Petit Bourgeois Volume 5: The Paris Macaron Mystery (Part 5)

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The Paris Macaron Mystery (Part 4) | Contents | The Paris Macaron Mystery (Part 6)

“H-Hang on.”

I tried to argue, even though I knew it was futile.

“Isn’t Kogi Haruomi in Tokyo?”

“Kobato-kun, Kogi Haruomi’s workplace is certainly in Tokyo, but the Shinkansen exists. He can come to Nagoya whenever he needs to.”

My argument was easily kicked to the curb.

With the peeled Kogi still in her hand, Osanai-san stared at it fixedly.

“If Kogi Haruomi came over, it becomes plausible for the Kogi macarons to be sold here in this Nagoya shop, even though they have not prepared the materials for it. If they can’t be made in Nagoya, they must have been made in Tokyo. I think Kogi Haruomi brought the macarons to sell them in his new shop, even for just a while. He isn’t here right now due to something else, like negotiations to buy the ingredients for Kogi, or some other pressing matter, and he’ll probably be back by closing time to give the ring to the person he’s interested in.”

“So his main motive for coming to Nagoya is to give someone the ring?”

“He could have come here mainly to eat hitsumabushi1, though…”

She was basically saying that giving the ring was just one of the possible reason he could have for coming to Nagoya.

Osanai-san’s opinion that Kogi Haruomi is the only patissier who would give a ring using a macaron with Kogi in its name is a theory that my way of thinking can definitely never reach. Although I had complicated feelings about it, I had no choice but to agree with her. Now that things had come to this, the deduction we’d developed was approaching the main dish.

In other words…

“So, why was the ring put on your plate?”

That could also be easily seen to a certain extent if we strengthened the foothold we had on the information thus far.

“If you think about it normally…”

Osanai-san started.

“It was to prevent Kogi Haruomi from giving the ring, to thwart his love.”

“Love, huh…”

With that keyword in the picture, the involved parties would often act without reason, causing it to be difficult to make deductions and leading to disappointing results. This might be a little troublesome. That said, I would resent throwing it all away at this point, now that we had come so far, and we still had to deal with the ring. With a short breath, I raised a point.

“If someone wanted to thwart his love, they could have just stolen the ring. So why did they put it on your plate? By putting it on a customer’s plate, they could find themselves in a sticky situation.”

A wordless nod followed.

“It’s good that you noticed, but if you’d just swallowed it down, it would be a case of foreign object contamination. That’s a fatal blow to the reputation of a shop that just opened, and if it makes the news, the main store in Tokyo could be in danger as well. Would it be unthinkable that the culprit’s main motive was to destroy the shop, rather than to get in the way of Kogi Haruomi’s love?”

As expected, Osanai-san didn’t say anything, instead taking two spoonfuls of sugar from the sugar jar and putting it her teacup. As if stalling for time, she slowly stirred the contents of her cup, brought it to her mouth, then gently smiled, showing that the tea suited her taste this time.

“Certainly, there would be a big commotion if someone ate the ring macaron.”

She said, then put down her cup.

“But it’s a fact that I didn’t. In fact, I think that even if someone else had gotten the ring macaron, they wouldn’t have eaten it either. Hardly anyone would happily put a fourth macaron into their mouth when there were only supposed to be three.”

I’d thought that Osanai-san would, though… But now that I’d directly witnessed her choose not to, I was starting to feel a little guilty for holding such a prejudiced view of her.

“If the culprit wanted to make a customer eat a macaron with Kogi Haruomi’s ring in it and bring the shop down, they would have had to swap out a Kogi on someone else’s plate. If not, they should have at least switched one of the three macarons out. Yet all the culprit did was to add the ring macaron onto the plate as a fourth macaron.”


“That’s too easygoing of them.”

Her voice sounded somewhat gloomy as she uttered those words.

“So, should we think that the culprit’s goal lies solely in thwarting Kogi Haruomi’s love?”

But Osanai-san firmly shook her head.

“If they really wanted to interfere with that, they didn’t need to go out of their way to put the ring macaron on a customer’s plate. It’s a lot more efficient to simply remove the ring from the macaron and take it away. Better yet, ignoring it entirely could have gotten them a perfect result, but they chose not to. Putting the ring macaron on a customer’s plate could cause all sorts of trouble, but also allows for a higher possibility of the ring ending up back in Kogi Haruomi’s hands. It’s like they were leaving an out for settling things amicably.”

A ray of light reflecting from somewhere wandered on top of the table.

“The culprit chose a method that would deal damage to Kogi Haruomi and the shop, so I think they hold ill will towards both. However, that enmity doesn’t go so far that the culprit wants to utterly crush those targets and make them unable to stand up again. It’s ambiguous, lacking in resolve and childish, like that of an unreasonable child.”

Her analysis was close to the points I’d reached with my deductions.

“The culprit had little to no deniability. Since the waiting room is limited to employees, if some trouble does occur an investigation is conducted into who served the ring macaron to a customer, their handiwork would be eventually exposed. They either didn’t think it through and impulsively placed the macaron on a customer’s plate, or it was a self-destructive act, and they don’t care even if they get found out. I was thinking that it was more likely the former, but if it is the latter, that matches with your view of the culprit as an unreasonable child.”

