Solve the Mystery After Dinner


Reviewed by: sukting

January 06, 2013

Rating: three-point-five

How long
10 episodes

Foreword
This is a Japanese television drama series based on the award-winning mystery novel by Japanese author Tokuya Higashigawa. How does it fare?

Introduction on characters
1. Sho Sakurai as Kageyama,
He is Reiko Hosho's new butler who has a brain for solving mysteries. He takes over when the old butler retires. He has wanted to be a baseball player or detective in his younger days. Whenever Reiko has a case she cannot solve, he calmly tells her to have dinner before discussion. Reiko is a detective but gets stuck at times. She depends on Kageyama to help her. He knows her likes and dislikes well. He has wished to either be a baseball player or detective.

Kageyama isn't afraid of authority and often talks back at her. To protect her, he often makes use of Hosho organization to buy his way into the crime scene. This unintentionally wounds Reiko's pride with his cold attitude. Yet she has to eat the humble pie to ask him for help.

2. Keiko Kitagawa as Reiko Hosho,
Her father owns a big business organization and she is his only daughter. Thus, she is a rich heiress but she wants to be independent. She hides her status to work as a police detective. She makes herself as unattractive as possible to wear business suits and glasses to work. Actually, the main reason why she wears glasses is to feel as intellectual as Kageyama.

She is often bullied by Kyoichiro as he often gets her to go on errands or steals her ideas. However, she meets her match when Kageyama starts working for her. She begins to understand the hardship of commoners after being with him.

3. Kippei Shiina as Kyoichiro Kazamatsuri,
He is the head of the Serious Crimes Unit at Kokuritsu Police Precinct's Criminal Affairs Division. He is also a bachelor and Reiko's superior. He is promoted to be an inspector at a young age. He is also famous to show off his wealth as the son of the millionaire owner of Kazamatsuri Car Motors. Still of course, his family's wealth is only one thousandth of Reiko's. He likes driving expensive sports cars like Jaguars to crime scenes.

Despite his position, he always makes silly theories. When they do not work, he starts putting the blame on others. He also takes ideas from Reiko, as if he is the one who comes up with them.

4. Toru Nomaguchi as Seiichi Namiki
He is another policeman. He likes to tease Reiko – to address her as Miss in a nightclub. He takes notes for
Kyoichiro and never fails to dig fun at him too.

5. Yasuhi Nakamura as Satoru Yamashige
As Kyoichiro keeps calling Reiko as Missy, he follows suit. He is the pathologist to confirm the time of death of the victims. He gets pissed off when Kyoichiro often sleeps on the job.

6. Anri Okamoto as Azumi Munemori
She is a policewoman who is often swept off her feet by Kyoichiro.

7. Konatsu Tanaka as Yuka Ejiri
She is another policewoman who is attracted by Kyoichiro.

8. Shiro Ito – Karasawa
He is the old, retired butler. When Reiko has trouble when young, he secretly helps her – no matter if she is chased by dogs or loses her lunchbox. When Reiko learns that Kageyama has been tailing her to protect her due to her father's command, she is touched but immediately runs to check out her old photos to get dismayed to learn that Karasawa is hiding in every photo. She threatens to dismiss Kageyama for infringing into her privacy but gets appeased whenever he cooks her a delicious meal.

Story

Episode 1 - Please remove your shoes at a crime scene

Hitomi is murdered in her bedroom, sprawling face down with her boots still on. Kyoichiro makes obvious conclusions that a man, not a woman might have killed her. He even thinks that the thin clothes rope might be the murder weapon to kill Hitomi and then hung to dry the clothes.

He also guesses the murderer has moved the body into the bedroom after helping her to wear the troublesome boots with laces. Reiko shames him by denying all the possibilities. All this while, Kageyama has been tailing them in asking witnesses. You will laugh upon seeing him hiding in the neighbouring apartment of the deceased or in a box at the fruit stall.

Kyoichiro tries to show off his Frank Muller watch by deliberately flashing it in front of Reiko all the way. However, she is too engrossed in her questioning. You will laugh when he gets her to rush to buy a handkerchief for him from the department store and yet still complains about the quality.

Reiko then interviews Hitomi's boyfriend, Hiroyuki. Reiko notices a pair of female shoes at the door. He stresses that he has broken up with Hitomi although his apartment's spare keys are still with her. Reiko's deductions on each witness as a suspect are all denied by Kageyama. Hitomi's friend is too weak, her neighbor stays too far away to hear the murderer's footsteps of leaving and the landlord only watches her walking up the stairs in a hurry. All have not enough time or strength to kill her.

