichi Kudo solving many difficult cases within a seven-year-old body and pseudonym Conan Edogawa. There is only one truth!

Being a little boy, Shinichi realizes that he has to do a lot more than convincing Ran and Kogoro to let him stay with them and solving cases by impersonating Kogoro. Professor Agasa states the obvious, even though he is a high schooler, he has an appearance of a first grader. People will be suspicious if he doesn’t go to school. Therefore, he enrolls Conan in his old school, Teitan Elementary School. Moreover, his condition hinders him from capturing criminals, so Professor Agasa creates a gadget named Power-Enhancing Kick Shoes using electricity and magnetic fields to add tremendous power to any objects Conan kicks. He also creates Criminal Tracking Glasses able to track down and locate the transmitter within 20 km radius.

After school, accidentally Conan meets Kogoro who has been following certain somebody for three consecutive days. He is paid a large sum of money despite such easy task. To their surprise, the burned body of that man is found shortly afterwards and the only possible murderer has a perfect alibi. However, a perfect alibi is not a problem when Conan has no doubt about the identity of the murderer. It is the first case Conan solves using the Power-Enhancing Kick Shoes.

The next case is a disappearance case. A young woman named Masami Hirota asks Kogoro to find her missing father, her only blood relative. Surprisingly, when they follow Ran’s ridiculous advice, they manage to find him and reunite the father and the daughter. However, Ran gets worried since she cannot contact Masami afterwards and goes to their apartment, only to find the dead body of Hirota and the broken glasses of Masami. Conan follows the transmitter he accidentally put on Masami’s wristwatch and strangely the signal brings him to a pachinko building where he stumbles on a very large man. Meanwhile, Ran notices another suspicious large man spying on Detective Mouri’s Agency. Being subdued by Ran, the man admits that he is a detective also hired to find Masami’s father by the large man Conan met previously saying that Masami’s father is his elder brother and his only blood relative. The detectives are confused with the two stories contradicting each other. Conan decides to follow his transmitter once again only to find out that the large man has been poisoned in his room and he is, indeed, wearing Masami’s wristwatch. To make it more confusing, Inspectur Megure calls Kogoro telling him that Hirota was a bachelor, which means that he didn’t have any daughter. Relating the case to the recent one billion yen robbery, Conan manages to unveil the truth leading him to his second encounter with Black Organization.

The last case in this book introduces three important elementary schoolers in the series, cute Ayumi, fat Genta, and smart Mitsuhiko. Those three persuade Conan to accompany them investigating a haunted house. Obviously, in Conan’s world, there is no such thing as ghosts. He finds many strange things about the house and realizes that he should solve the mystery faster before his new friends keep vanishing one by one. Another new gadget invented by Professor Agasa is introduced in this case: Elasticity Suspenders which enables Conan to lift heavy objects he cannot lift with mere child’s strength. Conan manages to solve yet another tragic case, ending the mystery of the haunted house.

Even though the anonymous large detective subdued by Ran makes his first and last appearance in this book, somehow I kind of like this character. First of all, he looks so frightening with his big and tall body, and sunglasses hiding his eyes. Totally awesome compared to Kogoro. Yet, when the sunglasses are removed… the impression goes ‘poof’. However, that’s the funny part I love the most, especially since Kogoro and Conan laugh out loud. I know it’s so impolite to laugh out loud at someone’s weakness, but I guess I might do the same if were there. My bad.

I do wonder, though, for someone like Gin who claims that silencing people by killing them is the organization’s way, why did he shoot Akemi Miyano on the stomach rather than the head? Headshot means instant death. Why risking her being alive for some minutes and leaving her behind? To let her have a painful death? I think it’s not a good reason enough. By doing so, Gin gives Akemi enough opportunity to reveal the location of the money and even the fact that she is a member of Black Organization to Conan. Or maybe because she is only a minor who almost knows nothing about the organization except their dress code that Gin feels so confident to leave her before making sure she is dead?

