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The Adventures of B-kun: The Sirloined Letter

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Previously...

Having broken through the codes with ease, B-kun perused the contents of the man’s phone. He would have frowned had he not already been frowning. Nothing of use. This man was clearly a lower echelon lackey of Evitceted Corp, with access to no information but that which the higher echelons deemed he needed in order to complete his task. After carefully wiping off his fingerprints with his sleeve, B-kun tucked the cell back into the man’s pocket.

“What, you’re giving it back? After we went through all that trouble?” Ben Near asked unhappily. “Shouldn’t we at least, like, take it with us?”

B-kun shook his head. “No. Doubtless the organization will be suspicious that their lackeys have not reported in by now. They’re most likely tracking it. I should be going as soon as possible. No, we should be going.” Then he looked straight into the hobo’s eyes with his clear, dark expression as serious as ever. “You shouldn’t have helped me, but you did, and now they’ll suspect you’re involved with me. They’ll capture you and torture you and try to get information out of you, and when they find out you don’t, they won’t just let you go. The only way for you to be safe is to come with me now. I’m sorry.”

Ben shrugged. “Eh...it wasn’t like my life was all that great before you came along. Besides,” he broke out into a toothy grin that reeked of alcohol, “you owe me a bottle of vodka.”

Twenty minutes later the odd pair was skirting through a backstreet in the business district. B-kun kept alert to any sudden changes in his surroundings, but he moved with purpose.

“I have acquaintances who can help find a safe place for you,” B-kun said to his unexpected companion. “But it will have to wait until morning. The only reason I came out tonight was that a friend asked for my help.”

They came to a well crafted door, above which was inscribed: The law offices of O’Hare, Heptan, Vittaro, and Deltaskos.

B-kun raised a fine-fingered hand and knocked: two long raps followed by three quick ones. There was a scuffling of feet on the other side and the door swung open.

“You came!” the pretty young woman in the doorway exclaimed before throwing her arms around B-kun’s aristocratic neck. Then she noticed his ragged companion and frowned. “...And you brought a friend...”

“Violet, this is Ben Near. The circumstances of our acquaintance are...complicated. Ben, this is Violet O’Hare.”

“College friend,” Violet filled in. She started to hold out her hand, but then, taking in the man’s attire, thought better of it. “I’m at Harvard Law now, where B-kun should be.” She gave him a warm smile but there was lament in her tone. “You were always the best of us, B. If only...”

“I didn’t come here to socialize,” B-kun interrupted. “You said you needed my help.”

Violet nodded, and her baby blue eyes clouded. “My father, Victor O’Hare, the one whose name is on the sign...he died...he...was murdered.”

“I’m sorry...” Ben said slowly. B-kun lowered his eyes.

Violet gestured in acknowledgement and continued. “It happened here, in the kitchen in the back. Dad had this place outfitted with a professional quality kitchen.”

B-kun’s brows furrowed. “The police don’t have any leads?”

The young woman shook her strawberry blonde head. “They think it was perpetrated by an outsider, because, well, it’s probably better to show you.” She motioned for them to follow her. “The kitchen...I mean, the crime scene, has pretty much been left the way it was. None of us have had the heart to go in there since the body was discovered.”

Ben Near whistled when they entered the large room. The stainless steel of the appliances glinted, the hanging copper pots glistened, and the marble of the counters shone.

Violet nodded absentmindedly. “Dad always loved cooking. He fancied himself a bit of a chef. He was a stickler for cleanliness.” She garnered a weak smile as she led them around the center island, atop which a pot sat on a stove, a bowl held the wilted remnants of salad greens, and a greying slab of meat lay on a bamboo chopping board.

There was a sharp intake of breath from Ben as attention was caught by the form on the ground, or at least, the chalk outline of where a form had been.

“Yes, that’s where he was found,” she struggled to keep her voice from shaking. “Poison, the police said. They took samples of everything but left things they way they found them...the way I found them.” Pain surged in her pretty eyes. “I was the one who found the body.”

.

B-kun’s shrewd gaze stoically surveyed the scene. It alighted on the sirloin, or what had been sirloin, on the chopping board. There appeared to be a letter carved into it: A.

“The police believe that was his dying message,” Violet said, noticing his scrutiny. “That’s why they think it was an outsider. It doesn’t really seem to point to the partners, even though from I gathered, they were having some internal issues.”

“No,” B-kun stated steadily, “on the contrary, it could have implicated any of the partners.”

Violet gasped. “What do you mean?”

The detective pointed to the knife beside the board. “It’s pointing towards where the body is. The natural motion for a person is to put the knife down pointing away from himself. Someone must have used the knife after your father was dead, from the other side of the island.”

