Satsukawa: "Ahem... that's why I say... it really isn't the investigators' fault if by some circumstances there aren't enough proofs to convict a criminal. And often it isn't because the criminal was particularly intelligent and cautious. When someone commits a crime there's always a series of random factors that can interfere with the plan, that's why it's usually not a very smart idea to kill someone. But sometimes someone just has the sheer luck to never encounter any of those random factors. No witnesses, no slip ups, no leads inadvertently left... and so on."
Erika: "But as long as the culprit is still alive, you can question him, and if you know your job you'll be able to spot his contradictions and ultimately incriminate him."
Satsukawa: "That's only if you actually have a lead as to who the culprit might be. And in some rare cases, there are persons that just won't spill the beans no matter what."
And again, I cannot debate that because of that damn incident.
Erika: "But then, if you find someone so clever and stubborn to defeat any attempt from the investigators to make him confess, wouldn't that be a very exceptional person?"
Satsukawa: "Well, I suppose you're right on that. But it's still different from how mystery novels depict the would-be perfect criminals. They're usually banking everything on a perfect execution of the crime itself, but they're not really good at keeping their mouths shut. Often they're as stupid as to incriminate themselves by blurting out particulars of the crime they're not supposed to know. And what's most ridiculous is that they confess their crimes even when a good attorney could easily destroy the flimsy proofs that the detective used against them. Deny everything, deny even the undeniable, that's how a true criminal would act."
Erika: "That's really not fun at all..."
Rokudou: "Satsukawa-san, you seem to have your own peculiar theories about criminology. That was really interesting."
Satsukawa: "Yeah, I've always been fascinated by crime, murders in particular. I decided to become a police officer with the precise intent to join the criminal investigation section."
Rokudou: "And here you are. You're an accomplished man."
Satsukawa: "I believe I am, I'm exactly where I wanted to be."
Erika: "You still have a long way if they made you babysit me, assistant inspector."
Rokudou: "Hu hu hu."
Satsukawa: "That's going to change soon. I still have a long career ahead of me."
Erika: "Then treasure this rare opportunity you've been given to witness a true detective at work. You might learn a lot of useful tricks that will help you in your... career. Albeit with the limited brainpower you possess it's probably useless for you."
Satsukawa: "Believe it or not, that's what I intend to do. But it's not my plan to emulate you and your methods. I just want to learn whatever I can from you, and then use it in my own way."
Erika: "Quite a commendable attitude you have. Then let the teacher test the pupil's skills."
Erika: "What are your thoughts regarding what I've found in the victim's room?"
Satsukawa: "Well, that was a valuable lesson. That taught me the importance of knowing the value of products that are commercialized, and the importance of knowledge in general. I suppose that what makes a great detective isn't just logic, perception and intelligence, but also a wide understanding of the world in all of its facets."
Erika: "Certainly, that goes without saying, but that isn't quite what I asked. I want to know what you deduced from the elements that emerged. In other words: what can you say regarding the inexplicable purchases that the victim made before her death? I gave you enough time to reflect about that, or was your mind too much occupied with the shed's trick?"
Satsukawa: "Well, I did try to reflect about that issue too... but I think it's early to draw conclusions. Anyway that's certainly a matter that's worth being investigated."
Erika: "What's the point in holding down your thoughts? Let them flow freely, you can check whether they're wrong or right later. It's a common mistake for the average man to be restrained by baseless preconceptions. that's what the good mystery writers often exploit. Don't be afraid to consider even the most improbable scenario, as long as it isn't outright impossible there's absolutely nothing wrong with that."
Satsukawa: "And what's outright impossible?"
Erika: "Magic, demons, witches, mind powers, implausible futuristic technologies. That sort of things."
Satsukawa: "I wonder if it's really all right to treat a real murder case as if it's a classic mystery novel..."
Erika: "You mean that those things are more likely to be true in the real world?"
Satsukawa: "I mean that there's more that I'd consider outright impossible in the real world."
Erika: "Like what?"
Satsukawa: "Villain-like characters, for example. People committing crimes for implausible reasons."
Erika: "You have a detective-like character just in front of you, do you really believe that's impossible for a Moriarty to exist?"
Satsukawa: "Good point... but still, that's very unlikely."
Erika: "Yeah, whatever you say. I suppose Shoukou Asahara is a nice guy then."
Satsukawa: "Now... you've just mentioned one of the worst cases the MPD had to deal with... But there's no point in going from one extreme to another."
