TSA Chapter 59

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Chapter 59: Invitation

The traces at the scene were just as Gu Shi had expected.

Gu Shi explained, “In the climate of the current season, judging by the temperature in the hotel, if the blood didn’t cling to the rope in strings when the rope was moved then it must have sat there over twenty minutes.”

A light turned on in Zhang Chi’s head. He strode to the window. “In other words, the suspect must have stuck around at least half an hour after the victim died?”

“I can’t say that for sure right now, but it’s something to go on for now. You should go check my second point.”

She was referring to focusing on the details of the fingerprints found at the scene.

“If your description was correct, then from what I understand, the top of the nightstand must be longer than the front panel of the drawer. You need to confirm the location of the fingerprints in that area, and the shape.”

“The fingerprints obtained on the drawer panel are on the outside at the top,” Zhang Chi said, looking it over.

“And the shape?”

Chen Ting whispered to Zhang Chi from the side, “At the very top the fingerprints are stuck to the veneer, partially wrapped around it.”

Zhang Chi related exactly what Chen Ting had said.

Gu Shi distinctly heard Chen Ting’s voice. “Ask Chen Ting what problem arises from this situation?”

Chen Ting realized she was asking himself, but he didn’t take the phone right away. His train of thought was still on the medicinal supplements he was preparing for her that his mother was going to bring over after she got off work. He hadn’t thought Gu Shi’s question so he didn’t know how to respond.

Gu Shi said impatiently over the phone, “Under normal circumstances, a person’s hand couldn’t reach that place if it was airtight. Only when the drawer is opened could the fingerprints show up there.”

“So then we can say that the lock being pried open was faked?” Zhang Chi said.

Gu Shi affirmed that without hesitation. Therefore, Zhang Chi completely relaxed. All he had to do was examine the security footage and dig out a sketch. Why dig? The resolution was too low and there was not a clear image of the face head-on. The clearest image was of the profile of a girl waiting at the elevator, looking back.

When he went to the hospital that day, Gu Shi saw him and exclaimed. “What happened to your eyes?”

Zhang Chi didn’t realize anything was wrong. He picked up a compact mirror from the nightstand and noticed the whites of his eyes were completely red. He set the mirror down indifferently. “I was looking at security footage for a long time today.”

He said it lightly. Only he knew how his eyes and brain felt like that were going to explode. No one knew how he had poured over every frame of that less-than-five-minute video, engrossed in it for four hours. His mouse finger as all red.

Little Wu had come over and shook his head right away. “It’s so dim I can only make out that’s it’s a person, and whether it’s male or female. I know your power of discernment is better than most of us, but it’s still just a person. If you can make a face out of that you can ascend to immortality. I can’t tell.”

Zhang Chi laughed, but said nothing. He knew it was going to be difficult so it was pointless to grumble about it. His canvas had been blank for the last three hours. He changed perspectives, distance, looked at it on a big screen, and it seemed to distinguish something within the mosaic. No, not distinguish, more like he could guess the familiar structure of the face, but it still seemed to be lacking something.

“Pretty difficult?” Gu Shi asked him plainly.

He nodded. It seemed there was nothing he could hide from her, so he could just be himself.

He washed his hands and peeled her an orange, handing it to her piece by piece. Her complexion was a little better, and his heart, little by little, sank down from the air until it hit the ground. “Where’s the difficulty?” She always did like to get to the point.

“The resolution is too low and the face is not complete. And it’s too dark.”

“There’s always more ways than difficulties.”

“I knew you would say that. I finally finished the sketch before I came here.”

“I want to know how you got around the lighting problem? After all, that’s the first problem you face when drawing a sketch.”

Zhang Chi looked at her calmly. Gu Shi shot back a reproving look. “Yes, actually I know composite sketching was started in the 1880s by Chair of the Paris School of Anthropology, Louis-Adolphe Bertillon. Since it’s a school of science, a criminal investigative science, then shouldn’t you use criminal investigation methods to assist you in increasing the effect?”

“Great minds think alike.” Zhang Chi smiled and told her what he had done that afternoon. He closed his sketch folder and went to the hotel where the crime took place. Under the same lighting, he asked a woman attendant to stand in the same spot and turn her head in the same angle, then observed the security footage and pondered it for a while before he finally finished his sketch.

“Seems like you accidentally used criminal investigation experimentation and just happened to corroborate your sketch?”

“Yep. After I guessed at the sketch, aside from the structure of the body, I felt something was off. Later I went back to the studio and pulled the curtains, and as the light spilled in I suddenly saw the light.”

Gu Shi pursed her lips and smiled. “You’re making it sound mysterious.”

“I’m not making it mysterious. Think about it, when you women go out window shopping to buy clothes, why is it that it looks so much different on you in the store than when you get it home?

“Mirror, lighting, plus the staff making all kinds of compliments to convince the customer.”

“Right. Lighting has a huge effect on one’s figure. So when light shines on a person’s face it definitely will create a difference; changing the position and angle will directly influence the accuracy of the sketch.” He waited until Gu Shi was finished eating, then handed her a tissue. “Let’s not talk about work. It feels like that’s the only thing we have in common to talk about.”

“What else?” Gu Shi lowered her eyes. Every time this subject came up she felt like running away, which disappointed the ever-hopeful Zhang Chi.

“Did the doctor tell you when you can leave the hospital? Zhang Chi covered up his disappointed expression and turned and tidied the orange peels on the table.

“Soon. I can leave this weekend if I want. There’s no reason not to, it’s stifling in here.”

“You’re used to being busy and never stopping. A lot of people eagerly look forward to taking off work and public holidays.” Zhang Chi turned and looked her in the eye. “Well, that’s perfect. My birthday is this Sunday. I invited some friends to eat out and sing karaoke. You want to come?”

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