To Ojiisan, Obaasan, and Chihiro-basan:
She had legs up to here and lips the color of an angry sky. When she entered the room, she didn't even glance in my direction; she headed straight for Seth, as if she knew instinctively who was in charge. Or maybe I really look like the hired help.
She said her name was Scarlet Vance.
Vance-san pouted her blood-red lips as she laid out her dilemma before us. It seemed that she had received a blackmail letter a few weeks ago.
Eager to shut the blackmailer up, she placed one thousand dollars in an unlined envelope, which she slipped into a garbage can in the park. She thought that was the end of it. A few days later, the blackmailer had written back, asking for more.
Seth: What was he blackmailing you over, Miss Vance?
Scarlet: My father owns the Vance Group of Companies, which runs restaurants and clubs and other establishments in the city. A young upstart named Simon Yamada has been aggressively challenging him and my father hates his guts. Simon also happens to be my boyfriend. We've always been very discreet! But this blackmailer sent me a photo of us together and threatened to send it to Daddy. My father would kill me -- or worse, take away my inheritance -- if he found out!
Was I supposed to say poor little rich girl? Vance-san didn't seem to strike as one who was looking for sympathy.
Seth: Can you tell me a bit more about this photo? Where were you? Who could have seen you together then?
Scarlet: It was taken at Simon's club called Hub. We've always had absolute privacy. No one knows we're dating, except for his secretary.
I asked if we could see the letter. Vance-san looked startled, as if she had forgotten all about me. She handed the letter to Seth, who examined it carefully.
Seth: What's this mark here?
Scarlet: Oh... I've never noticed that before! It's Hub's logo. It's printed on all their correspondence.
Midori: The dance club has official stationery? No matter how many people go there every night, I don't suppose just anyone could have access to the company stationery.
Seth: Then we know where to start looking.
Well, one thing's certain: things are starting to heat up at Midnight Confidential!