Petit Bourgeois Volume 5: The New York Cheesecake Mystery (Part 6)

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The New York Cheesecake Mystery (Part 5) | Contents | The New York Cheesecake Mystery (Part 7)

The bonfire burned bright red in the middle of the parallel crosses, with some firewood flaring up every now and then. I simply watched the flames while listening to the sounds of Bolero drifting over from the gymnasium.

Kogi-san returned before three minutes had even passed, her breath ragged. With one hand on her knees, she held out a pair of tongs using the other.

“I’ve… brought it…”


I opened and closed the metallic tongs, making some clanging sounds, which I apologized for internally. With a sideward glance at Kogi-san who couldn’t even look up, I headed straight for the area near the bonfire where the marshmallows had scattered.

“Hiding something in a place which stands out more than others is a well-worn device. For that reason alone, it can’t be said to be very effective. Choosing a hiding spot that can be immediately found by someone who has a little more attention to detail banks on the element of surprise, so it is risky.”

A wave of heat washed over my forehead and cheeks. Ah, come to think of it, there was some water spilled around one of the buckets. Was that a result from someone drawing water from that bucket?

“However, it’s a different matter when the most conspicuous thing is the fire and the object to be hidden is combustible. Something that can burn cannot be hidden in fire, so there is no need to even think of searching it. I remember seeing a movie where something that floats in water is unexpectedly hidden in water, and it completely floated to the surface at the right moment. It was a cool movie.”

I stared at the fire, and eventually spotted a gap between some pieces of firewood. A gust of hot wind blew over, causing my eyes to narrow. Peeking into the gap, I spotted my quarry deep in the flames, and a grin naturally rose from the corners of my mouth. At the same time, the music coming from the gymnasium was reaching its climax.

“And if you think about it the other way around, things that are incombustible, or at least temporarily incombustible can be hidden in a fire, and even more so for a CD which is resistant to changes in temperature.”

Still panting, Kogi-san asked a question.

“But… there should be a limit…”

“Yes, there is a limit.”

I turned around with a grin.

“Exposing the CD to a temperature of three, four hundred degrees would be certainly reckless. So, what if it only goes up to a hundred degrees? CDs are also water resistant.”

After hearing the words “hundred degrees” and “water”, Kogi-san looked up.

“I see, so that’s why she mentioned the New York…”

She was quick on the uptake. Or was I just slow?

When baking a New York cheesecake, a water-filled vat is used for no other reason than to control the flow of heat. No matter how hot an oven is, even if its temperature is in the thousands, anything within water will not exceed a hundred degrees. That is because the limit of water temperature is approximately a hundred degrees, although that is dependent on pressure.

I inserted the tongs into the gap between logs.

Eventually, I hit an object, so I started slowly pulling it out… at that moment, I realized that a bamboo skewer was also missing from the scene. Osanai-san must have used the skewer to push the object into the fire, then tossed it into the fire when she was done.

From the bonfire, I pulled out the tongs. The object firmly gripped by the tongs’ claws was, of course, the marshmallow box, which was blackened and covered in soot.

“I should have asked for mittens as well.”

I muttered as I left the box on the ground and brought over a bucket of water. How much would the temperature fluctuate if I dumped the entire bucketful of water on it? Not wanting to take the risk, I scooped up some water with my hand and poured it onto the box, bit by bit.

“It’s just a paper box… but it was in the fire…”

“Fires are cooler at the bottom, and the kindling temperature for paper is unexpectedly high. About four hundred degrees Fahrenheit… how much is that in Celsius? Not to mention…”

Giving up on the frustratingly slow cooling process, I pinched the edge of my shirt in place of a glove and touched the box.

“If the box is filled with water, it should be a hundred degrees inside. It’s the same logic that’s applied to the New York cheesecake.”

Indeed, the box was filled to the brim with water. Since the box had been in the fire up until now, the water was naturally boiling hot. Right at the bottom, a CD in its plastic case shone in the colors of a rainbow as it reflected light from the fire and the sun. Pinching the case with the tongs, I dragged it out of the water.

“No doubt, this is it. We’ve finally found it.”

In summary, Osanai-san submerged the marshmallow box in one of the fire prevention buckets to fill it with water, put the CD inside, then placed the box in the fire, all for the sake of hiding the CD.

Kogi-san let out a deep sigh.

“…Yuki-chan-senpai thought up, prepared and executed that plan in only 90 seconds…?”

With another heavy breath, she murmured.


Kogi-san’s eyes would usually sparkle with fascination and goodwill whenever she talked about Osanai-san.

But this time, that was not the case. If I was not mistaken, the expression residing in her eyes at this point was close to that of fear.

The New York Cheesecake Mystery (Part 5) | Contents | The New York Cheesecake Mystery (Part 7)

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