Officer Lu said respectfully, "Forgive me for offending you earlier. Please don't make any reckless statements when you get back. Thank you."
"I won’t. I’ll just tell my father how you yelled at us. We’ll see if you can still be Captain!" Bingxin pouted.
Officer Lu folded his hands and implored, "Please don't. How about I take you two for lunch later as an apology?"
"Hmph, who cares about that?!" Bingxin snorted coldly.
I thought that we had given him enough of a lesson and calmly added, "Officer Lu, let me give you a little advice. It doesn’t matter if we’re officers or if we’re acquainted with the Director. Could you be more polite in your future? Is this how you usually speak to the public?"
"Yes, yes, you’re right. My attitude was wrong. I’ll definitely change!" Officer Lu nodded repeatedly.
Then, he turned to the villagers who were watching and said, "Everyone, these two have been sent by the city bureau. It’s all just a misunderstanding. He’s a real police officer." The crowd smiled as if they were happy to hear that.
After clarifying the misunderstanding, Officer Lu enthusiastically asked me about the case.
I couldn’t help thinking what a chameleon the man was. With the snap of a finger, he had transformed into someone else entirely. I was a little reluctant to render my services to such a man. I made up my mind to solve the case on my own. With Bingxin–my personal “license to act”–by my side, I reckoned there wouldn’t be any problems in terms of procedure.
I gave a brief introduction of the case and said, "I’ll need to borrow your morgue. We’re going to continue the autopsy there."
Officer Lu replied, "Of course. I’m a little embarrassed to say that our team isn’t equipped with a coroner. We really appreciate your advice on the case. These people are my subordinates. You may order us for anything you need."
"Okay, let's transport the body back first!"
These amateur criminal investigators’ ability to handle the situation, or lack thereof, was immediately demonstrated. They came without a body bag and had to borrow sheets from nearby houses to wrap the body. Officer Lu had even obtained some string and traced a line around the body.
"Why are you doing that?" I wondered out loud.
"Don't you usually do this?" Officer Lu blinked in confusion.
"Just take a picture." I snickered.
Officer Lu immediately instructed a subordinate, "Go borrow a camera and buy a roll of film."
I slapped my forehead. These officers were completely unprepared so I might as well do everything on my own. When I told him I would handle it, Officer Lu asked, "Do you need me to do anything else?"
“Take their statements." I answered.
Officer Lu eagerly went on his way. The officers worked separately as they questioned the onlookers one by one. But due to poor division of labor, the same person would be asked the same questions by several different police officers. It was a miracle if they could solve any crime with that level of efficiency.
I asked the owner of the car to bring me some envelopes to replace the evidence bags, two pairs of rubber gloves and a packet of milk powder.
While waiting, Bingxin asked, "Song Yang-gege, do you really want to help this sort of man solve a case?"
"I won’t be someone else’s cat’s paw. Can we take over this case?"
Bingxin explained, "Neither of us are officers so theoretically, it’s impossible. But I’ve thought of something!"
She called Sun Tiger and said, "Dad, give me a position!"
"Stop making a fuss!" Sun Tiger shouted at her from the other end.
However, Bingxin continued to act willfully. "I'll be joining the police force next year anyway. It’ll happen sooner or later."
"No way! Give the phone to your Song Yang-gege. I'll talk to him,” said Sun Tiger.
Sun Tiger wasn’t concerned with the details of the case. He worried if there might be any danger for fear of our safety. Knowing he fretted over Bingxin, I clarified the situation. "Uncle Sun, this doesn’t seem like a case of intentional homicide. I get the feeling it was an accident."
"Oh, I'm relieved to hear you say so. Do you need help with anything, kiddo?" he asked.
"Can the city bureau take over the case?" I suggested.
"We can file the case, but the bureau has been short staffed recently. So I can’t send anyone, not to mention Huang Xiaotao... I know! I’ve thought of someone. I’ll send him over as the Captain of your Special Investigation Team but don’t expect him to help you solve the case."
He sent me the man’s contact information and introduced him as Officer Ma. He specifically urged us to pick Officer Ma up when he arrived.
After the call ended, Bingxin asked, "Who did my father send?"
"Officer Ma." I replied.
Her lips curled in a strange smile. "Haha, why did he send him? My dad sure knows how to put his men to good use."
From their remarks, Officer Ma sounded really "special.”
When the owner of the car finally brought the items I asked for, I put on the gloves and got into the car, holding the milk powder in my hand as I gently blew it onto the seat and steering wheel. Fingerprint analysis didn’t necessarily require aluminum powder. Milk powder also made for a suitable substitute, and because of its light texture, milk powder adhered to the oils secreted by human hands.
I found several sets of fingerprints on the steering wheel and the door handle. Although they might not be of great significance, I photographed them with my cell phone anyway. There was a little saliva on the middle of the steering wheel, probably left behind when the dead man sneezed from the cold.
"Song Yang-gege, why do you think this might be a case of manslaughter? Were you lying to my dad or do you really think so?" asked Bingxin.
"It’s just my intuition!" I admitted.
Bingxin laughed, "Your intuition has always been accurate."
"Alright now, that’s enough flattery."
After the evidence was collected, we wrapped the body in sheets and carried it into a police car. The owner asked me if we would seize his car.
"No, but don't wash your car and try not to use it," I added, and the owner agreed.
At this moment, a loud quarrel sounded from the house. Officer Lu and the others rushed over immediately, then reported back to me. "It’s nothing. The bride and bridegroom were arguing. The bridegroom thinks that the deceased is the bride's ex-lover."
I muttered to myself, "Ex-lover?"
"Song Yang-gege, do you think it’s possible the dead man killed himself in the wedding car for revenge on the bride?" asked Bingxin.
"He would have to be terminally ill. Otherwise, this sort of revenge is too self-destructive. Call the bride over. There’s something I’d like to ask her!"
"I'll go get her!" Officer Lu unctuously replied.
Not long after, the bride came running, her face stained with tears. "Officer, you have to give me justice. My fiance insists that the dead man knew me. He also suspects that I had an affair with him, so he wants to break off our marriage and has asked me to return the bridal gifts to him. Please prove to him that’s not true!"
I wondered how I could do that. "Do you know him?" I asked.
The bride asserted, "I’ve never seen the man."
Her microexpressions implied she was telling the truth, so I nodded, "Alright, I believe you."
"That’s it?!" Officer Lu burst out in surprise.
“What else would you like to ask?" I retorted.
"This corpse showed up at the wedding, which makes me certain that this has something to do with the couple! At the very least, we have to ask how they knew each other, and if the bride had any exes. The most important question is whether they had an alibi last night,” summarized Officer Lu.
The bride was terrified by his words. Officer Lu was really an amateur in solving crimes, wasting police forces on groundless trivial matters.
I assured the bride, "You can go back now. I believe this case has nothing to do with you, but you should carefully consider if you want to live the rest of your life with such a mistrustful man."
The bride blushed. "Thank you, officer. I'll be sure to think it over."
As the bride walked away, Bingxin beamed, “Song Yang-gege, how gentle you are!"Previous Chapter Next Chapter