Synopsis of Fourth of July Picnic
A restaurant workers’ union is having a Fourth of July picnic in a remote meadow on Long Island. Time has been set aside during the afternoon for a few speeches from prominent figures in the restaurant business, and also one from Nero Wolfe. Wolfe has been the trustee for Rusterman’s Restaurant since the death of his old friend Marko Vukcic, and because the restaurant is so highly regarded the union wants Wolfe to speak. As an added inducement, the union has also promised to stop trying to get Fritz, Wolfe’s personal chef, to join.
Wolfe and Archie arrive at the meadow and work their way through a tent to a raised platform from which the speakers will address the thousands of union members. One of the organizers, Phil Holt, has eaten some bad snails and is lying in misery on a cot in the tent. He has been seen by a doctor but is too weak to participate in the festivities. He is shivering and Wolfe tells Archie to tie the tent flap closed, to help stop the draft blowing through.
One by one, as the scheduled speakers address the throng, those on the speakers’ platform go back into the tent to see to Holt. Eventually Wolfe goes to check on Holt and shortly calls to Archie to join him. Holt is dead, lying on the cot, covered by a blanket that conceals the knife in his back.
It is Wolfe’s habit, when he is away from home and confronted by a murder, to tell Archie to take him back to the brownstone immediately, before the police arrive. It is Archie’s habit to refuse and he does so now, pointing out that they would simply be hauled back to Long Island. Wolfe concedes the point and returns to the platform to deliver his speech.
Synopsis taken from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_of_July_Picnic