Book Review: Case Closed Volume 31

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This must be nice for everyone. As is obvious from my review of Cage of Eden Volume 8, I placed an order for some books through Amazon, which amounts to four books total. Recently, I received two more books from that order. Today, I will be reviewing one of those books, which is called Case Closed Volume 31 by Gosho Aoyama.

As I have given a series synopsis in an earlier post, I will not go over it again.

Jimmy has figured out who killed the man at the pottery place he, Rachel, and Serena went to, but he must act fast, before an innocent person is arrested for the murder, as well as explain the trick employed.

Afterwards, Jimmy, Richard, and Rachel are off to Aoiya Inn because Richard has been asked by a client to look at something. When they get there, they hear that a man named Richard Moore has already picked up the attaché case that they were supposed to pick up. However, before they can confront the imposter, he is found dead and everyone believes it is a suicide. Jimmy, on the other hand, suspects murder, when he makes a connection with the corpse that Yamamura told them about.

Then, Jimmy and the Junior Detective League go to Izu with Doctor Agasa, where they run into Rachel and Serena. Yet instead of having a relaxing vacation with their combined groups, things are ruined when a man has been found dead and none of the suspects claim to have been at the scene. Jimmy must now not only find the guilty party but also find out the trick was done.

Finally, there is no rest for anybody, even in Osaka. Harley is in the middle of a kendo, but his curiosity is aroused when he learns that a person that was covered in blood in the storage room and confirmed dead in the changing room. However, while Jimmy, who came to visit with Rachel and Richard accompanying him, is just hearing the details of the case, Harley has already figured out who the killer was. Once the case is resolved though, they get caught in another case, while touring Osaka. The group sees somebody on fire at the rooftop of Osaka Castle. Jimmy and Harley are now about to be thrown into a really crazy mystery that has some connection to a case from thirteen years ago.

I enjoyed this book. As the first case was continuation of a case of the previous volume, which is the last book I am expecting from my Amazon order, I cannot really judge this one too well. The Aoiya Inn case was setup somewhat well. There was only one thing that I could tell was obvious. This is definitely better than how episode 6 of the anime was, where everything was obvious. I have said time and again that obvious tends to ruin a lot of mysteries. Fans of detective, mystery, and crime fiction do like to solve mysteries on their own, but they do not want something that is so obvious. If too much is obvious, that thrill of figuring out the culprit before the protagonist, if the main character is the investigator, does not even exist. As for the Izu case, the case was setup pretty well. Very little was obvious. I had my sights on one man who showed up late for scheduled meeting and I was certainly misled. After all, I thought the excuse to visit a grave was a lie. Now, people do visit graves regularly and will call to say that they will be late, but that is not guaranteed to be what they are doing. There were a few funny things that happened too, but they mainly involved Rachel and Haibara. For example, out of habit, Jimmy tries to bring out his bow tie and Haibara comes waltzing in with it in her hands, even though she has been in the room ever since leaving the beach. It looks like Rachel is not the only one who has Jimmy pegged, because Haibara said she asked a clerk if something happened. I am not sure about you guys, but I do not think a child would be asking a clerk if something happened when the people with them leave them in the room. Then again, I doubt anybody would leave a child alone in a hotel room. Also, like Jimmy, Haibara is not really a child, so it would be fine to leave her on her own. Of course, Rachel does not go asking if any crimes happened every time Jimmy is late. Another funny thing was when Jimmy and Agasa were wondering why Haibara sat out in the sun even though she knew better, she said that she did not want to look like she was running away. When she is asked from what, Haibara says dolphins. That was hilarious. If she views Rachel as a dolphin, one of the most lovable creatures in the ocean, as she puts it, there should be no reason for her to avoid Rachel. What makes it even funnier is that Rachel was the one who noticed Haibara was not looking well, according the conversation between Jimmy and Agasa. It does not look too good when one is rescued by somebody that they do not particularly like, huh? I would not blame Haibara. I would not probably be that happy either, but as I said in my review of Cage of Eden Volume 5, we cannot choice where help comes from, only if we get help. Yes, that was a survival series, while Detective Conan (Case Closed) is not, but that very much applies here too. The difference though, which is similar to Cage of Eden Volume 8, Haibara, like Miina, Haibara was not really given the choice as to whether or not she was helped. Because of this, I would probably be grateful, even if I do not say it directly, if I were in her situation. The funniest part though was that when Rachel said she thought Haibara hated her Amy said that it was not true, saying that Haibara told Jimmy that Rachel appears to have big child-bearing hips, making Rachel wonder what kind of conversations the kids were having. While I agree with Rachel that it was not something appropriate for kids to talk about, this is just one of those situations that are funny because kids are just too honest. Besides, Jimmy and Haibara do not share many of the conversations with others, though Agasa is in the loop on a few of them, which is understandable because he knows that Jimmy and Shiho Miyano, Haibara's true name, are not really kids. Though most of her appearances were funny, Rachel had few nice scenes in the case. When the culprit was revealed, he said that he had to gather a lot of courage to go through with the murder but Rachel said that courage is a word to give people strength to do what is right and that it should not be used as an excuse to kill. Although she said that she only said what she thought Jimmy would say, when discussing it with Serena, her words had a big impact on Haibara. Most the time, Haibara has been trying to avoid Rachel, but her after hearing her words, Haibara walked up Rachel and introduced herself. I would like to say that this changed their relationship a lot, but I cannot, especially since I have already covered most of the volumes after this one and they are not seen together a whole lot in those volumes. Those are very profound words from Rachel. I do agree with her though. It really reminds me of Kenshin, from the show Rurouni Kenshin, saying that a person can die at any time but it takes courage live. Yes, the people he said that too were about to commit suicide, but modifying it a bit would make it apply to murderers as well. After all, a person who kills somebody is the same kind of coward as somebody who commits suicide. There are certainly exceptions, but most of those are only for defending oneself and those important to them. The first Osaka case was okay. It was better setup than the Aoiya Inn case, but not by much. There was only one thing that was obvious, which is certainly good. The only thing I kind of liked though was the fact that Harley had pretty much solved everything before Jimmy arrived. Yes, he took more time to do it than it did for Jimmy to become suspicious of the storage room, but it definitely showed that Harley does belong in somewhat the same league as Jimmy. After all, Jimmy is usually correcting Harley, when they are not investigating together. Aside from that though, I cannot think of much else good that caught my eye in this case. As for the second Osaka case, the case had a very good start, which I would expect since I already read how it ended. Of course, there was one case Gosho recently published that went from dull to pretty interesting, so I am glad that things were not that way here. As I have most of my thoughts about this case in my review of volume 32, I will not say any more about the case. The fact that most cases only had one obvious thing, as well as the fact that Haibara made things pretty funny and Rachel gave a profound message to a murderer, which even inspired Haibara to get to know her better, made this a great volume.

