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The Adventures of B-kun: Murder on the Panda Express

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“Thank you for your help, B-kun.” Violet gently wrapped her arms around his shoulders and gave them a squeeze. “I’m really glad you were here.”

B-kun shrugged. “Think nothing of it.”

Violet’s magenta lips smiled, but there was a note of sadness in her soft blue eyes. She looked away for a moment before asking “It’s late...do you have a place to stay? I know with...everything you have going on, you’re trying to avoid public places, like motels. My father has an apartment not too far from here, you can stay there for the night...or longer, if you would like to stick around...”

“Thank you, that would work well for the night,” B-kun responded, seeming to miss Violet’s hopeful gaze. “I plan to be out of the city early tomorrow morning.”

After Violet handed over the keys, and they said their goodbyes, B-kun headed out the door with Ben Near in tow. As he passed her, Ben heard Violet sigh and mutter to herself “I can’t even stand a chance against that woman’s ghost.”

As the under-spoken detective and his companion made their way towards the address Violet had given them, they were greeted by the blaring of sirens. B-kun pulled his hood over his head as they approached the police car barrier in front of the costly looking apartment complex.

“What happened?” Ben inquired of a bystander, a woman somewhat past her middle years.

“A murder!” the woman answered excitedly. “Well, the police haven’t officially called it yet, but I know it had to be...I mean, with her lifestyle and all...”

“Who was the victim?” B-kun interrupted in a low voice, keeping his face hidden.

“The girl who lived in the apartment above the Panda Express, Caroline something or other, I think her name was. Pretty thing, but, you know,” the woman glanced around, leaned in, and lowered her voice, “I live by the elevator, and let me tell you, I’d see her coming in at all hours of the night...with men...and women...”

Catching sight of a young man with a gray, woolen, police-issued blanket wrapped around his shoulders, the terse detective left the woman to her ramblings.

“Did you know the victim?” B-kun asked.

With a dazed expression on his face, the young man nodded. “She was my sister...I...I still can’t believe this happened.”

“Do you know what happened?”

“I...I’m not sure...I was over in her apartment for dinner. She ordered some take-out from the Panda Express, we laid out the food, you know, like ‘family-style’, started digging in and then, she just...she keeled over, and...oh my god, I can’t believe she’s really dead.”

“Do you know of anyone who’d want to hurt her?”

“I don’t know...I mean, she wasn’t perfect, but...wait...she did mention that she was seeing someone that she was really into, but then...well she said the person went all stalker-y on her and she had to end it. Huh...I don’t even know if it was a guy or a girl...Carol was bi, you know...”

Ben pursed his lips. “I’m sorry for your loss, kid.” He lowered his head in a gesture of sympathy before scuttling after B-kun, who was artfully making his way towards the front of the Panda Express.

“Yeah, it was us three here tonight. I took the order, it was egg rolls, mu-shu pork, and general tsao’s chicken, with a diet Coke and a Dr. Pepper. I asked if they wanted silverware, and the girl said no, they had their own.” A straw-haired youth whose nametag read “Jacob” was saying as Ben caught up.

“The police said it looked like poison, and they suspected us, but they searched thoroughly and couldn’t find a container for the poison, and all three of us have been here all night,” said the brown-haired young man with the nametag “Chris”.

“They even body searched us, if you can believe it. I mean, seriously?” the red-haired girl with the nametag “Fiona” huffed indignantly. “Wait...who did you say you were, again?”

But B-kun was already heading towards the back door of the shop, which had a sign that said “STAIRS” next to it.

Ben made it to the landing of the first floor just in time to see the policeman in front of an apartment talking on his com. “...Potent poison...” a staticky voice was saying, “...lab only found trace amounts on one side of a clean flat napkin in the dumpster, with traces of ethanol, used as a solvent for the poison...want you to come down and question the restaurant employees again...”

After the uniform’s shadow disappeared around the corner, B-kun slipped soundlessly into the apartment. Ben sighed, glanced around, and followed.

