Volume ten of Kuroshitsuji continues the murder mystery arc.
After the latest corpse is examined, everyone once again rehashes what happened and provide or fail to provide alibis. The rehashing is interrupted by an unexpected visitor. He is a vicar named Jeremy and he is apparently acquainted with the Phantomhive family. Apparently, he was the person Sebastian was attempting to reach via messenger owl. (Insert Harry Potter joke here.) He is as first considered a possible suspect in the murder, but he is able to provide an alibi.
Jeremy quickly takes over the case and reveals himself to have a nearly preternatural gift for deduction. After some adventures involving a venomous snake, the revelation of Sebastian’s cat-hoarding tendencies and a great deal of silliness, Jeremy is soon able to solve the case. All seems well, but our friend the young doctor becomes suspicious, and discovers more than he bargained for.
One thing I really liked about this volume was learning a little more about the pasts of Bardroy, Mae-Linn and Finnie. There appear to be some slight differences between the manga and anime back stories for each of the characters. There are some really moving moments where the three are mourning Sebastian’s death and talking about how much they owe both Ciel and Sebastian. Sadly, we don’t really learn a lot about Tanaka’s background, though he has some extremely badass moments in this arc.
I liked the sense of unity and loyalty the servants have for both Ciel and Sebastian, though I don’t always like the way that is framed. You want to look at this recruitment of sad, desperate and miserable people as a good deed, as a sign that Ciel (or Sebastian for that matter), have something that is good about them. You want to believe that the characters creating this intense loyalty actually deserve that loyalty–but this is not actually the case, and it’s heartbreaking. (The theme of misguided loyalty was a big part of the circus arc and there are some interesting and disturbing parallels between the servants and the Circus members.)
This arc was something of a lull after the Circus arc. It’s much lighter in tone, but not so much that the reader gets whiplash. In the next volume, our friend the doctor learns more than he bargained for about the criminal underworld and we embark on a new arc in which Ciel and Sebastian investigate a mysterious secret society with an extremely stupid secret greeting.