“Why? Why carve an A into a piece of meat? It seems risky to alter the crime scene like that for something that doesn’t seem that useful to the perpetrator...”

“Most likely your father already carved something into the sirloin, to implicate the perpetrator, and he used the knife to cover it up by making it into an A when he returned to the scene,” B-kun replied. “Did the police uncover which of the partners were in this kitchen the afternoon of your father’s death?”

Violet nodded, still processing the new information. “They all admitted to being in here that afternoon, but no one can remember the exact time they were in. Neil Hepton came in for a towel, Michael Vittaro for a spoon, and George Deltaskos for a plate.”

“Do the police know how the poison was delivered?”

Violet shook her head. “The lab tests haven’t come back yet. Dad always cooked alone and never let anyone near the island when he was cooking so the killer couldn’t have just dropped the poison in somewhere. He always gathered all his ingredients on the island when he started cooking...mise en place, he called it, and he never told anyone beforehand what he was going to cook.” She gestured to the plethora of pot and pans. “No one would have known what vessel he would have used, and he always randomly chose an utensil from the drawer to use or taste with. The other partners and I sometimes cook things in here too, or make ourselves a snack, so I don’t think the killer would have poisoned everything...”

B-kun nodded. “Unlikely. And I doubt the police will find the murder weapon, the killer had the chance to take it with him when he carved the A.” He frowned and worked the case in his mind. Suddenly an image popped up in his head, a face with a cheshire-cat-that-swallowed-the-canary grin. She liked to cook too...

“I know who the killer is.”

Why did B-kun say the dying message could have implicated any of the partners?

Who does B-kun think the killer is?

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Posted · Report post

Well, the first letter of each of the other partners' last names (D,V,H) could be changed into looking like an A. That added to the fact that what was carved into the steak was changed by the killer. Someone with no connection to the dead man would not be easily identified by a single letter.

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Good starting thoughts, but let's assume that Violet knows her father's hand writing style of letters and A looks roughly like it does in this font (i.e no curvy stuff or blocky stuff).

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Well...without even knowing what was carved into the steak at first, just the fact that he took the time to carve something into the steak indicates that he knew his killer and the fact that the killer took the time to change it afterwards indicates that they would be readily identified by what was on the steak,

That being said the only other thing that comes to mind at the moment is that he had carved clock hands into the steak.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

V would be similar enough to A for Vittatro (provided the killer also rotated the chopping board)

A capital Delta would be similar to an A and implicate Deltaskos

Not sure about Hepton

Edited by phaze
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I'm sorry, but I couldn't help noticing. Do you, by any chance, read or seen Death Note? Back on topic...

Hepton. He was the only one to take something not a piece of silverware.

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1 point to RG, 1 point to phaze, still 1 point up for grabs for 1 ;).

@flame: um...I'm pretty sure that's not a crime... :P

Edit: And of course I'm familiar with DN...after all, I am a shinigami ;P

Edited by Yoruichi-san
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Posted · Report post

Violet!

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Posted (edited) · Report post

A 7 for Hept-an maybe?

Edited by Rob_Gandy
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perhaps the pan on the stove has something to do with it and/or the sirloin and salad greens. meticulous chef who kept a clean kitchen and practiced mis en place which includes gathering all cookware needed as well as food before starting to cook. cant think of a reason to have a pan for preparing sirloin.

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Neil Hepton

N

he has trimmed & changed the initial N to implicate the others.

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Poisoned? From what I just read about mise en place, If the steak was on the chopping block to be cut then he hadn't started cooking yet and probably hadn't tasted any of the food. So that would mean that if he was poisoned it most likely wouldn't be in any of the food he was preparing, so the poison and how it was administered were brought into the kitchen by the killer. Also, if he was poisoned, unless it was iocane powder or something like that, would take some time to kill him. I'm sure the killer either stayed until he was dead or came back later to make sure he was dead, but there is still something that that bothers me about the situation.

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Points to RG and P-ji (sorry, PG is and forever will be taken by puzzlegirl). Interesting line of thought TO, but the letter was somewhat centered, not on the edge of the meat.

Sorry for confusing P-ji, I negligently assumed everyone likes their sirloin steaks the way I do...with a red wine reduction. Hence the pot. The mystery is a tad biased in favor of those who like cooking *whistling*.

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By "towel", what exactly do you mean? A hand towel, a paper towel, a bath towel, etc?

The guy, Neil Whatchamacallit, used the towel and poisoned it. O'Hare then used it and it went into his pores. At least, that's what I've learned from watching Monk.