Erika: "In the end it doesn't really matter, who cares if people are good or bad? That's not for a detective to judge that. All that we need to determine is whodunit, howdunit and whydunit."
Satsukawa: "And yet again that's mystery novel terminology..."
Erika: "Now we're facing the mystery of Hitomi Gotsuji and her costly purchases. Howdunit?"
Satsukawa: "There are several hypotheses we can make. In the first place we don't know if she actually purchased those items herself. They might be gifts from someone she knew."
Erika: "It's possible, but I believe you concluded that it was improbable she had a secret boyfriend, right? And I can't really see who else would be willing to pay for all that stuff."
Satsukawa: "Yes, you have a point. Unless we're dealing with an extremely paranoid individual that wouldn't even use the victim's phone to contact her, I think that's not an option."
Erika: "Let's put this crazy scenario aside for now and let's assume there isn't any paranoid secret boyfriend."
Satsukawa: "Then it'd be indeed unlikely that those are gifts, and even if they were, it would be quite suspicious."
Erika: "Go on."
Satsukawa: "I crosschecked the various witnesses' depositions. I think it's safe to conclude that the victim didn't have a part time job. Unless it was something with a completely random schedule and that could let her gain a huge amount of money in few hours each time."
Erika: "Yes, that's a very good reasoning so far. Sooo... where does that lead us?"
Satsukawa: "I guess that what you're thinking is that the victim was involved in some illegal activity."
Erika: "Which would provide interesting possibilities for the motive behind our murder case, wouldn't it?"
Satsukawa: "I can't deny that it would explain many things... but we have no clue as to which illegal activity she'd be involved with. Anyway there's still a chance that she won the money, or that she found it."
Erika: "That much money? What kind of magnate happened to lose his wallet while roaming on this awesome side of Tokyo?"
Satsukawa: "You're the one who asked me to say whatever crossed my mind."
Erika: "Of course, where would be the fun then?"
Satsukawa: "... Whatever..."
Erika: "As for winning money, is there actually any evidence that Gotsuji was a gambler?"
Satsukawa: "None, but then again we don't have any that she was a criminal either."
Erika: "Well, that's different. It's only natural that a criminal would keep his shady life a secret from anyone. But it's rare for a gambler to keep the secret, or rather to manage to keep it secret."
Satsukawa: "Maybe she wasn't really a frequent gambler, but she still got lucky at the lottery."
Erika: "Can't you check if she actually won anything?"
Satsukawa: "I suppose I could ask the team to investigate that, but we cannot check the underground gambling sites, and we know there are a few in this area."
Erika: "Now it'd be fun if she was involved with the Yakuza, but I think that's against the rules of a proper mystery novel, right?"
Dlanor: "I have nothing against that."
Erika: "Ah, that's right, that's one of the twenty rules of your friend."
Satsukawa: "You lost me again... but yet again I must express how little comfortable I am with treating a real case as if it was a mystery novel."
Erika: "Yeah, yeah... no need to remind me that every time. At any rate I suppose that she might have acquired that much money, if she stole it from some criminal organization."
Satsukawa: "I suppose so, but I don't really think Yakuza would kill a kid so easily. Those families that survived to this day are not stupid, they know the risks involved with murdering people. And they definitely wouldn't do that in a school using such a conspicuous system."
Erika: "I agree. Then the other option is that she was involved in a small gang, a juvenile one."
Satsukawa: "Maybe our cultists are involved in some shady business. If that's the case Gotsuji might have been part of their group and she was punished after they found out that she was embezzling more than her due."
Erika: "Hitomi Gotsuji fell upon the wrath of Pazuzu. I suppose that fits, it's an interesting scenario."
Satsukawa: "However we have no reason to think she was particularly involved with their occult rituals."
Erika: "That doesn't mean much. The occult fluff might be just a cover and the real members are probably those who believe that the least."
Satsukawa: "I think you should really talk with this Teramoto girl."
Erika: "No, not yet. If I understand correctly she's a tough one. I prefer to meet her when I'm properly prepared to crush that hard carapace of hers."
Satsukawa: "I see..."
Erika: "So, what else can you think about? Don't tell me you're done already."
Satsukawa: "Well... I don't really know what other explanation could there be..."
Erika: "You were doing good. Something with a completely random schedule and that could let her gain a huge amount of money in few hours each time. That's what you said, right?"
Satsukawa: "Something else other than illegal activities?"
Erika: "Yes, sort of. Except it doesn't really need to be a huge amount, just a lot of money."