Moreover, the case is closed with assumption that she kills herself over the guilt of the crime. Despite her fingerprints on the pistol, is it strange that someone kills herself by shooting her stomach? In many suicidal cases, I think people tend to shoot their heads or chests or any parts of their bodies that ensure instant and less painful death. Otherwise, somebody will find out and maybe manage to call ambulance faster or give them first aid, increasing the chance of survival.

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Review: Case Closed, Vol. 1

Case Closed, Vol. 1
Case Closed, Vol. 1 by Gosho Aoyama

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Any lover of crime and detective stories must know about this well-known manga by Aoyama Gosho. Having been extremely popular for over a decade, this manga has developed into anime, movie, TV special, live action, and even video games. Once, I was a big fan, but now, I am only a fan among many of fans hoping that Aoyama Gosho will finish it ASAP, since the stories have gone a bit too far and too long that I keep asking, ‘When will this manga end?’ and kind of losing the euphoria over waiting for the new chapter. Nevertheless, I still praise the author’s ability to be able to present Detective Conan with one-of-a-kind, fresh, amazing, and new cases each time. Well, that is one of many reasons why I decide to review this series, which means, there are 90 more reviews to go. Huff.

High school student Shinichi Kudo is a fanatic fan of Sherlock Holmes and having a world famous novelist of detective novels as a father makes him develop a brilliant brain to solve many criminal cases that even other detectives and the police department cannot solve. One day, he goes to an amusement park with his childhood friend, Ran Mouri, and accidentally gets involved in a bloody murder. While he manages to solve the case and reveals the murderer, he notices two suspicious men in black among the suspects. His curiosity leads him to spy on one of them, but he is interrupted by the attack of the second man sneaking behind him. Rather than killing him with a gunshot that obviously will alert the police, they decide to force-feed him with a new poison developed by their organization and leave him behind to die. Instead of killing him, the poison turns his body into a child’s body.

Shinichi determines to hunt down the Black Organization to get the antidote and return to his original body. However, he realizes that he cannot reveal his condition to anybody for fear of the organization will look for him to kill him, and harms his family and friends in the process. So, he decides to hide his true identity and only let Professor Agasa, the scientist living next door, knows about everything. He takes a pseudonym name, Conan Edogawa, and lives with Ran and his father, a lame detective Kogoro Mouri, by reasoning that any information about the Black Organization will reach a detective agency. However, Kogoro Mouri is a very incompetent detective. Even though Shinichi can solve the case given to Mouri, nobody will believe a child’s deduction. Therefore, Shinichi asks Professor Agasa to develop some inventions to help him, some of which are stun-gun wristwatch that enables him to put Kogoro Mouri to sleep and voice-changing bowtie which enables him to impersonate Kogoro Mouri. And so, Sleeping Kogoro is born.

Though I like detective stories, I do not truly like the idea of being a detective, particularly after reading this book. Even if you are able to know many things from only a quick glance and notice many things that everybody else normally doesn’t notice by being so observant, the job of a detective requires you to be highly curious, or known as ‘kepo’ in Indonesian slang, which actually stands for ‘knowing every particular object’. The thing is, something that you are curious about can be something that you do not need to know or something that you do better not know of. In this case, Shinichi are curious about an illegal transaction that leads him to an organization so dangerous it does not even think twice to kill him in order to silent him. He’s lucky, though, to be alive despite his shrunken body. But, of course, Detective Conan will not exist if Shinichi is not curious about this organization at the first place. But in reality, any amateur detective might want to reconsider about being a detective to avoid getting into similar situation.

Speaking about curiosity, I wonder why nobody truly pays attention to the bump on Mouri’s head or at least rushes to his side the moment the ashtray hits his head. I know it’s only Conan supposed to know about it (since he is the one kicking the ashtray), but should you check on somebody who makes an abrupt change of movement? They only ask him what’s wrong and remain in their position. But again, of course, if they truly rush to his side, Sleeping Kogoro will never be born. Luckily, he is awakened by his burning cigarette at the right moment. Just imagine what will happen if he is still knocked unconscious even after he ‘finishes’ his deduction.

For a detective story where logic and truth become priorities, there are many coincidences, don’t you think?

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