Hanging by a Thread is a case featured in Criminal Case, appearing as the eightieth case of the game. It is the twenty-fourth case of Pacific Bay and the final one to take place in the Jazz Town district.
Chief Marquez was worried about the Puppeteer's message implying that they would make their comeback in the Carnival. She sent Frank and the player to make a security check on the Jazz Town Carnival storage rooms. In a storage room, they found that the Puppeteer had already struck as they found cabaret dancer Dinah Cooper strung up in chains, hanging like a marionette.
Yann, whose parents had been attacked by the Puppeteer, had not yet turned up to work. Mid-investigation, Jessica Toussaint, Yann's wife, told the police that someone had broken in their house. Yann was subsequently treated as a suspect after Frank and the player found Dinah's shoe heel in his house's basement.
Frank was soon pulled out of the investigation as Chief Marquez believed that they needed Russell's expertise on the workings of the criminal mind. Meanwhile, in the lab, Roxie had to handle all the tasks normally given to Yann. With her help, along with Hannah's, Russell and the player were able to find evidence to clear Yann's name and to arrest Carnival organizer Freddie Alonzo.
Freddie initially denied being the Puppeteer, but Russell was able to anger him enough to letting him slip that he did kill his parents, Dinah, and even more in the past. Freddie said that his parents were too controlling over him so he had decided to show them how it felt to be controlled. After feeling liberated, Freddie decided to impart the "joyous feeling of freedom" on other kids (such as Yann, Louie Cooper, and a girl named Audrey) too, thus starting his modus operandi.
Judge Dante and Yann were appalled at Freddie's motive and lack of remorse over killing parents and scarring their children for life. Freddie did not seem to know the difference between the occasional quarrel and a child's hatred for their parents. Reasoning that Freddie was not the liberator he believed he was, Judge Dante sentenced Freddie to life in jail.
After the trial, the player gave further closure to Yann by giving him an old photo of his parents to take to his parents' grave. Frank also suggested a trip to White Peaks for Yann and his family to rest from the events of the latest case. Meanwhile, Amy and the player helped Blake Cooper by gathering documents that would validate his custody over Louie. They were also able to give Louie a poster to remember his mother by.
As a reward for restoring peace to Jazz Town, Chief Marquez transferred the rest of the team to White Peaks as well because the district reported crime rates were spiking.
- Dinah Cooper (found hanging like a puppet)
- Freddie Alonzo
- The killer knows mechanics.
- The killer eats candy apples.
- The killer wears a Carnival necklace.
- The killer is 45 or older.
- The killer has blue face paint.
- Investigate Storage Room. (Clues: Victim's Body, Broken Figurine, Dinah's Handbag; Victim identified: Dinah Cooper)
- Examine Broken Figurine. (Result: Figurine; New Suspect: Freddie Alonzo)
- Ask Freddie about the victim's message on the dancer figurine. (Prerequisite: Figurine restored)
- Examine Dinah's Handbag. (Result: Faded Invitation)
- Examine Faded Invitation. (Result: Steamboat Invitation; New Crime Scene Unlocked: Deck)
- Investigate Deck. (Prerequisite: Steamboat Invitation restored; Clues: Champagne Bucket, Locked Cell Phone)
- Examine Champagne Bucket. (Result: Unidentified Person)
- Examine Unidentified Person. (New Suspect: Blake Cooper)
- Ask Blake Cooper about his relationship with his daughter. (Prerequisite: Unidentified Person identified to be Blake)
- Examine Locked Cell Phone. (Result: Cell Phone)
- Analyze Cell Phone. (09:00:00; New Suspect: Stanley Bullock)
- Quiz Stanley about being the victim's neighbor. (Prerequisite: Cell Phone analyzed)
- Autopsy Victim's Body. (18:00:00; Attribute: The killer knows mechanics)
- Go to Chapter 2. (No stars)
- Investigate Yann's Basement. (Available after unlocking Chapter 2; Clues: High Heel, Locked Safe)
- Examine High Heel. (Result: White Powder)
- Analyze White Powder. (15:00:00; New Suspect: Yann Toussaint)
- Question Yann about the victim's shoe found in his house. (Prerequisite: White Powder analyzed; Profile updated: Yann knows mechanics; New Crime Scene Unlocked: Buffet)
