Darker II (黑暗者2) is about a police task force dedicated to catching vigilante “Darker” and failing spectacularly in their job.
Case 17: Butcher in the Night is a whodunit mystery. My favorite genre in the whole-wide world.
Luo Fei, our astute police detective, was on his way to meet a coworker who he had been flirting with since he started the task force. Unfortunately, he was trapped in a torrential rain and his cellphone died. But all was not lost when he saw a car turned into a motel in a distance. He jogged over and was immediately greeted by a most striking receptionist who insisted on him calling her “Buttercream.”
He couldn’t get the hideous receptionist to lend him a phone, but one of the
prisoners guests in the lobby was kind enough to lend him his cell. As he waited for the rain to stop, he couldn’t avoid overhearing the nice guest being yelled at by his angry associate for driving a crappy car causing them to be stuck in this good-for-nothing motel. The situation did not improve when an old woman came in screaming for her back rent, followed by a fighting couple. The lobby population swelled from 3 to 6 guests.
Dynamic changed when a beautiful female artist came in from the rain. The boorish associate immediately hit on her every disgusting way he could. She managed to get away from him for a late night meal with the group. They commenced on feasting ramen, consuming alcohol, and talking about themselves. The nice guest was a bar owner, the angry guest was a business partner (unsavory sort) he was trying to court, the old woman was the building’s landlady, and the couple were two college students on their first date. Luo Fei was mistaken for a teacher.
The boorish associate persuaded the artist to go to a storage room for a deeper discussion on art, sans cloths. While they were in the storage room, a scream came out of the lobby bathroom. The college girl was showering when she saw a man peeking through the window. Luo Fei could not find any suspicious person outside and the window was barred. The girl refused to go back in the bathroom afterwards. The landlady, not afraid of no pervert, went into the shower taking with her a huge knife.
The associate all of sudden rushed out of the storage room kicking the landlady out of the bathroom, which he shamelessly hogged. The annoyed guests knocked but got no response. They finally decided enough was enough and rammed down the door. They found our angry associate lying dead on the bathroom floor with a huge head wound.
Luo Fei gave his coworkers a call and discovered all was not simple with our associate’s death. Many moons ago, he and another man tried to drug a female teacher. She died in a car accident while escaping from them. His partner was sentenced to 5 years in prison. After he was released, he died of accidental gas poisoning in a public bathroom. Fast forward a few months, our associate also died of a bathroom accident. Coincidence? I think not. Hence, we got ourselves a locked room mystery.
From the lobby, our astute police could see the front entrance, the storage room, the bathroom and the stairwell to the motel rooms. No one on the outside could climb thru the window. Everyone on the inside were accounted for. So Luo Fei and his team decided to look into the public bathroom death. They deduced from the surveillance footage and witness testimonies five people might’ve been involved in the death: The saleslady who invited the victim to the restaurant, the waiter who served him his food, the man talking outside the bathroom entrance, the janitor who placed the cleanup sign outside the bathroom, the boy who knocked over the cleanup chemicals in the toilet stall.
Luo Fei did some math and discovered he also had five suspects in the lobby (not counting the receptionist). He made an educated guess that those five people might be related to the female teacher, as in, her fiancé, her mother, her best friend, and her students.
Without further prompting, they admitted they were the responsible party. They were enraged by the light sentencing and the men’s lack of remorse. So they rented the entire motel and conducted numerous scientific experiments to determine the best combination of hot water, soap and loosely secured wall shelf that could induce a man to fall to his death. When they found the perfect combination, they picked a hurricane day to lure him to this death trap. The plan that Darker helped concocted went without a hitch. They got their revenge, and they were innocent in the eyes of the law because none of them had directly caused his death. Another win for Darker.