After they had finished the material covered by the anime, the original goal was to pick up where they left off, reviewing the light novels for The Case Files of Jeweler Richard. Although the books include more detail, the plot stays mostly the same. This volume changed that; while the anime covers all of its topics to a certain extent (the information from the adaptation will conclude in the next book of the series), this novel recounts Richard’s past in Sri Lanka in much greater depth.
This is partially due to the anime’s rearranging of certain events from the novels. It’s a good decision to place the episode about Richard in Sri Lanka before the ones that take place in England. But as we hear about Richard’s family issues, there’s a lot more to be gained from knowing about his history. We now understand his motivations far better, as well as how Saul and Monica influenced his future actions. And given that you already know that Richard is British royalty and that he is a stickler for honesty in the present day of the novel, it is even more shocking to discover that he was once essentially a conman.
Richard tried to leave England as soon as possible after the catastrophe involving his grandfather’s bequest and his forced divorce with his girlfriend. He finally made it to Sri Lanka. Richard started selling diamonds there under the alias “Edward Baxter,” mostly without knowing or caring if the stones were real or even being sold under the right identities. It’s surprising how different this carelessness is from the main story’s nearly thirty-year-old Richard. Although we are aware of his troubled past, it nevertheless shocks to learn that he lived in a dilapidated flat and carelessly sold stones. This younger Richard seems to have lost all interest in everything, potentially even his own survival and well-being, and is very much on the verge of giving up. He seems to be plagued by nightmares and would do virtually anything to put an end to them, if it weren’t too much trouble.
Richard is only two years older than Seigi in the present day of the novel at the time of the flashback, but their differences are just as great. There has always been a feeling that Richard is making a genuine effort to steer Seigi clear of the mistakes he made. When Saul first takes Richard in, he asks him to “protect” a teenage girl who lives in his home. In an attempt to do so, Richard makes a few decisions that are strikingly similar to those of Seigi, prioritizing “justice” over his own safety without giving the situation any thought. Young Richard, on the other hand, lacks the social support system that primarily motivates Seigi’s random acts of kindness and is resentful. In addition to Richard, Seigi has his mother who is estranged from him, his friendship with Tanimoto and other students. However, Richard is by himself in a foreign nation with just Saul and Monica, both of whom he doesn’t think he can trust. Upon discovering that Monica was subjected to an acid attack by her Indian in-laws, who subsequently kept possession of her dowry, which included a zircon tiara, he responds with well-meaning intentions but reckless disregard for his own safety. Given that Richard is a little more socially astute than Seigi, he probably views it as a threat to Seigi should he ever lose his backing. Additionally, he might be concerned that if the younger man ever comes to the realization that Tanimoto is somewhere on the aro/ace spectrum, it might drive him into darkness.
The way Richard views his friendship with Seigi is a crucial aspect of both the novel and the entire series. He appeared very calm with the younger man at first, but as he got to know Seigi more, he started to adopt more of what he probably believed to be a Saul-like position with him. However, Richard’s views seemed to change when Seigi followed him to England in the previous volume, and his past with Saul and Monica sheds light on why that is. Similar to Saul and his “daughter,” Seigi has now witnessed Richard at his most uneasy, and he has made it clear that he intends to stay with him. This compels Richard to reconsider and potentially consider Seigi’s casual yet sincere remarks as more than just a case of foot-in-mouth syndrome.
Seigi’s tenure in Richard’s store is marred by the shadow of graduation hanging over him. He’s forced to face the possibility that his time at the jewelry store may be coming to an end because he knows he needs to find a full-time job. At Richard’s request, Saul divulges Richard’s background due to this emotional dilemma, which also suggests a change of direction for the plot. Richard can connect to Seigi’s need to reflect on his life goals because he won’t be content to live the carefree college student lifestyle for much longer. Seigi’s discovery of the woman who taught Richard Japanese when he was a young boy and his acquaintance, who was twice rejected by love, both point to the tying up of past grievances in order to move on. The preparation for the impending significant plot shift is done quite well by this book.
This is the first volume that, in my opinion, you really must read if you want to know the whole plot, even though there are plenty minor elements that the anime generally omitted. As we’ve seen with its treatment of LGBTQIA+ issues, the author’s handling of Monica’s treatment at the hands of her in-laws doesn’t minimize it without turning the entire book into a political statement. Its insight into Richard’s past is significant to his character and relationships with others. It’s a good piece of work that paves the way for future developments in the series.