At the case discussion meeting at 9:00 in the morning, Song Lang told everyone the results of the autopsy and his own inferences. “The direct cause of death was the sharp weapon piercing the aorta, causing a pseudoaneurysm. There was no other injury on the deceased except for the fatal injury. From the weapon's angle of penetration, the deceased was in a squatting position, and the murderer had attacked him in front from above. The alley where the crime occurred was narrow and long, and there was no place for an ambush in the deceased’s direct line of sight. If a stranger were to walk over, the deceased, who was carrying valuables, would definitely be on guard. From this, I speculate that the murderer should be an acquaintance... Perhaps this was the situation at the time: The murderer walked over directly and talked face-to-face with the deceased. During that period, the deceased performed a squatting action. The murderer suddenly pulled out a knife and stabbed him in his back."
"Captain, why wasn’t he stabbed from behind?" a policeman asked.
"Last night, I experimented repeatedly with Old Peng. The angle of the wound couldn’t have been made from behind. In addition, no traces of the suspected murderer were found behind the deceased, but there was a set of indistinct footprints in front."
Song Lang put a few photos on the whiteboard. They showed a series of indistinct leather shoe footprints. He said, "We’ve sent the footprints to experts for identification."
Another policeman said, "I think it’s also possible that the deceased had bent down, due to a sudden bout of illness or poisoning, and the murderer took advantage of this moment."
Song Lang nodded. "Good suggestion, I will ask Old Peng to check the deceased for signs of disease or poisoning."
He continued, "A more interesting point is that the murder weapon had been pulled out once after it had penetrated the deceased’s back, and then inserted again. There are two possibilities. One is that the murderer had accidentally left their traces on the murder weapon when stabbing the deceased. For example, they might have cut their own hand, so they reinserted it after pulling it out and cleaning it... But there’s something contradictory about this, because leaving behind a murder weapon is extremely detrimental to the murderer, even if there are no fingerprints or DNA left on it. It’s very easy to trace this kind of controlled knife to its source. Another possibility is that the murderer had pulled out the murder weapon after killing the deceased, and then inserted another knife into the wound. In this way, what remains on the body isn’t the real murder weapon. But what was their purpose in doing this?"
"To frame someone or to mislead the investigation!" Someone speculated.
"I have considered these as well. There’s another possibility. It was inconvenient for the murderer to carry the knife for whatever reason. Perhaps they were afraid that the blood dripping from the knife would reveal their whereabouts, or they would be suspected if they were stained with blood. Or maybe they were going to meet someone, so they chose to leave the knife at the scene..." Song Lang added, "These are just speculations. Don't be misled by me. Think about it yourself."
Lin Qiupu listened very earnestly and noted down things in his notebook from time to time. He could learn a lot of things from the case discussion. Song Lang's speculations were also meticulously detailed, arousing his admiration.
Song Lang said, "Also, the palms of the deceased had been wiped with a rough cloth. I suspect that the deceased had grabbed the murderer’s clothes before his death, and that the murderer had cleaned them up after the murder. There are several suspicious points in this case. Who did the deceased carry a box to meet in the middle of the night? What was in the box? Who knew about this matter? What enemies did the deceased have? It’s understood that the deceased’s spouse had died of illness half a month ago, and it’s better to verify this matter too..."
After the tasks were assigned, everyone went off to investigate separately. Song Lang lit a cigarette and pondered while looking at the whiteboard full of photos. Lin Qiupu stepped forward and asked, "Captain, did you forget to talk about the bowl?"
"I didn't forget." Song Lang smiled. "A cursed small bowl would easily mislead and distract everyone so I won't tell them. You and Dachang should investigate and clear things up."
"Okay!" Lin Qiupu saluted.
Lin Qiupu and Dachang went to the Yuxiang pawn shop mentioned by He Jingjing. The owner seemed a little displeased with the police showing up early in the morning. Lin Qiupu showed the owner a photo and asked, "Have you seen this bowl before?"
The shopkeeper looked at it for a moment and said, "I’ve heard of it, but I haven't seen it before."
"But some people reported that your pawn shop had received this bowl before."
"Oh, are you investigating this? That was the previous boss. He received this bowl, and then his family of three were stabbed to death. I only took over this shop six months ago."
"It's true!" Lin Qiupu was surprised. "Has the case been solved?"
The owner asked in reply, "You’re a policeman, but you’re asking me?"
Dachang poked Lin Qiupu with his arm, and reprimanded, "Why do you ask questions without thinking? ... Boss, do you have anything to say about this bowl?"
"What?" The owner scratched his head. "I heard that it’s the skull of a Russian monk. It’s strange and mysterious. Those of us who run pawn shops in Long'an know that as long as you receive it, you’ll have bad luck unless you pay money to ward off the misfortune. However, it’s never appeared in the same shop twice, so I’ve never seen it before."
Except for the origin of the bowl, the owner's statement was exactly the same as He Jingjing's. They asked some other questions before they left.
When they walked out of the shop, Dachang stretched his body in a relaxed manner. "Okay, let's go back and hand in our results for the task!"
"There are many pawnshops in Long'an. Let's ask again."
"This is just a legend. It's the same no matter how many times you ask. There’s no need to do useless work."
"The origin of the bowl according to what the shopkeeper said just now is different from what I heard last night. This is the discrepancy." Lin Qiupu said seriously.
"Aiya, you’re too rigid. The captain didn't even mention this at the meeting. He didn't think it had anything to do with the case. There’s no need for detailed investigation. It’s just a waste of time."
"I must complete this task that the captain had assigned to me well!"
Dachang felt helpless and disdainful. He sneered, "Newcomer, you really want to climb your way up!"
Hearing the mockery in his words, Lin Qiupu didn't dare to talk back. After all, he was his senior, so he could only beg him to drive him to the next pawn shop.
In the afternoon, they went to three more pawn shops, and their statements were similar. One of the three shops had received this bowl before. The boss had to accept his misfortune and paid a life-preservation fee of 100,000 yuan, sending it to a dilapidated building designated by the other party.
The boss in question pointed to a roller shutter door across the street, and said mysteriously, "That shop used to be a pawn shop run by a bunch of small-time gangsters. After receiving this bowl, they didn’t pay up. They were suddenly investigated and shut down by the police. This matter sounds incredible but actually it isn’t incredible. I understand it this way: Have you watched Da Zhai Men? Bai Jingqi pawned a bag of poop in return for silver. I’m guessing that this bowl was also owned by some powerful figure. He wasn’t pawning the bowl, but his reputation. You know what I mean, young fellow?!"
"You mean that this bowl is a prop used by a certain leader to extort bribes?" Lin Qiupu concluded.
The boss smiled mysteriously. "Haha, your words, not mine."
Dachang scolded, "Don't talk nonsense!"
He thought to himself that this newcomer lacked common sense, saying everything that came to his mind. Although the police play a small role, they represent the government in the eyes of the people. One couldn’t make irresponsible remarks.
Lin Qiupu was still obsessed with the bowl. "But one can't get it back if it's pawned. How can it appear in different pawn shops?"
"Ai, a small bowl made of broken bones isn’t worth much. Wait a moment!" The boss entered the shop and took out a bone bowl that looked exactly the same. "Look, this is the small bowl that I bought for 100,000 yuan! You can take it away if you like."
1. 2001 Chinese Drama.
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