Inspector Ji's Ridiculous Conjectures 1 - Chapter 1
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“I’ve decided to kill her.” Guo Jiangyin looked very calm when she made this statement, as if killing someone was child’s play.
I poured myself a glass of red wine. “How?”
Guo Jiangyin looked at the red liquid in the glass and suddenly piped up, “I know her favorite brand of mineral water! I could slip arsenic in.” She paused and hesitated before adding, “I’ll be honest with you. I’ve already prepared that poisoned bottle of mineral water.”
“That’s not going to work,” I said. “The police will definitely start investigating the source of the poison. Once they find out where this arsenic was from, they’ll eventually get to you.”
“Or…why don’t I stab her to death, then make it look like a robbery gone wrong to mislead the police?”
I took a sip of wine and asked, “Robbery? And where are you going to do it? On the streets? There are cameras everywhere these days. Are you sure you won’t get caught on one of them?”
“I could do it in the dorm. I could make it look like a break in.”
I shook my head. “That won’t work either. It’s so hard to make sure you don’t leave any fingerprints behind if you do it in a room. Besides, do you even know how to break a lock? If you don’t break the lock, how are you going to disguise this as a break in?”
“Break a lock? It’s just a matter of damaging the lock, right?”
I laughed. “You’re too naïve. The police have loads of experience, so they’ll be able to tell if the lock has been damaged by a real thief or if it was just made to look like a break in. If they realize it’s a setup and the crime was committed by someone the victim knows, you’d be even more suspicious.
Guo Jiangyin argued, “But not everyone who breaks into a room has to damage the lock, right? Don’t such criminals often disguise themselves as salespeople and trick the owner of the house into letting them in?”
I said, “She’s living in our animation company’s worker’s dormitory. If you don’t have a pass, members of the public can’t even get through the main gate, never mind get anywhere near the actual dormitories. If anyone wants to rob a house by pretending to be a salesperson, they’d never target this sort of place. I think you should give up on this idea.”
“Dang!” Guo Jiangyin sighed heavily. She didn’t expect the murder plan she had spent so much time and effort on would turn out to be riddled with loopholes.
I knocked back the glass of wine in my hand and poured myself another. “Do you really want to kill her?”
She nodded vigorously. “I don’t mind finding a different way, but she’s got to die.”
The ‘she’ we were talking about was our colleague from the Department of Intellectual Property, Han Shaoqing. Guo Jiangyin hated Han Shaoqing so much because Han Shaoqing had discovered that Guo Jiangyin was selling our company’s tech information to competitors. If the company found out about this, Guo Jiangyin would be found guilty of leaking company secrets and she could go to jail for doing that. Han Shaoqing had been making use of her knowledge of this secret to blackmail Guo Jiangyin again and again.
And just like how blackmail cases often turned into homicides, Guo Jiangyin had reached a point where she couldn’t stand being blackmailed anymore and wanted to kill her blackmailer. She was sharing such top secret plans with me only because I was the one who helped to connect her with those interested in buying the information from her.
To Guo Jiangyin, I was in the same boat as her since I was her middleman. But I always felt that I was in a different boat altogether. The problem was, if Han Shaoqing continued blackmailing Guo Jiangyin, Guo Jiangyin might go crazy and end up coming clean with the company. If she named me as an accomplice, then it didn’t matter which boat I was in anymore. I would definitely end up being fired by the company and I might even have to go to jail.
With that consideration in mind, I decided to help her out.
I said, “Killing someone isn’t really that difficult. The difficulty is in trying to cover your tracks after you kill that person. That’s why disguising a homicide as a suicide is definitely the way to go.”
“Disguise a homicide as a suicide? How?”
“Strangle her to death.”
“Strangle her to death?”
“That’s right. Strangle her, then make it look like she hanged herself.”
Guo Jiangyin went into deep thought as she started moving her hands as though she was strangling someone from the back.
I shook my head. “That’s not the right way to do it.”
She said puzzledly, “But that’s how everyone does it on TV. Besides, I just have to strangle her to death, right? Why is there a right way?”
I laughed. “It’s true that you’d definitely be able to strangle someone this way, but you won’t be able to disguise it as a suicide by hanging.”
She stared at me for a while and clearly still didn’t get it. “What do you mean?”
