Case Closed 2 by Gosho Aoyama: B

From the back cover:
Conan must contend with the murder of a man who burns to death while the prime suspect has the perfect alibi; he helps a seemingly sweet and innocent girl look for her missing father; and he still has time to explore a haunted house with some of his new friends from elementary school!

All the clues are there—can you piece them together and solve these baffling cases before Conan does?

“All the clues are there,” it says. I would be highly surprised if I ever figure out one of these cases before Conan does, especially one with a ludicrously intricate method of offing someone.

I like this volume better than the first one. I think it’s because the three cases it contains are different from the kinds I’ve read so far. Instead of proving who did it and how (see above re: ludicrously intricate), they’re more about finding proof. In the first case, the prime suspect for a murder has the perfect alibi, so it’s up to Conan to disprove it. It’s actually a pretty fun story, even though I sigh heavily when Conan plays back a taped confession he’d obtained to the villain who’d just made it and is then surprised when the dude attacks him. Not so smart for a smart kid.

Later, a young girl claiming to be looking for her father is not what she seems. I would’ve enjoyed this story more if the back cover hadn’t given it all away by referring to her as “seemingly sweet and innocent.” This story also has some connections to the men in black who are responsible for changing teenage detective Jimmy into first grader Conan. The final chapters involve Conan and some first grade buddies investigating a haunted house and discovering its secrets.

This volume is a very quick read and contains neither the insanely elaborate plots nor the “Conan impersonates an adult to reveal the solution” that I was getting tired of. Conan also receives a lot of new gadgets from Dr. Agasa, and those are fun to see in action, too, even though it’s highly improbable that a soccer ball, even one kicked by a foot wearing super-powered sneakers, could ever fell a tree.

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