Kageyama suggested the culprit is the one wearing the high heels. She can be Hiroyuki's present girlfriend, Kutsuko. She might have seen the key and sneaks into Hitomi's home out of rage. When Hitomi returns home, her doorway is so messy that she doesn't see the extra pair of white shoes. She doesn't want to dirty her home carpet so she crawls into the room in a hurry to want to get the clothes into the home to prevent them from getting wet.

However, Kutsuko is discovered by Hitomi and she is stunned, sitting on the floor. Kutsuko doesn't allow her pride to allow her to sneak away. She can't believe that the two timer, Hiroyuki can want such a poor and untidy girl. In her rage, she kills Hitomi with a thin rope found at the closet. Kutsuko pulls the carpet to prevent her from attacking Reiko with a small knife. Reiko then calls Kyoichiro to announce that she has arrested the killer. He is stunned to see her in feminine dressing. Hiroyuki apologises to her over his act.

Episode 2 - "How do you fancy some deadly wine?"

There is a blackout the night before for 2 hours. A 62 year old vet, Tatsuo is found dead at his home. He has consumed wine but Reiko and Kyoichiro can't find the wine bottle anywhere. They presumed that he might have committed suicide after asking his family who celebrates Tatsuo's birthday with him the night before. The wine in his glass contains potassium cyanide. They are his brother, Teruo(also a vet), his elder son, Keiichi (a general practitioner), his daughter-in-law, Harue (a nurse) and his younger son, Shuji (a houseman). Reiko initially thinks all have access to the poison as they have medical ground. But Tatsuo's cupboard of wine bottles is locked and no one knows the secret code so he must have killed himself.

They tell the two that they have objected to Tatsuo marrying his housemaid, Masami. They simply do not understand him since he has been a widower for 10 years. So after that, he goes to Yumiko's bar for a drink as he is upset. She maintains her innocence as she wants to marry Tatsuo not because of money. Reiko is peeved when the men keep smoking to open the windows and Shuji tells Keiichi to get another lighter since his is not working well.

Kageyama disguises as a gardener to get into the household. You will laugh upon seeing how he trims a bush into a dinosaur. He gets engrossed by Tatsuo's collection of books and ‘borrows' Agatha Christie's 1920 out-of-print book to read at home. Yumiko claims that this is the first time she sees Tatsuo cry after a drink and eating a snack mixed by the mustard sauce that she prepares. The mustard is getting expensive so she does it on her own to save money. Tatsuo keeps wine with her with the label 109.

A child, Yuta staying opposite the house sees fire moving from place to place of Tatsuo's study on the night of the murder. Kageyama deduces that the murderer has sent a birthday card with the wine and book into the place. The blackout causes him to place the card into the book as a book mark. Not doubting it to be a birthday present, Tatsuo drinks it. After he dies, the killer places the book back on the shelf in darkness but can't find the card. So if they find the card, they will know who the person is.

Reiko says excitedly that he must be Shuji since his lighter is working. Kageyama replies that she is only partly correct. It must be more than one person to carry this out as the poison has to be injected into the wine beforehand. Hiroyuki realizes why Tatsuo cries at the bar. Not because he is too sad over their objection. He cries as the mustard sauce is too spicy. The two return to the vet hospital. True enough, Hiroyuki finds a book that is placed upside down. Tatsuo's whole family is responsible for this.

All have faked to congratulate him – all their names are on the card. They conspire to lie that Tatsuo is upset but in reality, Tatsuo is happy to open a new bottle with Yumiko to celebrate. They do not want an extra share of Tatsuo's property to be given to Masami. Kageyama sighs and opens the cupboard. 109 is Tatsuo's late wife's birthday. She is still important to him. They regret over this but it is too late.

He treasures his family very much to get a bottle of wine produced on their birthdays to keep in it. How does he feel when he has thought he has gotten their consent to remarry but to discover that they have exactly poisoned him? The two do not feel happy although they solve the case.

Book ending : Shuji is the killer due to his lighter.
Episode 3 - "Please be careful of infidelity"

A member of parliament, Shinichi is found dead, only wearing his underwear in a hotel room by his secretary, Hiroaki. Hiroaki suspects that he might be murdered due to a case that he is investigating. He has been visiting factories on shoe production. Maybe it is on corruption. His safe is emptied and the cops only get the information from the hotel bellboy that a man who is 180cm tall leaves his room. Hiroaki doesn't understand why he is killed as he is down to earth to dislike playing golf and visiting expensive restaurants.

Kageyama tails Reiko to Shinichi's three girlfriends. He has been dating them at the same time. Tadahiko is a TV news host. She shows Masami on a photo that she has taken with Shinichi at the beach. Masami is peeved when Hiroyuki gets a human sized board of his favourite model, Aya to bring it home. Kanae is Shinichi's politician teacher's daughter. Aya is a university student who helps Shinichi in his politician campaign. Reiko finds nothing amiss but Kageyama finds her negligent again.

