Synopsis of Home to Roost
Benjamin and Pauline Rackell hire Wolfe to investigate the death of their nephew Arthur, paying him a bail of $ 3,000. Arthur had begun to show growing support for the Communist Party, but he confided to Pauline that he had been recruited by the FBI to infiltrate the group’s organization in New York. During dinner, he took a box of pills from his pocket, put it on the table and took out one of the vitamin capsules inside. Minutes later he was dead poisoned with cyanide. The other capsules in the box were harmless. Therefore, Pauline insists that one of the other five dinner guests had to find out Arthur’s relationship with the FBI and place the poisoned capsule in the box while he was not paying attention.
Archie visits both the local FBI office and Manhattan Homicides but doesn’t get any useful information. At Wolfe’s request, he organizes a meeting in the office with the Rackells and dinner guests. Of these, Ormond Leddegard, Fifi Goheen, Della Devlin, Henry Jameson Heath, Carol Berk, only Heath is known for having links with the Communist Party. Wolfe asks the group about dinner and the pillbox.
The next day, Archie hires Saul Panzer, Fred Durkin and Orrie Cather to keep Heath under constant surveillance and arranges for the Rackells to see Wolfe again. Wolfe tells them that he is convinced that there was an eyewitness to Arthur’s murder, and offers to find that person and get the truth for a fee of $ 20,000. Benjamin is not convinced, but Pauline is eager to accept the offer.