Case Closed Volume 56
Case Closed volume 56 begins with a whodunit I was immediately attracted to. A famous mystery novelist is going to be featured in a magazine piece, so he, detective Richard Moore, the interviewer, and the photographer spend the night at his house. After we observe him berating his editor over a small, obsessive point, they all retire for the night — but in the morning, the writer is found dead! The attention to detail, the publishing characters, and the classic locked-room structure all appealed to me.
I was also taken with the journalists comparing notes on why they’re still using “old” technology, like a recorder that uses tape instead of operating digitally. Of course, those affectations become part of the plot. There’s a whole bunch of telling, not showing, but the expressive characters drawn by Gosho Aoyama keep the art interesting even as everyone talks through what could have happened. I wish this story could have been longer, going into more detail, although the benefit of keeping it short is that it’s only one of four mysteries in this volume.
The second story starts with Conan, the kids, and the professor off on a camping trip. A flat tire in the middle of nowhere sets the stage for spookiness. A nearby house, all alone in a mountain forest, contains a scary old woman the kids think might be a witch. Then another group of campers, young adults with car trouble, arrive. In the middle of the night during a rainstorm, one of them is found murdered. Typical of the Japanese mysteries I’ve read, the clues and motive involve long memories and family ties.
The third story is of much less interest to me, as it continues the never-ending saga of the men in black, the conspiracy group responsible for adult Jimmy becoming the kid Conan. I gave up on them addressing this problem until the end of the series, so more stringing it out wasn’t compelling. There is a stand-alone mystery inside the setup, though, about trying to find a particular photo in a guy’s apartment. Many of the clues revolve around not running the air conditioner when he’s not home, so an invader is tracked by the presence of sweat droplets. Ewwww.
The final short piece serves as a cautionary tale, about a scam that unfortunately occurs in real life, where an older person is called and told their grandchild is in trouble and needs money transferred immediately. I enjoy reading this series for its consistent level of escapist entertainment, but it’s quite an investment at this point. I’ve had good luck getting books from my local library; often, it doesn’t even matter what order you read them in, unless you’re more involved in the conspiracy storyline than I am.
Case Closed volume 56 can be pre-ordered now from your local comic shop with Diamond code AUG15 1826. It’s due out October 14. I’ve reviewed several of the previous volumes. (The publisher provided an advance digital review copy.)