Miles Edgeworth is a prosecuting attorney, but he keeps finding himself on the scene of various crimes. That’s lucky for hapless detective Dick Gumshoe (yes, really his name), because Edgeworth happens to be a crime-solving genius. (Gumshoe, not so much.) So, when bodies crop up at the party Edgeworth is attending, or the concert Gumshoe has dragged him to, it’s up to Miles Edgeworth, Ace Attorney, to discover the who the murderers are.
There’s almost a Sherlock Holmes vibe here. Edgeworth is twitchy, irritable, stiff, and unsociable, but observant and brilliant. (Although, if you’re one who finds Holmes’ rapid-fire analyses a bit circumstantial and far-fetched sometimes, then prepare to feel the same way about our prosecutor protagonist.) Gumshoe is genial, goofy, and emotional, relating to people better than his friend does, but not picking up on subtle clues in the cases they investigate. Neither character is examined deeply, nor is any other character who appears. That’s not really what the book is about.
This volume comprises two murder mystery stories, a humorous “mystery” about the book’s author losing his manuscript and calling in our heroes to help him find it, and a substantial sneak peek at another story from the next volume — enough to set up the mystery to be solved. In the first, Edgeworth is roped into attending a masquerade ball, but is far more interested in the mystery of the body found nearby, which Gumshoe is called to investigate. In the second, Gumshoe has brought Edgeworth along to the farewell concert of the detective’s favorite band, and the lead singer is murdered between the show and the encore. (Not appearing anywhere in the book: Miles Edgeworth, Ace Attorney showing any intention of going to a courtroom or, you know, practicing law.) At the end of the volume is an informative and interesting section explaining various translation difficulties and compromises.
There is definitely blood. We are shown both victims’ bodies (as well as a crime scene in the “sneak peek” partial story), and the violence is, of course, discussed. When the crimes are solved and explained, the attacks are shown in flashbacks. That said, there’s no extraneous gore and both stories have humorous side-plots or undertones: Edgeworth pays no attention to the scantily-clad woman trying to pick him up at the masquerade; Gumshoe bonds with another rabid fan of his favorite band as they try to determine who murdered the singer. There is no romance element and the only sexual content is a skimpy costume or two at the masquerade.
The manga-style artwork is just a little uneven, with the backgrounds detailed and nuanced and the characters simpler, drawn with more emotion than realism. I did not find this disruptive in reading, though. Edgeworth and Gumshoe are characters from the CAPCOM video game Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth, and they retain their video game appearance here, while the backgrounds are adapted from the simple, slightly cartoony video game versions to more realistic manga versions. This series may therefore have a built-in fanbase in players of the game; it is also likely to appeal to manga fans who like mysteries.