Philo Gubb, wrapped in his bathrobe, went to the door of the room that was the headquarters of his business of paper-hanging and decorating as well as the office of his detective business, and opened the door a crack. It was still early in the morning, but Mr. Gubb was a modest man, and, lest any one should see him in his scanty attire, he peered through the crack of the door before he stepped hastily into the hall and captured his copy of the Riverbank Daily Eagle. When he had secured the still damp newspaper, he returned to his cot bed and spread himself out to read comfortably.
It was a hot Iowa morning. Business was so slack that if Mr. Gubb had not taken out his set of eight varieties of false whiskers daily and brushed them carefully, the moths would have been able to deyour them at leisure.
P. Gubb opened the Eagle. The first words that met his eye caused him to sit upright on his cot. At the top of the first column of the first page were the headlines:
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MYSTERIOUS DEATH OF HENRY SMITZ
Body Found in Mississippi River by Boatman Early This A.M.
Foul Play Suspected.
Mr. Gubb unfolded the paper and read the item under the headlines with the most intense interest. Foul play meant the possibility of an opportunity to put to use once more the precepts of the Course of Twelve Lessons, and with them fresh in his mind Detective Gubb was eager to undertake the solution of any mystery the Riverbank could furnish. This was the article: –
'Just as we go to press we receive word through Policeman Michael O'Toole that the well-known mussel-dredger and boatman, Samuel Fliggis (Long Sam), while dredging for mussels last night just below the bridge, recovered the body of Henry Smitz, late of this place.