He suspects that Shinichi might be killed due to infidelity so the three women can't be spared from suspicion. Hiroyuki has been to the hotel room to discover that Shinichi is hit on the head to death by a paper weight. He has used the board as a guide to find that Aya is too tall to be the murderer to be more than 180cm. He has checked that Kanae and Tadahiko are of the same height of 160cm.

He notices that Shinichi's shoes are also removed and there is a print of kneeling on the forehead on the ground. He deduces that Shinichi is quite short. By going to the golf course or to expensive restaurants, he has to take off his shoes. He might have visited the factories to manufacture his special shoes. To make sure that his secret is safe, he locks the extra pair of shoes and the documents in the safe. Tadahiko has been with him to the beach so she knows his secret. That shows that Kanae is the only one.

Shinichi might have called Kanae's name by mistake to Tadahiko to make her mad. He kneels for her forgiveness to beg her not to tell her father about this. It enrages her further as he has disregarded how she feels. On seeing his heels, it adds fuel to fire. She forces him out of his shoes and discovers that he isn't taller than her to mock at him.

Feeling hurt by pride, he fights back and she kills him on the spot. Not wanting to leave a trace, she removes everything from him. She wears his clothes and shoes to add a windbreaker to make herself look tall to become a man. After that, she must have returned home to destroy the evidence since her parents are overseas. The two rush to her home. Sure enough, they open the furnace of the garden's burner. The clothes turn to ashes but the shoe heel is still there due to its hard quality.

Episode 4 - "The bride is inside the locked room"

Reiko's classmate, Takako is getting married and she is sour over it as she is still single. Hiroyuki accompanies her to disguise as her boyfriend and she is dismayed to see Kyoichiro there. As usual, he brags over his wealth and how honoured she is to be with him. She has to lie about her identity to be a rich woman, Bao Xiao Li from Hong Kong. The two are attended by the home butler, Yoshida and can see that Takako's younger brother, Yusuke despises the groom.

The two notice that the groom Miura looks old. Sure indeed, he is a 42 year old lawyer who ‘defects' to become Takako's family's legal consultant when seeing Kotoe getting poor to run into debts. The house for the wedding has a previous owner. She is Kotoe who is over 50 years old. Kotoe has to sell the house to Takako's mother, Yuki and the siblings also move in to stay. Her home butler still remains with them. Kotoe knows that Kageyama is a butler and praises him. Butlers are very loyal to their masters.

Kyoichiro murmurs that her dress looks old but Hiroyuki recognizes that it is made from top silk. He even smells lavender perfume fragrance from her body and she replies that she produces it from the house garden. Reiko feels bored seeing Kyoichiro borrowing Yoshida's long-sighted glasses to perform the usual magic again. Tatako feels unwell and rests in her own room. Later, all hear a scream but the door is locked.

Reiko rushes upstairs and Yoshida passes the keys to her. Both see Tatako on the bed giving her last breath and pushing her perfume on the floor before she dies. The rest only get into the room later. Miyuki asks if anything happens to Kotoe as she hears Yoshida calling first mistress. The crime scene shows that Reiko is the prime suspect – Seiichi claims that she might have killed Tatako due to jealousy and locks the door.

Kyoichiro tries to clear the air by claiming that Miyuki can also be a suspect by climbing over the balcony from next door although she claims to listen to the music from her headphones. This is later ruled out as there is no balcony. Kageyama knows that there are 3 suspects now. He affirms with Reiko that she has not committed the murder so there are 2 left.

The first one is Yoshida but it can't be him as he doesn't wear his glasses at that time. Butlers can charge into the rooms without the masters' consent. Yet, he gets Reiko to open the door as he can't find the right key to the door in such short notice to waste time.

The second one is Kotoe. Remember how he calls first mistress to make Reiko and Kotoe look at him? Also, Miyuki thinks that Kotoe is the one injured. Reiko is used to the address as this is also how Kageyama calls her too. Yoshida must have discovered Kotoe in the room and pretends that she is there at the same time with them as well to protect her. Tatako also wants to protect her by breaking the perfume bottle to hide the lavender smell.

Kageyama worries that the second murder might take place. True indeed, Yoshida is now using a knife, trying to kill Miura before wanting to end his life. Miura has cheated Kotoe's feelings and dumps her when she is poor. Kotoe forbids Yoshida to hurt himself. She is the killer indeed. Jealousy fills her mind when seeing Tatako so much in love together with Miura. More so at the wedding. Before she knows it, she has planted the knife into her back and regrets her act.

Book ending : Kotoe and Tatako's family initially make a pact not to release this scandal to the public but the two see through it.

Episode 5 - "Do you require an alibi?"

