Case of the Torrid Tapestry
Its subject is Theseus and the Minotaur. It has survived a fire in Rio de Janeiro, and brings to light a bronze Buddha from the same collection, also supposedly burned.
The fire was set on orders from the collector, but his factotum saved everything, The latter’s assistant was imprisoned for arson, but wove the tapestry during his incarceration to draw out the truth, it’s a copy of one that was thought lost in the fire. In an amusing touch, the assistant’s sister pawns it because her brother owes her three months rent.
The collector is made to admit his crime, having killed his factotum over the duplicity. He’s glad to see his collection unscathed, in spite of himself.
“As good almost kill a man as kill a good book: who kills a man kills a reasonable creature, God’s image; but he who destroys a good book, kills reason itself, kills the image of God, as it were in the eye.” (Milton)
The Case of the Jealous
The Los Angeles Chronicle is in a fight for its existence over a city development project. A slumlord tries to gain control and shift the project away from his slums to other property he owns. His two-pronged approach is to bid for the paper outright through one of his companies, and lend the publisher money with stock as collateral.
Mason exposes his double-dealing on the witness stand during the publisher’s trial for the murder of an ex-fiancée in the art department, a stockholder of dubious intent.