Before I read the solution to case one, I wanted to write up my thoughts on clues and potential culprit, and the (case part) of the first story in general:
Although I much prefer the character designs in the Kitty Detective series, Hanae’s looking quite adorable here.
Pages 10 and 15
I like the distinction between Inspector Kuroboshi asking for a “Strong-looking dog” rather than a “Strong dog”. I may have learned to really understand そう maybe a couple of years ago, but it still feels good to catch that Spitz’s selection was going to be what the inspector asked for, and not what he wanted.
First thought: Doesn’t this suspect description match…our own beloved Spitz???
Looking at the drawing, I couldn’t figure how it was that the suspect had a splotch of ink dripping from his shirt. I had to look up 水たまり (水溜り) to find out it’s actually dirty water; it would have felt great to determine what was on the shirt without a vocabulary look-up getting in the way, but every word I look up makes me appreciate all the ones I don’t have to look up these days.
Last night I went for a walk, and as I passed by this one house, two dogs looking out an open window on the second floor started barking at me. It was several houses before the end of a cul-de-sac, so they kept barking as I went around, and especially as I passed by the house again (across the street).
It reminded me of the case, because I’m wondering if the inspector and Spitz visited the houses in order coming from the burglered house. If so, then there could be a question of whether the dog was heard barking from around the corner as the police were giving chase. No barking could be a sign that no unknown people ran by, meaning the first guy is guilty. But I don’t think the case part of the story has given enough of a scaffolding for that to be a part of the solution. There’s no map showing the locations of the houses, which this author provides whenever it’s relevant to the solution.
Pages 21 and 22
I feel like this “play dead” trick could be relevant. If not, then I commend the author for adding a color bit to this man and his dog!
In my experience with detective stories, the aggressive guy who doesn’t like being accused often looks guilty, but isn’t. I’m sure there are detective stories out there where this kind of character is the guilty one, though. But I haven’t seen it done yet, so I’m wondering whether this will be the first time.
Is it just a coincidence that he’s pointing like the first suspect did for the “play dead” trick? I mean, just because suspect two points his finger doesn’t mean anything, right? I’m looking into it too much.
I had to re-read the “brushing teeth” part a few times before I realized it’s not to be taken literally. (I hope!)
Suspect number three looks like a good guy. Clearly he’s the guilty party. Without a doubt. Now if only there was a clue.
Since they arrived at the end of the alley, it sound like there could still be something about the order of the houses.
Looks like this page should be the hint at what clue to look for. One of the three doesn’t know anything about dogs.
Time to rewind:
Okayama in house one has a dog that can “play dead”. He also recognizes Spitz’s dog as a bulldog, but even I (someone who knows little about dogs) can do that.
Hiroshima in house two has a dog whose teeth are brushed with a file. But he obviously (hopefully!) wasn’t being serious about that. I’m not certain if the line about keeping the dogs apart is any sort of clue.
Doing a quick read up on the dobermann breed:
They’re a natural protector who won’t hesitate to act when they think their family is under threat, but they’re not aggressive without reason.
If the clue requires knowledge about dogs not covered in the case portion of the book, then this seems like it could qualify. The owner should know if his dog won’t go after a dog it doesn’t see as a threat. But the dog is fine with Hiroshima being there, so I don’t think there’s anything suspicious about him.
Yamaguchi in house three, I can’t find anything suspicious about what he said about his dog. (But I still think he looks too clean-cut not to be the guilty one!) We don’t see a dog house for his dog like the other two have, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything. Unless an old collie would usually sleep in a dog house if she had one?
Looking back at the chapter title, it’s “Beware of Dog Case”. But I’m not getting anything out of that…