Kageyama is engrossed reading a manga but is forced to discard it aside to accompany Reiko to a murder scene at a shrine. Kyoichiro claims on how he misses Xiao Li to call this name to another woman by mistake when asking her out for dinner to keep her photo in his handphone. He has to run after the lady who leaves her handbag behind at 10pm. He and Kageyama are heartbroken to learn that the dead woman is their favourite author, Yumi.

Kageyama gets so badly affected that he drops all the wooden wishing blocks on the floor and he has to rearrange them. Yumi is stabbed to death on the chest and all guess that the time of death is to be between 9.30pm to 10pm. The shrine owner, Kanji recalls seeing her clutching her chest while praying to the gods for these few days. He also sees a man from behind chasing after someone with a handbag. That person might be the killer. Pupils from the judo club claim not to see the body as they pass by the place at 10pm.

The police feel that her working partner, Tateo is the prime suspect as he often quarrels with her lately and even moves out of her apartment. He has been too arrogant over the success after drawing the manga for her and refuses to draw the ending chapter. He claims that he is with his manager, Hiroki for dinner till 9.35pm. He later goes to a café, eating curry rice at 9.45pm so there is no way for him to kill Yumi.

The police officers take turns to use different vehicles to reach the venue in 15 min (which includes Kyoichiro's jaguar) so there is no way that Tateo can kill Yumi. They go to Yumi's small apartment to check for evidence. They can't believe that she only stays in this small room. They get to know from Yumi's neighbor, Hisako that Yumi does go out at 9.30pm the last night. Hisako looks affected but tells the police not to bother her as she needs to work till 11pm.

Like Reiko, Kageyama also finds Tateo to be the prime suspect as he keeps stressing how exciting a baseball match is on television at the same time and what dishes Hiroki cooks for him. The police have forgotten a point – where has he gone before 9.30pm? Kanji's description of the man fits Kyoichiro best as all have thought that he is the only person who tries to look handsome to wear white in a dark night.

Kageyama is sure that the event takes place before 9.30pm and he must have bribed Hiroki to make a false statement. In return, he will complete the manga. The pupils have failed to notice the body as the wooden wishing blocks have blocked their view. Yumi must have paid Hisako to lie so as to make sure that Tateo is not being suspected of killing to complete her manga.

Now, Hisako must be in danger since Kyoichiro has told him that Hisako's returning time. The two rush to Hisako's home and sure enough, Tateo wants to kill her. Kageyama stops him and tells him that Yumi's death is actually suicide. She turns the knife to herself in the struggle but Tateo is still guilty of wanting to kill Hisako. Kageyama has seen the wooden block that she draws on to wish to live a few days longer.

She has wanted to kill herself as she suffers from heart disease. He has read the manga's ending and also seen her medicine earlier. He wants Tateo to continue drawing the ending and will not disclose it to anyone else. Although the comic characters part in the end, they part amicably to have a last dance together. Kageyama tells Reiko that sometimes, it is hard to tell the harsh truth to close ones when she asks him why Yumi keeps the truth from Tateo.

Episode 6 - "The beautiful roses are murderous"

There is a belief in Fujikura family that its previous owner Beniko kills herself after her cat is dead. This small hotel consists a family of four – the asthmatic father Kozaburo (who marries into the family), the wheelchair bound mother Fumiyo who owns the hotel, a son Toshio and a daughter Masahiko. Masahiko is married to Yuji and they have a 3 year old daughter, Minako. Toshio is out of the province for business.

Recently, Toshio's cousin, Kurokawa comes to stay with them. He has introduced his junior and ex-bar hostess, Kyoko to Toshio. Thanks to him who manages to persuade his parents, both are going to get married soon. Kyoto stays in a room at the west wing and she is strangled to death one night. Her body is moved into the bed of roses. All believe the myth that she is killed by Beniko's ghost. Kozaburo mentions that he feels breathless lately when approaching Kyoto's room lately.

Kozaburo, Yuji and Kurokawa try moving the body but think it's best not to move her to leave her there. Kyoichiro deduces that the killer must have scratches on the hands but is dismayed that all three have them. Kozaburo keeps trimming flowers in the garden and he often gets scratches. As for Kurokawa and Toshio, they get lesser scratches. Toshio has stopped going to the garden to cut roses after Masahiko warns him not to do it to offend Beniko as he cut 3 roses 3 years ago.

Masahiko remembers seeing someone pushing her mother out to the garden at midnight through the balcony but Kozaburo denies. Both are asleep then and Fumiyo is sure that no one can get the wheelchair without her knowing. Kyoichiro gets the creeps when checking Kyoko's bedroom, recalling Kozaburo's words. Kyoto is believed to be strangled to death here. He becomes so nervous that he eats too many biscuits taken from a table to get a stomach upset.