Inside the studio apartment they found the chalk outline of the body next to a low table with two plates, two sets of silverware, two take-out drink containers, and several take-out cartons. Closer inspection of the plates showed that they had nearly identical half-eaten remains from all the cartons.

B-kun gave a rudimentary inspection of the rest of the apartment, which contained all the normal paraphernalia of a college student with well-to-do parents. His gaze paused briefly on a group of framed photos next to the bed, one of which was of a pretty young brunette next to the young man they talked to downstairs, dressed in a graduation gown and cap. On it was signed: “Next it’s your turn sis, love Harold”.

Nothing else seemed to catch the detective’s interest until he began to carefully flip through the pages of a notebook on a desk next to several textbooks (using a pen he had with him, so as not to disturb any fingerprints).

Inside were notes scrawled in a passably neat hand (of some sort of math subject, it appeared to Ben), but the girl’s boredom was made clear by the doodles drawn around the edges of the pages.

All around the pages dated within the last two weeks appeared five particular symbols, repeated many times, in differing sizes and orientations:

post-7969-0-60314500-1370311552_thumb.pn

“Well,” Ben mused, “the bro coulda done it, I s’pose, but he looked genuinely upset...”

“No, I believe it was someone else,” B-kun declared after studying the symbols for a minutes.

“One of the kids from Panda? How?”

B-kun glanced towards the table. “If I’m right, the police will find the poison on that...”

The next day, in part due to acting on an anonymous tip that was phoned in, the police were able to make an arrest in the murder of Caroline Somners.

Who does B-kun suspect?

How was the poison administered?

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16 answers to this question

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Posted · Report post

I'm suspecting Fiona -- because I can see the symbols potentially spelling those letters

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Posted · Report post

My guess is that the poison was on her fork....

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Posted · Report post

I believe that the

Chris. Because he masked all the letters of his name. Not sure yet on the delivery method.

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Posted · Report post

Since ethanol was used, and the poisoner wanted to be sure she'd get it and not her brother, I would assume that her drink was poisoned. However, the "clean, flat" napkin would suggest otherwise, since condensation would likely destroy the napkin. So that's just a guess.

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Posted · Report post

Some good starts, but the good police are going to need something more specific to go on (on both parts) ;).

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Well like

He had motive & access. Chris' name was scrawled all over the inside of her notebook, so she was obviously into him. But he worked downstairs from her apartment and would have been able to see her coming and going with a variety of people. That's when he went psycho. He also had access to her apartment via the back stairs and an easy excuse to be there (delivering food). He would want to disguise his name in her notebook to prevent suspicion from falling on him. Since he was dating her & probably often took her food orders, he'd know what drink she'd order.

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Posted · Report post

No, sorry, I mean more specific in terms of relating to the clues/evidence in the OP.

Btw, handwriting analysis and CSI determined that no one but the victim wrote on the notebook ;).

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Removed as it is now a duplicate post.

Edited by Nins_Leprechaun
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Posted (edited) · Report post

Well like

He had motive & access. Chris' name was scrawled all over the inside of her notebook, so she was obviously into him. But he worked downstairs from her apartment and would have been able to see her coming and going with a variety of people. That's when he went psycho. He also had access to her apartment via the back stairs and an easy excuse to be there (delivering food). He would want to disguise his name in her notebook to prevent suspicion from falling on him. Since he was dating her & probably often took her food orders, he'd know what drink she'd order.

Adding to this

The symbols are actually the laetters of Chris just a pairing of both the lower case and capital version of the letter (for example C and c).

Furthermore, Chris really doesn't seem upset that his recent now ex girlfriend is dead.

I think her cup was poisoned. The killer used ethonal as a solvent, but ethonal has a strong taste. In order to avoid adding too much directly to the drink and risking the taste or smell giving it away the killer added the solution to an empty cup and dumped out the solution leaving enough traces to still be effective. Being ever so careful the killer also wiped down the cups rim which got the solution on it from dumping it out as to avoid a queer taste if she drank from the cup directly. This explains the napkin as very little would be needed to clean the cup rim.