Satsukawa: "You don't mean..."
Erika: "Yes, I mean exactly that!"
Satsukawa: "That's a bit..."
Erika: "What's wrong, Satsukawa-san? Don't tell me you never heard of enjo kousai before. She was almost eighteen years old. What else girls of her age do when they want to buy a Louis Mutton bag?"
Satsukawa: "Well... certainly... it makes sense... if it was just compensated dating..."
Erika: "Oh please... am I really supposed to buy that? That's just an euphemism for prostitution. Of course they'd never admit that, seeing as how it's illegal. By the way, Satsukawa-san, you never told me if the victim was a virgin. I'm sure our unscrupulous coroner checked that."
Satsukawa: "Ahem... she wasn't."
Satsukawa: "She had several boyfriends, that's really not that strange for a girl of her age. Anyway, we would've noticed if she received calls and messages from strange phone numbers."
Erika: "What if she used internet for that? Do you really think she'd give her personal phone number to her clients?"
Satsukawa: "Good point, I'll tell the geeks at the headquarter to check if they can find something regarding that."
Erika: "I wish I could check that hard disk myself."
Satsukawa: "I think that might be arranged, if you're fine with a copy."
Erika: "I'd be very grateful for that."
Satsukawa: "I'll see what I can do."
Erika: "There's a another explanation as to how Gotsuji might have acquired that much money."
Satsukawa: "Another one?"
Erika: "You're completely clueless, aren't you?"
Satsukawa: "You don't mind telling me, right?"
Erika: "Sigh... you aren't even trying! Oh well, I guess I'll tell you then."
Rokudou: "If it's milady's last hypothesis, that's probably her favorite."
Satsukawa: "So in other words so far we've been discussing about what she thinks are the less likely possibilities?"
Erika: "Silence! That's not true at all! I just left the best for last, but that doesn't mean it's the most probable."
Rokudou: "It means that's what she likes it the best for her own reasons."
Erika: "Okay silence now, seriously! The last hypothesis is..."
I make a dramatic pause. A great detective should always pay attention to details such as pacing and theatrics. That's the essence behind a detective's declarations. Substance is what's most important, but form is what makes the difference. It's not just pure aesthetic, it's also a powerful psychological weapon against the guilty minds. You won't scare anyone with clumsy words and a submissive attitude.
Rokudou: "I see..."
Erika: "In other words the victim was blackmailing someone. That would explain where did she get that money from and why that someone wanted her to die. If you connect the dots it's really simple. If she was blackmailing someone, it's only natural that she wanted to meet that person in secrecy to receive her payments. And that's only natural that the blackmailed would hate her and that he'd decide to solve the problem... radically. It'd be a real classic, not really original, but that's a whydunit that always works. Of course that means that someone has something to hide and that the victim somehow learned that secret. Given all these reasons I believe our next step should be to inquire into the private lives of everyone that was involved with the victim and look for any shady secrets they may hide."
A perfect execution. My exposition was flawless and no one can really confute its plausibility.
I see that Satsukawa is evaluating my words carefully. He is probably thinking that it is indeed a sound theory and that it is decidedly the right lead to follow. After all bending people's will to mine through my rhetorical skills is one of my many qualities.
Satsukawa: "You aren't saying this just because you really want to nose about in people's private lives, right?"
Rokudou: "Hu hu hu hu!"
Erika: "Satsukawa-san! I'm offended!"
Why did he become smart all of a sudden?!
Satsukawa: "Well, if someone is hiding something, it's probably not a good thing. I don't mind helping you in exposing their felonies, even if it isn't related to the case."
Erika: "Like I said, it is related to the case!"
Satsukawa: "Okay. At any rate I think we've discussed enough. When are we going to collect even more evidences and testimonies? I supposes there's still a lot of students you want to talk with."
Erika: "No point in going there when they're still busy with their lessons."
Satsukawa: "Then, what's the plan?"
Erika: "The plan, Satsukawa-san, is to take our time and find a nice place where we can have our lunch. I don't suppose that we can find high quality restaurants on this side of Tokyo, but there ought to be one of those characteristic family driven traditional eateries. I'm really in the mood for some hand made udon to eat with a pair of bamboo chopsticks. Aaah, did I ever tell you how much I love chopsticks? And after enjoying our meal in all tranquility and waiting for time to pass, we can go back to the Mitsugi institute and resume our investigations, while the students are busy with their club activities. Does this plan sound good enough to you? *giggle* *giggle*"