Reiko interviews the bar owner and learns that Kyoto has laughed hysterically to herself outside her bar the day before. The bar owner has boasted to be the cover girl of a poster many years ago although she gains a lot of weight now. Kyoto has a lover 3 years ago and is upset over the breakup till Toshio comes along. Why does Kyoto laugh? She has seen the owner's face on the poster outside the bar – she is acting as a cockroach and Kageyama can't help it too.

Reiko comes to the garden's barn and has a scare when Minako pastes her face towards the window. She and Kageyama see a cat whose leg is injured. Kageyama gets a scratch from the cat while trying to protect Reiko. Masahiko quickly carries Minako out, saying that she will kill her grandfather if she remains. Kageyama deduces that Kyoto keeps the cat secretly as Kozaburo is allergic to it. Kyoichiro has the runs as he has eaten the cat biscuits.

The cat must have tried to leave scratches on the killer's hand in order to protect its mistress to get hurt. The person also gets to use Minako's baby pram to push the body out. Based on her intuition, Reiko concludes that Kurokawa is the killer but Kageyama rules it out as he is unfamiliar with the place to know that the pram is here. He will be also not so stupid to introduce her to his cousin if he is the ex-lover. Kozaburo also doesn't have to waste his effort as his hands are often scratched.

That leaves Yuji as he is her ex-lover. Kageyama has seen Kyoto's photo holding roses cut from the garden and recalls Yuji doing that. Yuji has thought that Kyoto has returned to seek revenge on him and kills her. But actually, she has forgotten about him and wants to start a new life. The whole family condemns him for the act.

Episode 7 - "After committing murder please do not forget to take your hat"

A casual wear fashion designer, Miki is found dead in the bathtub. Reiko has no choice but to let Kyoichiro investigate the case alone while Kageyama nurses her sprained back. He uses the family wealth to record the whole scene and Reiko is amused to see how diligent Kyoichiro suddenly becomes in front of the camera due to another pretty designer, Sanae who comes to borrow clothes from Miki to wear to a party.

Sanae discloses that Miki is harsh to juniors and is puzzled why a hat is missing from her shelf. Miki loves to fill her shelf with hats. Miki is involved with three men. The first is her landlord, Kenji who owns a car repair company. Kyoichiro is enraged when he thanks his family company for producing a huge number lousy cars to send to him for repairs. He has gone for drinks with his colleagues at the time of death.

Her second boyfriend, Shoichi is retrenched for using company funds to buy expensive things for her. He also goes broke now. He also condemns Kazamatsuri cars for always breaking down and Miki has vowed not to sit in this car brand anymore. He has just sold it away.

The third is her university lecturer, Shinji. He also trades in the Kazamatsuri car and his new car will arrive in a month. Kyoichiro is fed up when Seiichi teases him on how unreliable the cars are. Kyoichiro goes to interview Miki's boss and he regrets over her death as he shows all the designs on display that sell well. He then discloses that one designer has jumped to her death from the office building too. Kyoichiro pays respects upon seeing a hat with flowers at the site.

Kotaro, a hat maker is called in as Reiko wants to choose hats to buy since she is too bored. He has a daughter, Yukiyo and shows the two her photo. He describes choosing hats for Reiko is the same as choosing hats for Yukiyo. Kageyama thinks that the missing hat is scooped for a lost contact lens. That is why he doesn't allow the water to be drained away with the lens to refill the tub.

Reiko then deduces that the person needs the contact lens to drive a personal car away as his vision is blur in one eye on a rainy night. Shoichi and Shinji can't be the ones as their cars are sent for repairs. Kenji and Shoichi wear glasses but Kenji is drunk then so he can't drive. It must be another suspect.

Kageyama turns to Kotaro – he is the one. Keiko yells that it is impossible as she knows him from young to be a kind man. Kageyama knows that normal killers will throw the hats away but Kotaro still has the hat with him as he treats hats as art. True indeed, he is the killer as Miki causes Yukiyo to kill herself after stealing her designs and accuses her of lying when she confronts her.

Kotaro wants Miki to go to her grave to apologise to her but she refuses. After seeing her wearing a dress of Yukiyo's design and the awards that Miki wins with the designs, he can't take it anymore. He presses her head into the bathtub and she is drowned. He has thought that his hats and Yukiyo's dresses will make a good combination to make others happy. That is why he gets his friend to find Yukiyo the job, not knowing that she has been bullied all this while.

After that, he uses her straw hat to scoop out his contact lens. He has not thought what to do with it after paying respects to Yukiyo at her workplace till he gets the call as his mind is a complete blank. Kageyama has been curious of what is in the red box when Kotaro has not wanted to bring it into the house. Kotaro says that the hat is unsuitable for Reiko but Kageyama doesn't mind to bring it in with the rest.