Last but not least, I would hazard that the poison was dissolved in a bottle of rice cooking wine. So long as the bottle wasn't in a place the cook would use it this would serve as an ideal container. Any Asian resteraunt is likely to have numerous bottles of the stuff so the police wouldnt have reason to search them, it would explain the ethonal and last but not least it ties in with my theory of how and why the poison was administered as it was as rice cooking wines can have a very strong very distinct flavour.

Edited by Nins_Leprechaun
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Posted · Report post

Well like

He had motive & access. Chris' name was scrawled all over the inside of her notebook, so she was obviously into him. But he worked downstairs from her apartment and would have been able to see her coming and going with a variety of people. That's when he went psycho. He also had access to her apartment via the back stairs and an easy excuse to be there (delivering food). He would want to disguise his name in her notebook to prevent suspicion from falling on him. Since he was dating her & probably often took her food orders, he'd know what drink she'd order.

Adding to this

The symbols are actually the laetters of Chris just a pairing of both the lower case and capital version of the letter (for example C and c).

Furthermore, Chris really doesn't seem upset that his recent now ex girlfriend is dead.

I think her cup was poisoned. The killer used ethonal as a solvent, but ethonal has a strong taste. In order to avoid adding too much directly to the drink and risking the taste or smell giving it away the killer added the solution to an empty cup and dumped out the solution leaving enough traces to still be effective. Being ever so careful the killer also wiped down the cups rim which got the solution on it from dumping it out as to avoid a queer taste if she drank from the cup directly. This explains the napkin as very little would be needed to clean the cup rim.

Last but not least, I would hazard that the poison was dissolved in a bottle of rice cooking wine. So long as the bottle wasn't in a place the cook would use it this would serve as an ideal container. Any Asian resteraunt is likely to have numerous bottles of the stuff so the police wouldnt have reason to search them, it would explain the ethonal and last but not least it ties in with my theory of how and why the poison was administered as it was as rice cooking wines can have a very strong very distinct flavour.

Correct on the first part. :thumbsup:

The restaurant staff corroborated that the three of them had been there all night, and it would be noticeable if one person had been gone for more than a short bathroom break.

Altering symbols drawn all over two weeks worth of notes would have taken a non-trivial amount of time, and if you wanted to mask a five letter name, why change all the same letters the same one, keeping it obvious whatever it was was five letters?

It makes much more sense that the girl drew them herself as some kind of artsy doodling, which was later confirmed by police evidence ;)

Very clever on the second part, you should write your own mysteries! ;D

The police found no poison on anything but the napkin, and the above mentioned testimony indicates the killer didn't have a chance to get rid of it.

Also, the napkin was not creased.

But I think you're getting close :ph34r: .

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Was the poison ingested, or was it strong enough to kill just if you got it on you?

Theory for poison administration:

Perhaps all three were in on the murder? One of them could have sneaked into the building and put poison on one side of a knife, then wiped off the excess with the napkin. All three could be lying that they were there the whole time. The murderer would see that they had silverware, and just ask them if they needed any to throw the police off the trail. The knife would be on the table, so maybe some poison would have gotten on it. When the woman cut some chicken or something, the poison got in her food.

Just a crazy theory.

Edited by Kikacat123
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Posted · Report post

Was the poison ingested, or was it strong enough to kill just if you got it on you?

Theory for poison administration:

Perhaps all three were in on the murder? One of them could have sneaked into the building and put poison on one side of a knife, then wiped off the excess with the napkin. All three could be lying that they were there the whole time. The murderer would see that they had silverware, and just ask them if they needed any to throw the police off the trail. The knife would be on the table, so maybe some poison would have gotten on it. When the woman cut some chicken or something, the poison got in her food.

Just a crazy theory.

Ingested.

Interesting idea, but how would they know Caroline would use the knife and not her brother?

(Btw, there is indeed one killer ;))

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Posted · Report post

Whatever happened to the other one?

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Posted · Report post

Whatever happened to the other one?

?

The other what?

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Whatever happened to the other one?

?

The other what?

Y'know, the other Adventures of B-Kun puzzle. The Sirloined Letter.

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Posted · Report post

Oh, I'm not sure, I think ppl kind of gave up. *shrugs*

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