Who is Du Yunning?
She is Ling Shu's high school classmate.
She is also —
His former girlfriend.
She was also the white moonlight and cinnabar mole in the eyes of almost all the boys in the school at that time.
Even the man before him surnamed Yue, he had liked her too.
When Yue Dingtang said this, he wanted to say it was impossible, but the other party didn't seem to be joking.
Those deep brown eyes were almost a deep well, staring at Ling Shu without blinking, with a sharpness hidden inside, as if to probe whether Ling Shu's response was true or false.
"When did it happen?" Ling Shu asked.
Yue Dingtang didn't answer, Ling Shu guessed that the other party was trying not to give him a chance to figure out the case and find loopholes.
That is to say, in Yue's eyes, he was the primary suspect at the moment.
Ling Shu: "After work tonight, I came directly to Feilengcui, there is no time to commit a crime, all the people here can be witnesses for me."
Yue Dingtang said lightly: "The corpse was discovered two hours ago, but the person died more than two hours ago. I am not the police officer in charge of the case. If you have anything to say, you can say it when you make a statement."
He stepped back and introduced the foreign policeman next to him. "This is Mr. Smith from the Public Concessionary Police. I was at a private gathering with him when the incident happened. Since the deceased was an acquaintance of both you and me, I took the initiative to accompany Mr. Smith here."
Ling Shu said, "This is not the Public Concessionary, and I am not a resident of the Public Concessionary. I need to report this matter to my superiors."
Mr. Smith spoke fluent Chinese: "Ling Shu, right? When we came, Mr. Yue had already introduced your general situation to us. I will have someone inform your superiors. Now come with us."
This foreign man was wearing expensive clothes, and was probably a person of influence in the police station.
The two foreign constables behind were watching him intently, as if they would pounce on him and subdue him the moment he displayed any resistance.
They had bulging pouches at their waists, and in addition to the truncheons, they must have guns.
Ya Qi and the others had already turned pale and were at a loss.
Ling Shu was like an antelope surrounded by fierce beasts, no matter how he jumped, he could not jump out of the encirclement.
The prey of tonight had been decided.
He looked at Yue Dingtang.
Yue Dingtang's gaze was profound, the meaning unclear.
In Ling Shu's view, the other party had a detached attitude, as if he had come here specially to watch a show.
Falling into the hands of this guy surnamed Yue, he was destined to be unable to dine and saunter away tonight.
Ling Shu secretly thought to himself that he must check the almanac before leaving the house next time.
It is said that the central prison in the French concession, can be described as a model of all the prisons and police stations in Shanghai.
It is said that the various district prisons have once organized a visit to the concession to learn, but that was before Ling Shu was a policeman.
It is also said that the public concession's patrol houses are modeled after the regulations of the concession.
Ling Shu has never been to the concession's prison.
In his opinion, the old gated prisons located in the bustling area of the public concession were undoubtedly much better than their small broken police station.
At least all the tables were new.
But, all places of interrogation and torture in the world are similar.
"Name, address, occupation."
"Ling Shu. Home address is 36 Zhujiaqiao in Yingxiang District. Currently posted at Jiangwan District Police Station as a police officer."
"Where were you yesterday and today?"
"Working during the day, resting at home at night."
"Tell me more details!"
Ling Shu: "Yesterday I got off work around 4 o'clock and Du Yunning asked me to go to the Xinyue Cafe. We stayed there for about an hour and a half, then I sent her home. After that, we never saw each other again..."
"Wait a minute." The police officer recording the statement interrupted him. "You two were alone for an hour and a half?"
Ling Shu leaned back lazily.
"I said, it was 4 o'clock in the afternoon, broad daylight, people coming and going outside the cafe, and there were waiters and other customers in the cafe. How can it be just the two of us?"
The police officer frowned, thinking of reprimanding him, but then his eyes fell on Ling Shu's western-style clothing and he paused.
An expensive lambswool coat, with a bright-colored tie inside.
Nowadays there are many people wearing western-style clothing, but there is a big difference between good fabric and bad fabric, let alone the red silver-patterned tie...
The police officer glanced at Smith and Yue Dingtang sitting next to him, and seeing that they weren't paying attention to him, he cleared his throat and said, "Fine, I won’t debate details. Then what?"
"Then I went for a late-night snack and went home. Today I worked during the day and went to the Feilengcui to dance in the evening."
Police Officer: "You and Du Yunning, were you classmates in middle school and had you been in a relationship before?"
