Erika: "Anyway, Satsukawa-san, I believe I've found something very interesting yesterday night."
Satsukawa: "Yesterday night? While you were in this hotel room?"
Erika: "Of course, where else?"
Satsukawa: "What's so interesting in this place?"
Erika: "I've been looking at the pictures in Gotsuji's photo albums, silly. Overall they helped me in acquiring a better understanding of the victim's personality and life, but there are three of them that piqued my curiosity."
I show the three pictures to Satsukawa. They all depict the victim with her friends in different situations. In one they are in a karaoke private room, in another they are inside a ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn. The last seems to be a prank shot taken while an unknowing Gotsuji was typing an e-mail with her phone.
Satsukawa examines them attentively, but as I expected he doesn't even understand what he is supposed to notice.
Satsukawa: "Well... hmmm, she seems to be enjoying herself..."
Erika: "Indeed, Satsukawa-san, I just wanted you to see how much the victim enjoyed that little life that remained to her! Or maybe you were supposed to say something smart for a change."
Satsukawa: "Okay... so there's something wrong with these? Hmmm..."
Erika: "What all these pictures have in common?"
Satsukawa: "Well... they're all taken by someone other than the victim... or they used a self-timer..."
Erika: "A little better, but still quite far from it."
Satsukawa: "Well, hmmm... she's with her friends... probably even in this picture where she's alone."
Erika: "Incredible observational skills indeed... Look, I'll give you a little help, that picture that you just mentioned is probably the best to start from as there aren't that many other particulars to notice."
Satsukawa: "She's using a phone... hmmm?"
It seems that he finally realized something and quickly checks the other two photos.
Satsukawa: "You can see Gotsuji's phone in all of them. Is that what I'm supposed to notice?"
Erika: "Now we're getting somewhere! Remember? You've found her phone at the crime scene. You showed me a picture of it, it's definitely the same."
Satsukawa: "Then this provides further confirmation that it was really the victim's phone... but we already knew that."
Erika: "There's something different, something that you can see in these three pictures, which is missing from the phone as you've found it."
Satsukawa examines the photos again. It's really funny to see him hopelessly trying so hard to find the particular that I noticed.
Satsukawa: "Wait... hmmm... hmmm... Wait, maybe I got it..."
Erika: "What did you get?"
Satsukawa: "I wish I could have that other picture with me to make a comparison..."
Erika: "Can't you remember the details of something you've seen? As an investigator you should have a better photographic memory."
Satsukawa: "Well... I'm not really sure, I never thought this was an important particular..."
Erika: "Everything is important, Satsukawa-san. Even the smallest particular might turn out to be something vital to solve the mystery."
Satsukawa: "Anyway I think it's this strange cell strap, isn't it?"
Dlanor: "That cell strap represents Doro Doro, an alien cat character from a kid's show."
Satsukawa: "So what you've noticed is that it's missing from the phone we've found, right?"
Erika: "Exactly! Isn't it strange?"
Satsukawa: "There might be several explanations for that... how is this supposed to be relevant to our case?"
Erika: "As I said... every particular might turn out to be relevant! This is something odd, and it'd be best to confirm how come that cell strap is no longer where it's supposed to be."
Satsukawa: "Maybe the victim got tired of it."
Erika: "She wouldn't have removed it before finding a replacement, don't you think?"
Satsukawa: "Depends... or maybe she simply lost it."
Erika: "A few days before she died?"
Satsukawa: "How do you know?"
Erika: "The pictures in the photo album were sorted in a chronological order as it's often the case. The one where she's in the ryokan is one of the most recently made. Remember what her father told us? Gotsuji went on a vacation with her friends during spring break, and there's no doubt that that's when this picture was taken."
Satsukawa: "Okay... that's really recent then..."
Erika: "You just don't seem very excited about this finding..."
Satsukawa: "Actually no. Like I said, there's no indication that this is relevant to the case."
Erika: "But it might! It's usually because of particulars such as this that the culprit is incriminated in mystery novels."
Satsukawa: "But this is reality, not a mystery novel."
Erika: "But don't you understand how wonderful would it be if I were to catch the murderer using something like this? It'd be perfect and dramatic, a fitting element to use for my final declaration!"
Satsukawa: "I suppose it'd be really cool if you could find the cell strap in the culprit's pocket and somehow use it to prove he's guilty. But wouldn't that be a bit too convenient? I think that mystery novels really get ridiculous sometimes. They always show how the murderer conveniently betrays himself with some kind of slip up."
Erika: "There's always some kind of slip up involved, if there wasn't, it'd be a perfect crime."
Satsukawa: "The perfect crime is yet another myth of mystery novels. They make it look as if you need an exceptional man to murder someone and get away with it. In reality murder cases solved in the world range between 30% to 70%. That's quite a lot of 'perfect crimes', and that doesn't take in account those murders that are never found to begin with."
Erika: "In countries like Japan and Germany it's about 95%. I blame the laziness and incompetence of the other countries' police for such low rates."
Rokudou: "I think it's probably because they have a harsher judicial system. Japan is particular famous for that."
Erika: "Nonsense! They're just applying the law as they should rather than letting attorneys dominate the courtrooms as it happens in the United States."
Satsukawa: "There's still that 5%. There are around 600 intentional homicides committed in Japan every year. That means about 30 homicides remain unsolved year after year. And this is one of the countries with the highest solved cases rate and the lowest murder rate."
Erika: "That's what happens when you don't let a great detective like me investigate the crime."
Satsukawa: "My point is... unsolved crimes are not necessarily the result of exceptional criminal minds. Most of the times it's just a series of purely situational factors."
Erika: "I can agree as long as the situational factors you're talking about are related to the investigations' flaws."
Satsukawa: "So you're confident that there's absolutely no crime you wouldn't be able to solve?"
Rokudou: "Ahem... I believe that as milady is now that would be the case."
This is quite frustrating.
Satsukawa: "I know your trust in Erika's skills is nearly absolute, but..."
Why does that incident keep coming up?
Rokudou: "It's not just because of my personal ties with her, I assure you..."
Why does that still affect me?
Satsukawa: "But still, you need to realize sometimes you just don't have any lead to follow..."
I am Erika Furudo. I am the witch of truth.
Rokudou: "I think I agree with milady when she says that a crime without any clue that could lead to the culprit would be a perfect crime, and I don't believe a perfect crime exists."
Erika: "A crime where absolutely nothing is left."
Erika: "A crime where there isn't a crime scene to investigate. A crime where there isn't any corpse to examine. A crime where all the weapons were destroyed. A crime where there isn't any witness you can question..."
Erika: "That is the worst possible situation for a detective."
Erika: "But in the end even that can be solved. It's just that you won't have any way to verify that your reasonings are correct, and the stubborn goats will never recognize that what you've found is the truth, no matter how sound and logic your arguments are. It's the kind of scenario where idiocy will reign supreme and where everyone will just keep thinking whatever suits them the best. You won't be able to prove them wrong. You won't be able to rejoice from seeing their faces as they recognize their mistakes. You won't be able to bask in everyone's admiration as you state the one and only truth..."
Erika: "Aaah! But I still know the truth! That's a fact that doesn't change. And that's what matters in the end, right?"
No... that's wrong. I'm just fooling myself. It doesn't really matter as long as I can't prove I'm right. I must show incontrovertible proof that my reasonings are correct. There mustn't be any doubt. Everyone must agree that I found the culprit... even the culprit must realize how pointless it is to deny the truth after my exposition of the facts and confess.
Only then I can truly find satisfaction. Only then I can truly say I have completed my job as a great detective. That's my raison d'être.
Without that... I am nothing.
Without that... I disappear...