Stay out of Cabot Cove, Maine.
This is death’s land. Jessica Fletcher’s sleepy little town from Murder, She Wrote has a stated population of 3,560. But as the U.K. Telegraph reports:
Research carried out for BBC Radio 4 found it has the world’s highest murder rate per head of population, with an average of 5.3 corpses per year turning up in the town. (T)hat equates to an alarming 1,490 murders per million.
That is around 60 per cent higher than Honduras, the real-life murder capital of the world where there is a violent death every 74 minutes.
An estimated two per cent of Cabot Cove residents met a grisly end during the show’s 12-year run, with the murder rate for visitors even higher.
Thankfully, Fletcher, a skilled mystery novelist was around to help solve them all. As a bookseller, I’ve met more than my share of mystery novelists. Most are fairly bright. I don’t think any of them have solved a murder, however (although Anne Perry committed one… that story will probably be covered in a future Night Owl.)
The only reason the death toll isn’t higher for the show was that Angela Lansbury, wanting more available locations, asked that her character be given an apartment in New York so there could be another stable setting for the corpses she would inevitably stumble across.
So, all hail Jessica Fletcher, ruler of the amateur sleuths, the person you should stay furthest away from if you want to live.
Not so fast.
Over in Japan, there’s a teenaged detective who’s… well, he’s not a teenager anymore. Stumbling across a major crime by professional assassins from a mysterious crime organization in the first episode, he’s knocked unconscious and poisoned. He isn’t killed by the poison, however; unbeknownst to the assassins, the experimental “untraceable drug” they’re using only kills most of the people who ingest it. A slim minority have a body chemistry which simply reverses the aging process. The teenager wakes up in the body of a first grader, but is afraid to make it evident that he’s survived (for fear of putting his loved ones at risk) until he can take down the organization. He assumes the name of Conan Edogawa (from the creator of Sherlock Holmes and Japan’s most famous mystery author) and goes to live with an inept detective, solving crimes along the way.
This started in 1996.
The creator of the anime (Japanese cartoon) series has stated that he has known the answers to the final mysteries about Shinichi Kudo and the Black Organization, and that everything will wrap up on the seventeenth birthday of Shinichi’s girlfriend, Ran.
Ran, who was 16 when the show started. 906 (and counting) episodes ago. With an average of about one death per episode. Oh, and the 22 movies. And the 12 direct-to-video specials. (Detective Conan Wiki)
Assuming that the show started on Ran’s birthday, but the principals didn’t bother mentioning that fact; and assuming it’s a leap year, that means there are 366 possible days involved.
Let’s do some math.
Give the kid six hours to sleep each night. That leaves 18 hours x 366 days, or 6588 hours in the year.
There are more than two deaths, on average, in each movie… often many more. But let’s call it two. Let’s only assign a single death to the video specials. That’s still 906 + 44 + 12, or 962.
This means that Shinichi Kudo stumbles across a dead body just under every seven hours he’s awake. That includes when he’s at school (where a group of first-grader “detectives” occasionally try to help him out.)
In the television world, anyone finding themselves within a one mile radius of this kid should run, not walk, to try to get the heck away from him. But, if you are killed, at least he’ll catch your murderer.
I guess that’s something.