Book of Murder takes place after the events of Book of Circus and it is an adaptation to the murder arc in the Black Butler manga. The queen orders Ciel to host a small private party for other nobles. During the party, guests are being murdered one by one and it is up to Ciel to find out who the murderer is. The queen is doing this to test Ciel’s resolve after he solved the the mysterious kidnapping of children. There are not many action scenes as in the previous arcs but there is more mystery and suspense. As in any good murder mystery, there are numerous plot twists and turns. Everyone is a suspect for the murders. When the mystery is solved at the end, it is done in a way that is satisfying and conclusive instead of raising more questions than answers.
Solving the murders are particularly difficult as there are many clues and numerous suspects. No one is safe while the murderer is on the loose and Ciel is under great pressure to solve the case. Book of Murder is very engaging and everyone involved plays a key role in finding the killer. You can’t predict who the killer is or eliminate any suspects as seemingly innocent guests could be the actual killer. Each clue is an important piece of the puzzle and they point to various guest as potential murderer so no clue is insignificant. No clue is obvious at a glance and it takes teamwork and thinking outside the box to solve the puzzle.
The atmosphere Is dark and rainy like a typical film noir. The stories are set in the phantomhive manor for the majority of the arc it worked quite well.
This arc introduces a young Arthur Conan Doyle who wrote Sherlock Holmes series and The Lost World. He is your typical everyday person who is caught up in the bizarre and strange events of what is happening. He is not successful initially and his practice as an eye doctor is struggling. Doyle is invited to the party by Ciel who was fond of his books despite him being relatively unknown at the time. Compared to other characters such as Sebastian, Doyle is the most “normal” of them all and he brought some interesting dynamics and was key to solving the murders. He acts a form of a father figure to Ciel and the chemistry between them was playful and charming. He is also very modest and humble in contrast to the wealthy elite around him. He is the detective in this story and he is a very helpful and kind character who does his best to help solve the random murders.
Book of Murder is highly faithful to the original stories while making a few necessary changes for the anime adaptation. The story also continues on the events from the previous series as there are callbacks every now and then so it does not throw any of the events unlike the non-canon second season. It mostly self-contained while still following the overall overarching narrative of the manga and its longer than the episodes of the previous seasons. The story takes its time into setting up the events and is a bit slow at the beginning but picks up the pace later on.
You see a different side of Ciel that would not be often shown in the series considering his line of work and his usual cold personality. He is more sympathetic and vulnerable and shows that he is still a child despite the way he carries himself. This was played out in a way that was effective and I like how it did something different than what was normally seen in the series. The phantomhive servants play a bigger role now than in the previous arcs.They are much more helpful and competent than in previous seasons.
The animation and art style are the same as in the previous arc, Book of Circus and is just as good. There is not a great deal of CGI in this arc other than it being fairly noticeable on the horses. But for the most part, the CGI blends well with the animation exception of the horses.
Other than the main voice cast reprising the roles, the new cast does a fairly good job voicing their characters. Arthur Conan Doyle in particular was the standout role and the actor who voices him makes him even more convincing.
There were some downsides to Book of Murder. The show introduces many new characters but other than Arthur they did not have much purpose to them and they could have been easily killed off and forgotten in later arcs. Elizabeth and Soma are back but other than being present, they still have very little purpose to the show especially in this arc. A few scenes in the show weren’t necessary. The beginning fight scene was random and didn’t really need to be in the arc. While the shows trademark black comedy is still, here it felt tacked on and kind of loses focus on solving the mystery. There were a few good chuckles here and there but it felt lacking.
Overall, Book of Murder was enjoyable and fans of the series will love it. The action picked up as the show progresses and even if it lacked the fast paced action of previous shows, it was not boring and required more concentration. New comers to the series may want to watch Book of Circus before watching this story.
I found it to be a interesting, gripping and very enjoyable.
It gets about 4 stars.
Well if you are into suspense whodunit and Victorian London stories, you are going to be engaged with this killer of a story.