Sure enough, Kageyama takes the straw hat from the box. Under Reiko's advice, Kotaro surrenders to the police after making a polite farewell bow with a hat. Reiko bursts into tears when Kageyama places a hat on her head to console her.

Episode 8 “Welcome to the murderous party"

Reiko attends a conference held at the television station by her high school senior and actor, Matsugoro with her 3 university mates – Hinako whose father is an office worker and only joins her school in spring, Ayaka whose father is a painter while mother is a calligraphist, Natshuki whose family is as rich as hers. They get to meet Mai, a model. All 5 women wear red dresses and Kageyama manages to get a card to sneak into the event. Kyoichiro is also present as Matsugoro needs his advice to act as a detective.

The women are amazed by Matsugoro's elder sister's Mizuho good memory who seems to remember everyone's name to greet them. She is also Matsugoro's manager. Among all, she knows Reiko and Natshuki best as they often visit their home when young. The girls give Matsugoro the nickname ‘Tami' as their family owns this company. Matsugoro has a personal assistant who is also Reiko's classmate, Tamiki.

Tamiki likes Hinako secretly and thus works for Matsugoro, hoping that she will notice him. He is disappointed to learn from Reiko that Hinako still likes Matsugoro. Reiko tells Kageyama that Hinako once asks her to pass a letter to Matsugoro but he rejects, citing that he already has a girlfriend. Thus, Reiko keeps the letter and lies to Hinako that she has given it to him. The women hear the stunning news of Matsugoro getting married soon. Ayaka feels faint by the news and is sent home.

Tamiki secretly likes Kageyama is a big fan of Matsugoro but Reiko gets him to go somewhere else after he greets Mizuho. He gets into the recording studio to make a copy of Matsugoro's university interview. He stands by the red light of a detective office setting and is embarrassed when the other women watch him. He walks away with Reiko's high school graduation book quickly. Just then, Mizuho is hit hard to the ground but a wooden background setting and is sent to hospital.

She says the attacker wears a red dress and also a necklace with a gemstone. Thus, all the 4 women become suspects as they wear necklaces and have to stay behind. Mai is not a suspect as she is the one going to marry Matsugoro soon. Kageyama gets Reiko to pretend that she is falling and Hinako helps her up. She is the culprit and she is arrested. Actually, the one she likes all along is Tamiki.

As she joins the class later, she has not known of Matsugoro's nickname. She has thought that Tami refers to Tamiki. From the clip, Kageyama sees that Matsugoro gets a congratulation flag. He deduces that it is from Ayaka done by her parents although it is not named. They were lovers and that is why she is badly affected by the news. She keeps a secret of not telling the rest but only to Hinako.

It is bad enough not to get a reply from Tamiki. She feels even worse when knowing that they are an item but she can't hate Ayaka. Upon knowing that he is getting married is the last straw that she can take to assault Mizuho. Kageyama has seen Hinako wearing agreen Alexandrite gemstone necklace as it is her lucky stone to be born in June. He notices that it turns to red under the light in the detective scene room earlier. Mizuho has Tamiki by her side all the time as he has the notes to tell her the name of every guest.

Kageyama is surprised when Mizuho greets him first although they have not met before. So is Hinako too as she only joins the class later. Seeing them together have given Hinako the wrong idea as she also heard that the future groom is going to marry someone older than him. Reiko gets apologetic after she reads the letter in her room to discover the mistake and wants to get Tamiki to visit her.


Episode 9 - "Here is the message from the deceased on this holy night"

Kageyama reaches home late to have an injured right hand. Shizuko is the queen of writing mysteries and he is her fan, keeping all her works. Kageyama wants a day off on Christmas eve as he has a date. Reiko gets jealous as she has no activity on that day.

Suddenly, Reiko gets a call from Kyoichiro that there is a murder case at Shizuko's home. Shizuko has a publisher, Takeo to manage her affairs and a maid, Yoneko to clean the home. Kyoichiro is confident that he can solve the case in one day so that all can celebrate Christmas eve. He looks forward to meet Xiao Li again, just like every murder case.

Shizuko also has a daughter, Satomi whom she needs to raise and to pay off the debts by writing novels that her husband incurs after walking out on them due to his mistress. Her husband is even ruthless to sell off her previous books' copyrights to leave her heavily in debt. Her health is badly affected and she has to rest in the right wing of her mansion. They insist of visiting Shizuko but get to see a fainted Shizuko at the doorway. Thus, Takeo carries her out and excuses her from meeting the guests.

It is found that 4 mystery writers are invited to Shizuko's home but Shizuko claims that she has not sent the invitation cards to them - it must have been a joke. They are Saoji (gourmet), Kunio(ragged), Sosuke(travel) and Rumi. Rumi, who is famous for being known as Shizuko no.2, is hit on the head by Takeo's baseball trophy and she dies on the spot.

