An telegram from Jackson Elias! They travel down from Boston to New York to meet him in his posh room in the Chelsea Hotel. He welcomes them in, and asks them to look into something for him -- he has a friend, a retired police captain, whose daughter, Abigail Wright, has gone missing. She was a painter, living in a Manhattan in a building for artists. Jackson would, of course, check it out himself except that he is leaving shortly for Kenya to do more research on his next book.
The party heads out to the apartment building, having gotten the keys from Jackson. The woman's room is a shambles -- hundreds of random items glued to the walls, carpet ripped up, etc. They decide to itemize the room's contents and find a few odd things....
- a map of the apartment building, altered. Each closet is marked with an "X." Doors are drawn in where no doors actually exist. Notes are scrawled in various locations: "Door on 7/12," "roses and butter,""man with briefcase and white shoes." Some doors are drawn on the edge of the map, labeled with things like "Mr. Castaigne" and "The Parlor."
- pages of a play. The characters seem to be the tenants.
- a receipt, written to Abigail Wright, for July's rent for apartment S-10. There is no S-10 in this building.
The investigators interview some other tenants. One is an artist, one is an annoying Marxist suffragette. Neither are helpful.
A comparison of the map to the building shows that the map is not accurate.
As the sun sets, the party leaves and checks out some businesses in the neighborhood. Moshe's Deli is the source of much amusement and a promise to check out his cousin's place home in Boston ("Shlomo's Deli"). A regular delivery of bagels and lox to the hotel restaurant is established. Dinner is had at a local Italian joint with a cute young waitress and some excellent pasta.
With full bellies and confused minds, the party retires. A slower session, but one must lay down the theme before building to the crescendo.