The After Dinner Mysteries or Nazotoki wa Dinner no Ato de or 推理要在晚餐后 (2011): Episodes 7 and 8
The After Dinner Mysteries or Nazotoki wa Dinner no Ato de or 推理要在晚餐后 (2011): Episode 7 starts off with the outrageous suggestion Reiko Hosho (Keiko Kitagawa), our heiress, as beautiful as she is, could possibly have a bad back. Yet there she is, bent over on getting out of bed and completely unable to straighten up. It’s therefore fortuitous that she’s the heiress to a massive fortune and that one of the businesses the family owns makes documentaries. Because there’s a crime, Kageyama (Sho Sakurai), our ever-helpful butler, is able to arrange for a television crew to follow the investigation. Now she can lie on her couch at home, watching the investigation in real-time on her television. Except, to hasten her recovery, the body and mind require stimulation. Our butler therefore cooks up a TCM remedy which knocks her out. A milliner is also called. The prospect of buying a hat (or two) is bound to lift her spirits.
The crime scene is part of an abandoned factory which has been converted into a residence and design studio. Our murder victim is found in her bath, apparently drowned. She designed clothes and hats — one of the hats is missing from a set of display shelves which is highlighted as suspicious. After her sleep, the television company delivers an edited version of the rest of the continuing investigation which they watch with the milliner who may be able to offer insights into the crime which involves his “trade”. There are some nicely satirical moments as the relationship of exploitation between heiress and hatmaker is exposed. There’s also a very good dig at the uselessness of the cars the detective’s family makes.
We then come to the crunch. Why would the murderer have stolen a hat? It was raining heavily. There would have been no-one around to see anyone leaving so there was no need to wear a hat to conceal identity. Because it was raining all night, it’s also unlikely the killer arrived with a bare head and no umbrella (or hat). So what does a murderer do with a hat and why must it then be taken away? It’s a nice puzzle and although the process of arriving at the answer is drawn out, the explanation is quite pleasing. This doesn’t change the fact that the episode is woefully contrived. But that should not distract us from the fact the underlying social dynamics it describes are sadly all too real. The ending is therefore quite affecting even though, in a way, the result of the case was a type of betrayal. This intrusion of the real world into the life of an heiress is not supposed to happen.
Episode 8 has us in high school reunion territory as our heroine is invited to a party at a television station to meet up with her old friend, who has become a Kabuki actor of some fame. Her fall from her platform soles immediately after emerging from the limo gives us an excuse to meet with her four “friends” from the past, plus one or two others she knew from her time at school. Of course, Kyoichiro Kazamatsuri (Kippei Shiina), the detective who personifies incompetence, is also on hand. He’s going to act as a special advisor on a new police procedural. When the star’s sister is attacked, he takes over the investigation. Naturally he sees the heiress and, as is now the established convention, continues to believe she’s the “person of interest” from Hong Kong. Because he’s attracted to her, she and the Kabuki actor are allowed into the investigation. This gives the actor who is to play the part of a detective the chance to learn from real-world sleuth in action.
The logic turns on a nice piece of social observation and the properties of a gemstone called alexandrite or chrysoberyl. But, in part, because this is just an assault and not a murder case, the point of the episode then changes. The reveal of the guilty party in the assault occurs early. We then get into revealing the person who was guilty nine years earlier in school. Yes, this is essentially a social mystery to untangle all the misunderstandings that occurred between the children in school. It proves to be slightly humiliating for the heiress but, because she’s now beginning to mature, she immediately understands how action can be taken to remove the misunderstandings. Whether that will resolve the current problems is left to our imagination.
For reviews of the other episodes, see:
The After Dinner Mysteries or Nazotoki wa Dinner no Ato de or 推理要在晚餐后 (2011) Episodes 1 and 2
The After Dinner Mysteries or Nazotoki wa Dinner no Ato de or 推理要在晚餐后 (2011): Episodes 3 and 4
The After Dinner Mysteries or Nazotoki wa Dinner no Ato de or 推理要在晚餐后 (2011): Episodes 5 and 6
The After Dinner Mysteries or Nazotoki wa Dinner no Ato de or 推理要在晚餐后 (2011): Episodes 9 and 10.