She leaves the ‘x' alphabet on the ground with the black ink spilled by a bottle that she uses to write. Her room is on the first floor and the strange part is the trophy is thrown into the second floor window. Reiko and Kyoichiro feel that the killer must be ‘x'. He starts feeling Saoji and Satomi's thin arms to rule them out. You will laugh when he is unwilling to check Yoneko's arm as she is too old. The silly man claims that Rumi is wishing them merry Christmas.
Reiko deduces that the person must be strong but Takeo is ruled out to be the killer. Kyoichiro has also won the baseball award too and surprisingly, his arm isn't injured to give up the sport like the rest. Takeo and Yoneko are out at the nearby supermarket to buy groceries for the guests at the time of the murder so they are not suspects. Kyoichiro has to keep the rest behind. Satomi faints and she is anemic. She wakes up to draw the curtains to apologise to Reiko for alarming her.

Kageyama manages to sneak in to look for something and sees Satomi near the window on the third floor.
The others testify that Saoji has brought a cake into the kitchen when Kunio gets into an argument with Rumi for insulting his works. Kunio also claims that he goes to a nearby diner to have a drink and the staff there can testify. Saoji claims that she has met Shizuko during that time too. However, Kunio snaps that she still has a motive as her boyfriend is seduced by Rumi to break up with her.

Kageyama goes to the nearby Noel bakery to chat with the owner. He sees a Christmas cake by the side. Reiko asks Kageyama for his answer and he replies that all have been misled by the ‘x'. He thinks that Satomi is the one to throw the trophy into the second floor from her room. Why? This is to protect her mother, Shizuko. Rumi must have thought that Shizuko is the one to kill her to write her surname on the floor. Thus, she spills the bottle of black ink on the ground to cover the blood stained word.

Kageyama thinks that Saoji is the real killer as she has a motive. Actually, she could have framed Kunio as the prime suspect but she isn't in the living room to know about the argument then. Her statement can't be trusted although she claims to meet Shizuko. However, he is dismayed to learn that Saoji really has met her – something is really very wrong here and he can't figure it out.

Just then, Kyoichiro calls Reiko to tell her that someone sees Kageyama outside Shizuko's mansion with an injured right hand. Reiko rushes into the kitchen to discover that he is there, holding a knife. Saoji is dead on the floor with a smashed cake beside her. She writes the letter x on the ground using the cake cream. Reiko is alarmed to see him with a knife and blood is on his bandage – is he the killer?

Episode 10 - "Here is the message from the deceased on this holy night" – continues from 9.

Kageyama explains that he uses his hand to feel her pulse. That is why his hand is wet with blood. As for the knife, he hears someone coming in and takes it without thinking. Can't she see that there isn't any blood on the tip. Reiko then questions why he is seen the night before. He sighs and replies that he has a baseball match with the bakery owner. He loses and hits his hand on the ground out of rage.

He also throws his baseball into Shizuko's home without thinking. That is why he searches for it then and also the next day. Reiko should know that he isn't the killer as he is with her 5 minutes ago outside the mansion – the time is simply not enough for Saoji's beer to lose the bubbles in the air.

Kyoichiro arrests Kageyama and detains him in the questioning room. He demands to know his relationship with Xiao Li but he refuses to say a word even though he bribes him with pork chop rice or a car. Kageyama then stays in the cell with a fierce looking man. Kyoichiro decides that ‘x' means then and might refers to a divorcee. To his dismay, all the men are divorcees.

All decide to sit down to eat Satomi's cake. She asks Reiko what ‘x' means and Reiko replies that they are still figuring it out. Kageyama plays with the baseball with the cellmate and releases himself from his failure. He gives the ball to the cellmate as a present.

Reiko's father gets Kageyama out of jail and he hurries home to fix a meal for Reiko after seeing how she clumsily gets herself ready with salad. Kyoichiro sees the baseball and gets it from the cellmate. Kageyama will then go for his date after this. Reiko argues that Shizuko can also be a suspect since she asks the writers to her home. She might want to kill all of them as they are gaining popularity.

Kageyama feels that Shizuko is already dead. He has sensed the difference in the writing style. Taeko must be the one who replacing her as the writer. He also keeps the secret from Satomi to continue Shizuko's habit of writing letters to Satomi to prevent upsetting her. However, she has known about it 6 years ago when she discovers that Taeko's handwriting is similar to the notes that he writes on a table.

Moreover, she has not seen her mother for a long time. That is why she shows a weird expression when seeing Taeko carrying ‘Shizuko' to her bed. After seeing the body, she realizes that that is the one she sees earlier so she helps him by throwing the trophy. Takeo has dipped Rumi's fingers with black ink since he can't remove her black nail polish and writes ‘x' as he misses the old days of playing baseball.