After saying all that, I took a short breath and gave a gentle smile.

“By the way, the person Kogi Haruomi was trying to give the ring to is probably Ruriko-san. What was her full name again?”

“Tasaka Ruriko, the right-hand man of Kogi Haruomi. Yep, I think so too.”

That’s because the manager of this shop was none other than Tasaka Ruriko. Just as gifting the ring in a Kogi macaron was befitting of Kogi Haruomi, Tasaka Ruriko was the only person suitable of receiving such a Kogi. The culprit undoubtedly harbored ill-will towards the two of them.

Now, then.

With this, we’d deduced the answer to two questions: why the number of macarons on Osanai-san’s plate had increased, and why the ring macaron was among them. Thus, I was thinking that the best way to deal with the ring was to hand it back to the culprit while acting like we weren’t involved in it at all. We could also return the ring to Kogi Haruomi, but he didn’t know us, and it would be troublesome if he accused us of stealing it. Passing it to an employee might cause us to incur groundless suspicion, and more significantly, could lead to Kogi Haruomi and Tasaka Ruriko’s relationship being exposed. Considering that it could be a part of the culprit’s motives, we should refrain from doing that. Finally, leaving with the ring… simply does not suit petit bourgeois like Osanai-san and I.

I spoke out.

“The culprit is a person who can freely enter and exit the employees’ waiting room, but is not an employee at this shop. Or at the very least, they are not working today.”

Osanai-san nodded.

“You’re right, no matter how well they avoid being seen by you, it’s difficult to think that an employee would go out to the floor2 wearing a uniform and put a macaron on my plate. But is it impossible for a waiter already serving customers to have done it?”

The events at that time were etched in my memory.

“When the clock rang, the waiters were on the other side of the showcase. None of them would have made it to our table unless they ran over, and if they did, I would have noticed. Furthermore, there is no way they can hold onto the macaron for a long time while working. The aprons they wear have no pockets, after all.”

Seemingly satisfied, Osanai-san did not respond.

“The culprit knew that Kogi Haruomi would come to Nagoya today. Also, they knew that he was bringing the ring over, or at least suspected that he might.”

“What about the ring in the macaron?”

“They might have known from the start, but we can’t rule out the possibility that they found the ring in the macaron while looking for it. Actually, even if the culprit didn’t know about the ring within the Kogi, they seemed to know that Kogi Haruomi is a person who likes romantic acts like that.”

With what sounded like a groan, Osanai-san put a finger on her lip.

“They must be someone pretty close to him, right?”

“Exactly. Is there perhaps a female employee close to Kogi Haruomi besides Tasaka Ruriko?”


Osanai-san yelped.

“You have an idea of who it is?”

“No, not at all. I was just a little surprised since I was thinking in a different direction. Sorry, please continue.”

I was curious about the different direction she was talking about, but I continued as prompted.

“Alright. Erm, additionally, the culprit is either still on the floor, or is in a position that can see all of it. They want to watch how the situation progresses, and more importantly, if we go by your theory that the situation was designed such that the ring would eventually find its way back to Kogi Haruomi’s hands, the culprit has to keep a lookout to ensure that the ring does not actually get stolen.”


“The culprit is alone. If there were two culprits, they wouldn’t have resorted to a strategy as unreliable as the musical box time signal. They should have been able to draw my attention in a more certain manner.”

We were finally nearing the end.

I quickly looked around the shop. Only three customers were alone.

On of them was a slightly plump middle-aged woman wearing dark clothes and a necklace made of big pearls around her neck, and was digging into a Mont Blanc using a spoon with evident satisfaction.

There was also a female student, though I had difficulty telling if she was in middle or high school. She had her compact open and seemed to be absorbed in adjusting her bangs.

Lastly, there was a man who looked like a salaryman facing a notebook, with one hand on an iced coffee that was almost finished.

The three of them were all relatively close to our table. If I had to say, the middle-aged woman was a little further away, and the Mont Blanc seemed like it had just arrived, but I had no confidence to completely rule her out.

“We should think of some conditions for the process of elimination.”

I suggested, but Osanai-san looked straight at me and put on a slightly forced smile.

“Thank you, Kobato-kun. The information we’ve piled up thus far is enough. All that’s left is to give it a nudge.”

Pushing back her chair, she stood up and walked out to the crowded patisserie floor, the ring macaron in one hand.

The table she stopped at was the one with the female student. Even without needing to strain my ears, Osanai-san’s words were audible.

“You must be Kogi-san… I think pranks are no good.”

The Paris Macaron Mystery (Part 4) | Contents | The Paris Macaron Mystery (Part 6)

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  1. Grilled eel on rice, but eaten in three different ways, the first plain, the second with condiments and the third with dashi broth or green tea.
  2. Not sure if this is a common term, but it refers to the designated dining space in a restaurant where customers are seated.

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