Edited by Aaryan
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The mise en place was interrupted rather early--there is none of Y'san's red wine, no other herbs or spices. There are salad greens in a bowl, but no other little bowls with other ingredients. Are the salad greens wilted because it has been many hours since the murder? or were they wilted by some preparatory step? Since no other ingredients were visible, I presume the former. So, just as he was starting to put his ingredients and utensils together, he stopped, realized he had been poisoned, realized who had done it, carved something in the meat, and died. Odd that he would carve something in the meat. If it's to implicate a partner, he'd have to imagine that the partner could come back in and alter/remove it. Obviously, I have no clue who did it. I'm even mystified how he knew who had poisoned him.

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@CaptianEd

the steak is also gray, must have been ages since the murder

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The guy, Neil Whatchamacallit, used the towel and poisoned it. O'Hare then used it and it went into his pores. At least, that's what I've learned from watching Monk.

That same thought occured to me.

We are working under the assumption that what we are told is all true. Not that Yoruichi-san would give us false information, but what we are told is what the police think happened and some of their first thoughts based on their first observations. There is no word on an autopsy or what the tests revealed about the samples that were taken. All we know is the police did their thing and left.

Which brings me to the letter carved into the steak.

We would assume that he carved something into the steak that was changed by the killer, because that is what we are led to believe. Since, by the placement of the knife, we know the killer carved into the steak, it is completely possible that the killer carved the A into the steak as a calling card. Just a thought.

@CaptianEd

the steak is also gray, must have been ages since the murder

Grey meat isn't always a bad thing. He may have had it aging in the fridge and was now ready to use it.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

helvellic acid in mushrooms is rendered inert by cooking

Edit: It may also be treated with vinegar. Any mushrooms in the salad?

Edited by phaze
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By "towel", what exactly do you mean? A hand towel, a paper towel, a bath towel, etc?

Hand towel. And the poison was definitely ingested.

The mise en place was interrupted rather early--there is none of Y'san's red wine, no other herbs or spices. There are salad greens in a bowl, but no other little bowls with other ingredients. Are the salad greens wilted because it has been many hours since the murder? or were they wilted by some preparatory step? Since no other ingredients were visible, I presume the former. So, just as he was starting to put his ingredients and utensils together, he stopped, realized he had been poisoned, realized who had done it, carved something in the meat, and died. Odd that he would carve something in the meat. If it's to implicate a partner, he'd have to imagine that the partner could come back in and alter/remove it. Obviously, I have no clue who did it. I'm even mystified how he knew who had poisoned him.

Yeah, there's a lot of details I left out, mainly because it would take too much time and energy to list every single thing. The important things should have been mentioned though ;).

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It's true that you know what's important, a lot better than I do. So, assuming your comment is intended as an explanation as to why my inference was wrong...

He doesn't allow anybody near the island when he's cooking.

He may not trust any of the partners.

But he MAY trust his daughter Violet.

Perhaps Violet brings a piece of rhubarb pie (with the highly toxic leaves included), sets it on a counter away from the island ("Here, Father, I've brought you something to munch on while you make your dinner").

He eats the pie, realizes it's poisoned, carves a V in the sirloin, and dies.

Violet comes back in the room, edits the V to an A, reverses its direction, removes the pie, and reports the discovery to the police.

I don't propose this as an irrefutable case, merely as a possibility At this point, I don't even see why the pot or the bowl of wilted greens is important. However, the rest of you guys will figure it out :-).

Edited by CaptainEd
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Violet would seem like the most likely killer at this point, but if we analyze the last things he says...

She liked to cook too...

“I know who the killer is.”

B-kun had just finished speaking to Violet. In his mind he says 'She liked to cook too...' Now she could refer to Violet that isn't a real stretch, but the word liked is what causes to me to rethink this. If he had thought 'She likes to cook too..' then Violet would most likely be the killer he was thinking of, but liked...this causes me to think it may be an old acquaintance, ex wife or someone else from their past.

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THe prior B-kun story ("Study in Scarlet", I don't have a link to it, but it's still in this forum) mentions, but does not describe, a female of some importance to B-kun. On the other hand, the Study in Scarlet is sure to have had Red herrings...on the other other hand, Violet begins with "V"...

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Violet begins with "V"...

so does Victor and Vittaro, I think Victor would have been more specific if it was Violet

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All true. Of course, he may have died before finishing...Still, I totally agree we don't have a case against her or anybody else, merely a hint. (Until someone sees deep into the ramified labyrinth of Y-san's creation).

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Posted · Report post

@Y-San What is B-Kuns gender?

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@Y-San What is B-Kuns gender?

Male.

Good observations, everyone. There are references to things revealed in past series, to be revealed in future series, etc. There are a lot of things that tie in to the over-arching storyline(s), which are necessarily vague. but I try to make things that tie in to the current mystery pretty clear.

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