I imitated her actions while explaining, “So, the way you’re doing it requires the rope to go round the victim’s neck before you can pull on it. In other words, the rope will leave a mark around the entire circumference of the neck. Have you seen what a person who’s hung himself looks like?”
She shook her head and asked me, “Have you?”
I hadn’t seen anyone who had hanged himself either, but that didn’t really matter. “For those who hang themselves, their necks always hang off the rope, so the rope marks would usually go round under the chin and straight up behind the ears.”
Guo Jiangyin looked like she had just been enlightened. “Oh, I see!” Then she asked, “Since the police can tell the cause of death by the rope marks, how do I make it look like a suicide?”
I replied calmly, “Change the way you strangle her.”
I pondered this question for a moment, then said, “When she sits on a chair, you can secretly go behind the chair and strangle her from behind. But of course, when you’re strangling her, you must make sure your elbows press hard against her shoulders. That way, you’d be able to stop her from fighting back, but more importantly, you would have to pull the rope upwards. So, the rope marks on her neck will be found under her chin and upwards behind her ears, just like how someone who hung himself would look like.”
Guo Jiangyin agreed with my suggestion and began to practice her gestures. As she practiced, she began spotting loopholes and weaknesses in what she was doing. “If I use my elbows to press down on her shoulders, I might leave a mark or bruise there. I’d have to wear really thick elbow guards on that day and make sure I don’t leave such marks behind.”
Even so, she was still not confident, so she asked, “But even if we make her look like she hanged herself, the police might not believe she really killed herself, right?”
“The police might not believe that, but even if they think she was murdered, they wouldn’t list you as a suspect.”
I laughed and asked her, “How tall are you?”
“And how heavy are you?”
“How tall is Han Shaoqing?”
“Han Shaoqing? At least 1.7 meters, I guess.”
“And what’s her weight?”
“How would I know?!”
“What about compared to yourself?”
“Of course she’s heavier than me!”
I laughed and said, “You’re neither taller nor heavier than Han Shaoqing, so even if you could strangle her to death, you can’t possibly hang her body from the ceiling.”
Guo Jiangyin eyed me. “Do you already have a plan in mind?”
I nodded. “You strangle her to death in the dormitory first, then I’ll sneak in to make her body look like she hanged herself. As long as we’re careful, it’s very hard for the police to smell a rat.”
Guo Jiangyin looked very excited. “This plan is perfect!”
I paused to think for a while. “Actually, if you want to make it perfect, there’s one more very important point to note.”
“What is it?”
I said, “After you strangle her, you must make sure her body doesn’t lie flat.”
“After a person dies, his blood will stop flowing. If you let her body lie flat, her blood will coagulate on her back and discolor her skin there. The forensic doctors will know immediately that the victim was hung on a rope only after she had already died.”
Guo Jiangyin became anxious. “So what should I do?”
I said, “After you strangle her, you must make sure the body is suspended.”
“But you know that there’s no way someone my size can do that to Han Shaoqing.”
“You can make use of something else to help you.”
“The balconies of our dorm rooms have a retractable clothes line. The clothes line works on a pulley system, so it can take a lot of weight.”
Guo Jiangyin finally got what I was saying. “You’re saying that I should use the clothes line to hang Han Shaoqing’s body up so that her body remains suspended after death, then you’d set the scene and hang her from a rope later on.”
After I shared my plans with Guo Jiangyin, I knew that I couldn’t disassociate myself once the murder really happened. Even though the one Han Shaoqing was blackmailing wasn’t myself and she didn’t know that I was the one who acted as Guo Jiangyin’s middleman, I knew well that Guo Jiangyin was going to implicate me in this matter sooner or later. Since that was the case, I figured that I might as well help Guo Jiangyin to kill Han Shaoqing before Han Shaoqing learned of my involvement. That way, we might be able to get away with it.
Honestly, when I first decided to help Guo Jiangyin with her murder plan, a strange thought did enter my head. If the one who died was Guo Jiangyin and not Han Shaoqing, then my role as a middleman would also die along with her.
Then again, that logic didn’t make sense either. If Guo Jiangyin got murdered, then Han Shaoqing might tell the police about her crimes. Once the police started investigating along those lines, they would eventually find out about me. In any case, being an accomplice was a lot less risky than being the actual murderer.
With this thought in mind, I raised my wine glass and knocked it back.
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