Ling Shu: "Yes, our families were considered to be a match for each other at the time, and our elders did have intentions to get us together."
Police Officer: "But then Du Yunning married the son of the warlord Yuan Bingdao, Yuan Bing."
Ling Shu sighed: "Brother, where do you think I'm going? Do you think I'm the kind of person who would randomly pick married women? As long as I snap my fingers, there are plenty of beautiful women from ten miles away who would come to me, from the Huangpu River all the way to The Workers’ Stadium."
The police knocked on the table: "Don't change the topic!" His tone was not very stern, probably because Ling Shu was a colleague, and his clothing and appearance obviously showed that he came from a good background. It could also be because Smith and Yue Dingtang were watching from the side, so he couldn't be too rough.
Ling Shu: "After Du Yunning got married, she did ask to meet, but I didn't go. Later, she sent a servant to come plead with me, and after much entreaty, I went to see her a few times, probably two or three times. You should already have questioned the people in the Yuan Manor, and their testimony can prove that I'm not lying."
Police: "What was she pleading for?"
Ling Shu: "She just wanted to tell me about how unhappy she was after getting married, to relieve her grievances."
Police: "Didn't she have any close friends to confide in? Why did she want to share her feelings with a big man like you?"
Ling Shu: "I don't know."
Police: "What did Du Yunning say to you yesterday afternoon?
Ling Shu: "She wanted me to elope with her, and I didn't agree."
This statement was shocking.
When Du Yunning got married into the Yuan family, the grand wedding had caused a huge stir in half the Shanghai area. Even today, many people remember it clearly.
The once famous Western Sichuan warlord, Yuan Bingdao, had been dethroned and exiled to Shanghai. He only had one son, Yuan Bing.
When Yuan Bingdao was in power, he had seized a lot of wealth from the people, and it was all left to Yuan Bing. It could be said that Yuan Bing was born into a mountain of gold and silver.
But Yuan Bing was also a famous playboy from Shanghai, today he might keep a concubine, tomorrow he would pair up with a star.
The mountains of gold and silver left by his father were squandered away by him in a few years, and the union between the Yuan and Du families naturally also became a regrettable affair.
However, in the eyes of outsiders, Mrs. Yuan and Du Yunning were still often active socialites. Her lifestyle was not inferior to when she first entered the door, and she often led the societal fashion trends.
Such a young and beautiful woman was actually killed in her own bedroom.
And even more shockingly, it was revealed that she wanted to run away with someone.
The policeman was at a loss for words: "You're joking with me, right?"
Ling Shu shrugged: "It's what you asked me. I'm just telling the truth. Besides, I'm not as licentious as Yuan Bing. Du Yunning still had feelings for me, what's so strange about it?"
When the other party was about to ask again, he suddenly heard a light cough beside him and immediately came back to his senses. He no longer tangled up in gossip and secrets, and immediately straightened his back and continued to ask questions.
"What happened next?"
Ling Shu: "She was very sad, she clung onto me and spoke about the things that happened when she was in school before. Later, I saw that she was not in a good mental state, so I sent her home."
The policeman: "According to the people at the Yuan Manor, you had an argument with Yuan Bing at the entrance of Yuan Manor afterwards."
Ling Shu: "He was ashamed of me, jealous that I was younger and more capable than him, so of course he didn't like me."
The policeman was dissatisfied: "Be serious!"
Ling Shu innocently said: "Who's joking with you?"
Police: "How long did the two of you argue for?"
Ling Shu: "I don't remember, probably for half an hour."
Police: "Where did you go afterwards?"
Ling Shu: "I went to Xiaoji Noodles for a bowl of noodles."
Police: "What time did you leave the Yuan Manor and what time did you get back home?"
Ling Shu: "I left at around six in the evening and got back home around eleven or so at night."
The police scoffed: "You stayed in the noodle place for five hours? You must've eaten at least ten bowls of noodles, right?"
Ling Shu sighed: "Brother, have you ever tried their scallion oil noodles? The taste is just amazing. I'm acquainted with the owner of the noodle shop. Once it's dark, he'll set up a pot and make the noodle soup with some chopped chili peppers to warm up the dish. Then he'll add some beef, mutton, bean curd, and fish slices..."
Shen Renjie had just come home for the night, but was called back to record a statement before he had even had a chance to sit down. He was full of anger as he had not even had time to eat dinner.
