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Asa Shinn, mostly known under the pseudonym Jezaille Brett, was an English assassin covering as a foreign exchange student attending Imperial Yumei University in Japan during the Meiji period. She was dining at the "La Carneval" restaurant along with her teacher, John Wilson, shortly before his murder. She appeared as a witness during Ryunosuke Naruhodo's subsequent trial for the crime.
The elegant assassin
Asa Shinn was a renown British assassin. Her only known client was London's Chief Justice Mael Stronghart. Under Stronghart's directive, she eliminated all defendants who escaped guilty verdicts in Barok van Zieks' trials, which resulted in dozens of deaths. These assassinations caused van Zieks to develop the fearsome reputation as the "Reaper of the Bailey". As van Zieks always had an alibi during the assassinations, people grew to believe that the fatal ends met by those prosecuted by van Zieks were the result of a curse. This curse was said to be either from Barok van Zieks, or the spirit of his deceased brother Klint van Zieks, who had also been a prosecutor. She worked alongside detective Tobias Gregson, who helped organize the assassination methods. They would always meet in an old apartment on Fresno Street.
In order to conceal a dark truth, Mael Stronghart conspired with Seishiro Jigoku to eliminate two targets aware of Stronghart's secrets in an assassin exchange. By performing an assassin exchange, the assassin sent by either side would be spared of any punishment in the country they performed the assassination in, due to custodial conflict. As part of his side of the assassin exchange, Stronghart tasked Brett with going to Japan to dispatch John H. Wilson, who had been staying in Japan as a visiting professor of Yumei University. Shinn took on the name "Jezaille Brett", posing as an exchange student from Great Britain. As Jezaille Brett, she worked in Dr. Wilson's research faculty in the medical block of Yumei University. Under Wilson, she studied the poison "curare", a poison only known in Europe and the Americas. England covered up her study abroad by saying Shinn had gone missing, and Herlock Sholmes believed her dead.
- Main article: The Adventure of the Great Departure
On November 19th, Brett dined with Professor Wilson in the high-class western restaurant, La Carneval. Having found out about the professor's recent tooth extraction, she intended to kill swiftly and surreptitiously, by poisoning his drink with curare, as the Japanese police would not be able to identify the obscure poison. However, her plan fell apart when she and Wilson were approached by Ryunosuke Naruhodo, who wanted to introduce himself to the visiting professor, as he was a student at Yumei University. Because of this interruption, Brett was unable to leave the vicinity before the curare took effect.
When the professor had succumbed to the curare, his body began to fall. To hide that the professor had died, she used his chair to support his body. No longer capable of going through with her original plan, Brett decided to frame Naruhodo for the crime. She dropped Wilson's handgun on the floor so that the young man would pick it up, and fired her own handgun, which she had concealed under her skirt, into Wilson's chest to conceal the true cause of death. As the restaurant's waiter shoved Naruhodo into the supply closet, she rotated the chair to make the man's back face the table to cover her tracks.
Directly after the incident, the waiter, in truth an undercover police detective named Satoru Hosonaga, received direct orders from his superiors to completely obscure Brett's presence at the scene. Brett was escorted from the restaurant by Hosonaga, and measures were taken by the detective to ensure that the Englishwoman would not be brought to court, such as coaching others present at the scene to claim that Wilson had dined alone.
At the trial
Despite Hosonaga's efforts, Jezaille Brett was soon called as a witness in the trial of Ryunosuke Naruhodo, the young man she had encountered before. Naruhodo, acting as his own attorney, managed to bring her to the witness stand after proving the Professor couldn't have eaten his beefsteak, therefore there must have been someone else at the table.
She first spoke in English by using Satoru Hosonaga as a translator, only stopping when the defense suggested that the gunshot wasn't what killed the professor. When the defense suggested that the carbonated water bottle that was at the scene may have been poisoned, Brett drank a glass of said water and failed to drop dead. This prompted Naruhodo to explain that her failing to death and Wilson dying were not mutually exclusive: the poison used to kill Wilson only took effect if it entered the bloodstream through an open wound, which Wilson had in his mouth while Brett did not. Brett, in response, broke the bottle to prevent anyone from proving that there was any poison in the bottle. However, the defense managed to prove that Iyesa Nosa stole Kyurio Korekuta's koban coin, hiding it underneath another beefsteak and swapping it with Brett's in a separate incident, which proved she was the culprit behind the professor's death, as Brett's plate had a bloodstain. Cornered, she was dragged around the courtroom by the swan on her hat. Brett fully acknowledged her crime, but refused to reveal the motive to her crimes.