Although I liked the volume, there are certainly some issues. First, both the Aoiya Inn case and the first Osaka case both had kind of obvious culprit. I will admit that I did not notice the former at first, but it was definitely weird, especially since Rachel said her name was on her cell phone and the guy did not ask if he was talking to Richard or not. Yes, Jimmy made Richard famous enough that people should recognize him, but people would and/or should at least confirm that they are talking to who they think they are. That, along with the fact that the imposter got the attaché briefcase with Richard all connected that man to the crime. At least, Jimmy did not overlook this fact and used it as his proof to corner the culprit. At the same time, since things like this are what usually expose criminal in real life, I can overlook it for the Aoiya Inn case. As for the first Osaka, I knew right off who the killer was. I do not know of anybody that would stay behind with a corpse, since they all thought the victim was either dead or hurt badly. Yes, Jimmy, Richard, and Harley probably would, but none of those three were involved until Harley heard about the body found. Another thing bad about this was that there was nothing to suggest that this case focused on dramatic irony. The only time a culprit should be obvious is if the case utilized dramatic irony like episodes 9 and 31 (Japanese count on both). Otherwise, the case will become one of those fans of detective, mystery, and crime fiction will hate because what was obvious should not have been. For me, along with the fact that Harley already solved it while Jimmy was just getting the details caused me not like it as much as I would have if Jimmy had not been involved. The only other problem I had was more of an annoyance. Most of the cases, excluding the second Osaka, which ends its run in volume 32, and the pottery case, since I cannot really judge it properly, seemed rather uninteresting. I was not really that much in mood for the Aoiya Inn case due to my complaints from earlier, which is also the case for the first Osaka case. The fact that few cases were very interesting, as well as the fact that the obvious ruined two of the cases that were complete in this volume, does not make this look as good I would have liked.

Despite the issues, the humor present in the Izu case and the fact that the second Osaka case started off well made this worth reading. I recommend this to fans of Detective Conan (Case Closed). As for fans of detective, mystery, and crime fiction, I am not too sure I would recommend this, since most of the cases were uninteresting or ruined by the obvious, but the Izu case and the start of the second Osaka case may be worth checking out. As of everyone else, this serves as a good introduction to the series, but not so much the detective, mystery, and crime fiction genres, due to the same reasons I gave for fans of those genres.

What are your thoughts on Case Closed Volume 31? Do you agree or disagree with my views? Do you have anything to add? Feel free to comment.

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