At this moment, when he heard the other person describe the dishes in such detail, it was as if a steaming hot pot was in front of him. His mouth began to water and he was about to drool.
"Stop!" Shen Renjie yelled, "So in these five hours, you ate scallion oil noodles and hot pot?"
Ling Shu nodded: "We chatted while eating, what's so strange about coming back at midnight?"
“Can anyone testify for you?” Shen Renjie asked.
“Xiao Guowei, the boss of Xiaoji Noodles. You can just ask him and you'll know,” Ling Shu answered.
“Is it the one on Gengtong Road?” Shen Renjie asked.
“Yes,” Ling Shu answered.
“The house next to it caught fire last night around 3am. The couple and their maid, as well as their children, couldn't escape in time and were burned to death. The fire spread to the noodle shop next door. After the fire was put out, we found a male body that was burnt beyond recognition in the noodle shop. Most likely, it's the Xiao Guowei you just mentioned,” Shen Renjie said.
Ling Shu suddenly stopped tapping his finger on the desk.
“No way?” Ling Shu said, astonished.
How coincidental, he thought.
He had thought this questioning was just a routine procedure.
It was also possible that Yue Dingtang found out about his past with Du Yunning and had asked Smith to put pressure on him.
But now it seemed that wasn't the case.
Du Yunning was dead and had wanted to elope with Ling Shu before she died. Ling Shu had also argued with her husband Yuan Bing in front of an audience. Things had almost turned violent.
To outsiders, the relationship between Ling Shu and Du Yunning seemed ambiguous, at least.
Yue Dingtang said Du Yunning had been dead for more than two hours, which meant it must have happened earlier.
At the same time, Ling Shu had been away for more than five hours, neither at home nor on duty.
He was having supper at Xiaoji Noodles, chatting with the boss casually.
But the boss was dead now.
No one could prove whether his words were true.
"Why doubt me?"
Ling Shu said slowly, "I had no motive to kill Du Yunning. What would I gain from it?"
It was Yue Dingtang who spoke.
"Your words that Du Yunning wanted to elope with you are one-sided."
"It could also be the other way round: You wanted to elope with Du Yunning, but she didn't agree. Yuan Bing found out that she had something to do with you even after marriage, so after you left yesterday, he had a big fight with Du Yunning and left the Yuan Manor, while you took the opportunity to return and tried to convince her to come with you, but Du Yunning regretted and refused, and you were so angry that you strangled her to death."
Ling Shu sighed: "Old Yue, we're old classmates, how come I didn't notice that you can talk nonsense with your eyes open?"
Yue Dingtang said calmly: "This is just a reasonable speculation. Moreover, we have a very important discovery."
Ling Shu raised his hand: "Wait, you just said that you're not a policeman, you just came here because of your old acquaintances. So what are you here for now?"
Smith beside him said, "Professor Yue is our station's specially appointed consultant who can participate in any case consultation and investigation."
Ling Shu: ...
"This consultant was just employed at the last second, right?"
Smith ignored his sarcasm and stood up, patting Yue Dingtang's shoulder.
"I have something else to do, so I'll leave this to you guys."
The iron door opened and then closed again.
Ling Shu usually sat on the opposite side, never expecting to be a suspect one day.
It was a very strange experience.
At this time, he should have been sitting in Xiaoji Noodles.
Yue Dingtang: "This case happened under the Public Concessionary, with Du Yunning's fame and Yuan Bing's connections, it will definitely soon be reported by the media and draw attention. Smith is handling it as a political accomplishment, and your brother-in-law in the city government wants to get involved but may lack the ability. I advise you to face it seriously and tell the truth."
Ling Shu: "What was the important discovery you just mentioned?"
Yue Dingtang: "On the windowsill of Du Yunning's bedroom where the incident happened, a footprint was found. After verification, it was a police boot and its size -"
He looked at Ling Shu's shoes.
Shen Renjie stepped forward and took off the leather shoes from Ling Shu's feet, nodding in agreement with the picture printed from the crime scene.
Yue Dingtang said, "Unfortunately, it's exactly the same as yours."
On the day before Chinese New Year's Eve, instead of feeling any joy of the upcoming holiday, Ling Shu realized that he had stepped into a maze.
Surrounded on all sides by a web of intricate traps, he felt completely suffocated.
Author's words: I, too, have arrived!
Good evening, everyone, have you eaten dinner yet? What are we having for late night snacks? Ling Shu has nothing to eat, but you can send him a photo of the snacks ahead of time.