Although Naruhodo's innocence was proven and it was proven without a doubt that she was guilty for Wilson's death, Brett faced no punishment on Japanese soil. British authorities demanded that Brett be turned over to their custody to face trial in the nearest British consul court, which was located in Shanghai, China. As a result, Japan was forced to comply. Furthermore, although Brett was found to be a guilty murderer, she was allowed to roam relatively freely, and was even allowed to continue her research at Yumei University despite her crimes.
- Main article: The Adventure of the Blossoming Attorney
Close to her extradition date to Shanghai, Brett asked that her last memory of Japan be at a beach; with Satoru Hosonaga assigned to her, the government allowed it. Raiten Menimemo, a journalist working under author Soseki Natsume, entered her beach hut to interview her about her crime. However, Brett simply made fun of him, calling him a caveman who failed to understand the difference between eavesdropping and genuine journalism. Unknown to her, the incensed Menimemo slipped some poison he secretly retrieved from a previous interview into her drink through his fountain pen.
After he left, another student of Wilson's named Rei Membami approached Brett, demanding her to return the poison which, unbeknownst to both, had recently been ingested by her. Menimemo was crouched behind the hut and, overhearing their conversation, realized he would be caught: the poison had such visible side effects, it would be easy to determine that it had been used. As the poison he used was under such tight control, it would be easy to track down that Menimemo had gained access to the poison and used it. Hastily, he stabbed Brett in the back with a small knife from behind the hut, hoping that the stabbing would kill her before the poison.
As she was stabbed, Brett quickly rose up before falling to the floor, clutching the pen Menimemo had left behind. Seeing the knife, Membami attempted to remove it from her back as Hosonaga and Natsume arrived at the scene, as Membami believed that the knife was coated in the deadly poison. As Hosonaga left to contact the police, Natsume asked the barely conscious killer who had done this to her. Weakly, Brett pointed in the direction of the back of the hut, which was both in the direction of Membami and Menimemo, before she finally perished.
Ultimately, Membami was arrested for Brett's murder, but her best friend "Ryutaro Naruhodo" exposed Menimemo in court. Hosonaga lamented that the world would never know why Jezaille Brett killed John Wilson now that she was dead.
The true extent of Brett's crimes would come to light in the future, during the trial of Barok van Zieks.
At first glance, Brett appeared to be calm and collected, exuding an aura of innocence and grace. However, this was no more than a facade, as she was, in reality, cunning and malicious. This was shown by her attempts to pin the murder on Naruhodo, such as dropping a handgun and firing a second to make him appear to be the murderer, blatantly accusing him of murdering Wilson, and even stating that his punishment should be extended when his innocence was not yet proven and the trial had not even ended yet. Her only benevolent trait was her love and devotion to the Great British Empire, citing English as the most beautiful language.
Brett was also shown to be very calculating and intelligent, developing and using a poison that the police in that country had no idea existed, and spontaneously coming up with an elaborate plot to frame Naruhodo for Wilson's murder after her intended plan was disrupted.
She also believed Japanese culture to be barbaric, claiming that the language was "dirty", as well as calling the police force immature and underdeveloped, the latter of which angered Hosonaga. She called some mannerisms from the Japanese to be "unthinkable for a Briton", also commenting on the complexity of Japanese names.
- Her Japanese name "Jezail Bullet" originates from the type of gun that John Watson was shot with in the Sherlock Holmes canon. Her name in the localization changes the spelling somewhat to make it seem more like a legitimate name.
- "Brett" may also be a reference to Jeremy Brett, an English actor known for playing Sherlock Holmes in the 1984 TV series.
- Her real Japanese name "Ann Sasha" (アン サッシャー) is a corruption/play on アンサツシャ (暗殺者 ansatsusha) which means assassin, referencing her true profession. The name "Ann" (pronounced "auw-n" in Japanese) is considered particularly culturally exotic in Japan and is strongly associated with Europeans, particularly "beautiful Europeans", or the idea of exotic foreign beauty. This could be intended to tie into her perceived, distinctly foreign, good looks and beauty.
- Her real English name "Asa Shinn" is a play on "assassin". "Shinn" is an English occupational surname for a skinner, which parallels her similarly violent profession.
- Her swan-decorated hat was most likely inspired by real-life fashion from the 19th century. It was considered very fashionable for women to wear taxidermied birds on their hats to the point that some bird species faced near extinction because of excessive hunting. Her swan, however, is alive.
- When Brett speaks English, her text uses a script that consists of intentionally illegible "Queen's English". This is similar to some other characters who have used illegible scripts to denote speaking in a foreign language, such as Zinc Lablanc.