Kageyama guesses that Saoji kills Rumi since her boyfriend has been snatched by her. Takeo is about to call the police when finding the body but stops as he fears that Shizuko's death will be uncovered. Satomi mistakens that he is the one killing Rumi so she protects him, not her mother. But why must she protect him?

Kageyama guesses that she is his illegitimate daughter and he can't announce it as he is already married. The birthday cake that she buys every year on Christmas eve is not a mistake made by her as claimed by the bakery owner. She tells the owner happily that she buys it for her father.

That is Takeo's birthday and she gets it specially for him. Kageyama notices that she cuts the first piece for him and smiles when he replies that it is tasty. When Saoji's body is discovered, she also feels that Takeo is the killer. Thus when Kyoichiro maintains that Takeo is still under suspicion, she faints. She guesses that Shizuko entrusts her to Takeo so she wants to help him.

Takeo is the killer indeed. Takeo is puzzled why the invitation cards are sent to the writers so he monitors everyone closely. That is why he is the first to discover Rumi dead. He doesn't call the police or everyone will know that Shizuko is dead. Saoji might have seen Takeo undressing Rumi to finish her disguise as Shizuko to know that she is dead. It is through this disguise that Kageyama suspects that Shizuko is dead – if she is unwell, how can she be walking to here without wearing her shoes.

Saoji demands to have half of Shizuko's copyright fee. She even pretends to be Shizuko in bed to produce her own alibi. However, Takeo can't take her threats anymore when she threatens to reveal the writer's identity to the world and finally kills her in the kitchen.

Satomi chances upon the dead body again. But if the police finds out that she gets a birthday cake, they will suspect Takeo. That is why she pushes Saoji's cake to the floor to smash it. She is also the one who dips Saoji's fingers in cream to write ‘x' but in the wrong direction. Takeo tries killing Reiko and Kageyama and Reiko knocks Kageyama out by mistake with a vase.

Kyoichiro then shields her and is stabbed – by protected by Kageyama's baseball. Reiko and Kageyama are touched on how the two protect each other. Satomi need not confirm their relationship with each other anymore. Satomi thanks Takeo for taking care of her all this time after watching Shizuko's last clip. Takeo decides to surrender to the police.

Kageyama drives the car straight for his date. As the loser, he has to help the bakery owner to sell 50 cakes for the night. Reiko helps him since he has helped her. However, they have to hurry as they have not place the sock on their rooms as yet to celebrate Christmas.

Most favourite character

Kageyama, he is wise and has a poison tongue to force Reiko to think ahead and more. He isn't afraid of authority and doesn't beg a grudge when she belittles him.

Most funny character

Kyoichiro, he hinders the operations but still brags about his ability. The actor is a genius for not being afraid to dig fun at himself.

Conclusion

I have read the novel and the drama is as good as it. It is funny to see how Reiko has to eat the humble pie to admit defeat in front of Kageyama. She practically has to beg for his help every time. Kageyama is concerned about her to go to different crime scene with disguises. You will laugh when he appears as a waiter, gardener, etc.

I believe all will want him as a butler. He is also knowledgeable to know bone setting, gardening, dancing and cooking. He also knows how to brew exotic herbs for Reiko when she sprains her back. He also knows how to relax as afternoon tea is his favourite. He is also athletic to play baseball well. However, I find Sho Sakurai a bit bony and not tall enough for the role. Luckily, his improved acting makes up the deficit.
Reiko has to admit that he is a great help to her in solving cases. But his poisonous tongue is something that she cannot stomach and he will avoid her remarks. He often says that she is blind and is stupid or he can't believe that she can come up with such a silly theory. It hurts her pride completely when he concludes that she has learned nothing from him in these 3 months!

Keiko Kitagawa is quite lively in the role. You will be amused as although Reiko looks demure, she can barely walk long on heels. She also can't dance and gets perturbed when her friends make fun of her. The two of them match in looks but having the butler knowing anything and she not knowing anything can be a bit too much.

Kyoichiro is absolutely comical when he will keep saying that he knows but in reality he doesn't know when Reiko questions his facts. He is blind not to discover that Reiko is his dream lover, Xiao Li as she turns up at work with spectacles and tying her hair with a ponytail. This man often dresses in white to want to attract attention. So is his car too.
Many parts create suspense but I don't understand why Reiko and Kageyama want to make a loud departure each time in front of Kyoichiro whenever they solve a case. The two leads are a bit stiff in acting but improve towards the end. Still, it is highly entertaining and is worth your time if you like detective dramas.

Sukting's ratings :

On acting : *** (Scale of 5)

On story : ***1/2 (Scale of 5)


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