- Investigate Buffet. (Prerequisite: Yann interrogated; Clues: Torn Book, Faded Restraining Order, Syringe)
- Examine Torn Book. (Result: Book)
- Question Freddie about the book he gave to the victim's son. (Prerequisite: Book restored; Profile updated: Freddie knows mechanics)
- Examine Faded Restraining Order. (Result: Restraining Order)
- Confront Stanley about the restraining order filed against him. (Prerequisite: Restraining Order unraveled; Profile updated: Stanley knows mechanics)
- Analyze Syringe. (09:00:00; Attribute: The killer eats candy apples)
- Examine Locked Safe. (Result: Open Safe)
- Examine Open Safe. (Result: Card; New Suspect: Madeleine Deville)
- Talk to Madeleine about her book on the Puppeteer. (Prerequisite: Card found; Profile updated: Madeleine knows mechanics)
- Go to Chapter 3. (No stars)
- Investigate Wooden Shelves. (Available after unlocking Chapter 3; Clues: Carnival Props, Pill Bottle, Faded Notepad)
- Examine Carnival Props. (Result: Message)
- Question Blake about the threat he wrote to the victim. (Prerequisite: Message found; Profile updated: Blake knows mechanics and eats candy apples)
- Examine Pill Bottle. (Result: Doctor's ID)
- Analyze Doctor's ID. (09:00:00)
- Quiz Madeleine about being the victim's therapist. (Prerequisite: Doctor's ID analyzed; Profile updated: Madeleine eats candy apples)
- Examine Faded Notepad. (Result: Puppeteer Notes)
- Confront Yann about his Puppeteer Notes. (Prerequisite: Puppeteer Notes unraveled; Profile updated: Yann eats candy apples)
- Investigate Boiler. (All tasks before must be done first; Clues: Bloody Saw, Wooden Chest; Murder Weapon registered: Saw)
- Examine Bloody Saw. (Result: Paper Pieces)
- Analyze Paper Pieces. (09:00:00; Evidence: The killer wears a carnival necklace)
- Examine Wooden Chest. (Result: Paper Chain)
- Analyze Paper Chain. (15:00:00; Evidence: The killer wears blue paint)
- Attribute: The killer is 45 or older (All tasks before must be done first)
- Take care of the killer now!
- Go to Additional Investigation. (No stars)
- See what is bothering Blake. (Available after unlocking Additional Investigation)
- Investigate Deck. (Prerequisite: Blake interrogated; Clue: Dinah's Chest)
- Examine Dinah's Chest. (Result: Birth Certificate)
- Analyze Birth Certificate. (09:00:00)
- Tell Blake he has the custody over Louie. (Prerequisite: Birth Certificate analyzed; Reward: Burger)
- Investigate Buffet. (Prerequisite: Blake interrogated; Clue: Faded Poster)
- Examine Faded Poster. (Result: Dinah's Poster)
- Give Dinah's Poster to Blake. (Prerequisite: Dinah's Poster unraveled; Reward: 20,000 Coins)
- Investigate Storage Room. (Available after unlocking Additional Investigation; Clues: Yann's Torn Picture)
- Examine Yann's Torn Picture. (Result: Yann's Picture)
- Bring the picture back to Yann. (Prerequisite: Yann's Picture restored)
- Investigate Yann's Basement. (Prerequisite: Yann interrogated; Clue: Box of Pictures)
- Examine Box of Pictures. (Result: Flyer)
- Tell Yann about the trip to White Peaks. (Prerequisite: Flyer found; Reward: Warm Coat)
- Move on to a new crime (in White Peaks)! (No stars)
- The case's title comes from the expression "hang by a thread", which means to be in an extremely risky or unstable position or situation.
- This may also be a pun, considering the victim was found hung up with chains.
- This is one of the game's cases in which a main character is flagged as a suspect for a plausible reason.
- This is one of the few cases in which Amy and Frank interact with each other.
- All characters, with the exception of Blake Cooper, previously appeared in cases before the events of this case.
- The marionette starring in "The Adventurous Puppet" (the book that was mentioned to have been gifted to Louie by Freddie during the investigation) is an obvious parody of the fictional animated marionette Pinocchio. In addition, the book could also be a reference to The Adventures of Pinocchio.
- During Freddie's trial, Judge Dante sarcastically remarks that he thought the Puppeteer was "some toy that came alive at night and killed people, but turned back into a doll by day." This is a reference to the popular horror movie franchise Child's Play featuring the fictional living doll, "Chucky".
- This is the second Pacific Bay case not to require stars to advance in-between chapters and to unlock the next case, the first one being The Ice Queen.