When I reviewed Volume 1 of The Detective is Already Dead back in July, we were still in the middle of the airing of the anime adaptation. Now that’s over and done with, but the series is far from forgotten as Volume 2 of the light novel series comes to the English market. Does it deliver an interesting read? Let’s find out!
Our story begins with Kimihiko, Nagisa and Yui being kidnapped by Siesta, the detective whom Kimihiko used to travel with and who is dead. Whoever is actually behind the kidnapping is working on Siesta’s orders and plays a prerecorded message from her, asking Kimihiko to dive into the memories of their last mission together. Siesta urges him to remember something important about her death, something he has long forgotten and which he needs now to protect those he cares about.
So after this short section in the present day (and Siesta’s recording telling an embarrassing tale about her and Kimihiko taking a case at a school festival), the book dives back to the past, following Kimihiko and Siesta on what ended up being their final case together. This takes us to London, where the two are tasked with finding a killer who is said to be Jack the Ripper back from the dead.
This case proves more dangerous than Siesta and her partner could have ever imagined. It quickly becomes clear that the criminal organisation full of superpowered humans SPES is behind what’s happening. It’s not long before Siesta gets injured in combat with the Jack the Ripper imposter and she and Kimihiko are forced to lay low in London until she recovers, but this brings its own share of problems!
When out buying food supplies, Kimihiko comes across an orphan girl called Alice whom he can’t leave to sleep on the streets. Over time, Alice becomes attached to Kimihiko and vows to help in their investigation while Siesta is recovering. Siesta isn’t thrilled to have her assistant wandering around with another girl (especially one as suspicious as she believes Alice to be), but she has no way to stop him either. All Siesta can do is pray for Kimihiko’s safety until this killer is behind bars or she’s back on her feet and able to keep him safe.
Given the fact Siesta’s death was the biggest mystery in Volume 1, I’m glad author nigozyu wasted no time in exploring it in this entry. I admit I was prepared for an emotional farewell and maybe that Siesta was going to sacrifice herself for Kimihiko (it would certainly have explained some of his feelings in Volume 1), but I was not at all expecting how her death actually went down. What happens is well foreshadowed, so it’s not like it came out of nowhere, but still, I have a lot of respect for the author managing to pull this curveball off so well.
I also appreciate that a lot of this book is focused on the relationship between Kimihiko and Siesta. For as much danger as they’re in, the author still finds time for some peaceful moments where the two converse and joke with one another. The effort that’s gone into the character development all feeds into the emotion of the ending.
Where the first instalment was more episodic, I think this book benefits from being more or less one story. Not least because there aren’t as many characters being thrown into the mix, the biggest new addition is Alice and we get to spend enough time with her where the audience will warm to her quite quickly. She does have a fairly stereotypical ‘kiddy’ personality, to begin with, which may rub some readers the wrong way, but as her history is fleshed out, it’s clear she has a lot more to offer which overcomes any early concerns.
My one concern with this book is that it concludes Siesta’s story and then doesn’t flashback to the present, meaning we won’t get to see the impact on Kimihiko and the others until Volume 3. Now, this isn’t a huge issue by any means, but I worry about having a gap before we see those scenes play out. It may lose some of the emotion they would have otherwise had. But we’ll see how that plays out in the book to come and regardless, Volume 2 did offer a satisfying conclusion.
The Detective is Already Dead Volume 2 comes to the West thanks to Yen Press and continues to be translated by Taylor Engel. The translation reads well with no issues to note. Volume 3 of the series is currently scheduled for a release in March.
Overall, The Detective is Already Dead Volume 2 dives into Siesta’s backstory which is what we’ve been eager to explore. Be prepared for an emotional journey as we follow our protagonist’s last case with the detective he so admired.