Synopsis of Murder is Corny
Inspector Cramer comes to Wolfe’s front door unannounced and unexpectedly on a Tuesday evening in September, carrying a carton of freshly picked corn. This corn is normally provided by a farmer named Duncan McLeod up in Putnam County. Cramer has many questions about the death of Kenneth Faber, a part-time helper of McLeod’s who should have delivered the corn much earlier that day, along with 9 other similar cartons to Rusterman’s Restaurant. The Rusterman was previously owned and run by Wolfe’s childhood friend Marko Vukčič, but now in trusteeship to Wolfe under the terms of Marko’s will (for the circumstances of Marko’s death see The Black Mountain).
Archie Goodwin, who answered the door, tells Cramer he has met Faber briefly only, since he has been delivering Duncan’s corn for the past 5 weeks, which Wolfe (and Rusterman’s) order according to exacting standards. However, Archie knows that Faber likes Duncan’s daughter Susan McLeod. Faber is actually a free-lance cartoonist, but prevailed on his friend to have her father give him a job at the farm. Later on, it transpires that real motive was not the extra money but the chance to see Sue on weekends.
Meanwhile, Wolfe, in an apparent disdain for Archie’s situation, unpacks the carton of corn right on his desk. Then informs Cramer that the corn is substandard: of the 16 ears of corn, 8 are substandard, 8 are acceptable.
Cramer asks Archie for an alibi for certain times in the afternoon just past. Archie says that he was with Saul Panzer (a long-time Wolfe operative, but independent) at a ball game at Yankee Stadium. Cramer discounts the alibi saying Panzer would lie for Archie and Wolfe.
Eventually it develops that Susan McLeod found Faber’s dead body, skull smashed in at the loading bay of Rusterman’s, in the time in question, and has given a statement saying she had arranged to meet Archie there.
On the strength of her statement, Cramer takes him in as a material witness, with a hint that the charge will be escalated to first-degree murder soon.
Synopsis taken from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_Is_Corny