Synopsis of The Cop Killer
When he returns home to his morning errands Archie finds two visitors waiting for him at the entrance: Carl and Tina Vardas, who work in the barbershop that Wolfe and Archie frequent. Jacob Wallen, a police detective, had visited the barbershop earlier in the day to interrogate employees about his whereabouts the night before. After having questioned Carl and Tina separately, they flee for fear of being deported to their native Russia. Archie puts them in the front room, tells Wolfe about their arrival and goes to the store.
Several police officers, including Sergeant Purley Stebbins, are already there when he arrives, and Inspector Cramer arrives shortly after. Wallen has been found dead in the manicure cubicle, stabbed in the back with scissors. While waiting for a shave, Archie learns that Wallen had been investigating a hit-and-run accident, performed with a stolen car, the night before. Two women were killed. As Carl and Tina fled, suspicions fall upon them. Janet Stahl, the manicure, dramatically states that she killed Wallen, but Archie doesn’t believe her.
After finishing his shave, Archie returns home and finds Wolfe having lunch with Carl and Tina. A new interrogation of the couple reveals that none of them know how to drive, which is enough in Archie’s mind to free them from guilt.
Wolfe surprises everyone by showing up at the barbershop for a haircut and asking about his usual hairdresser, Jimmie Kirk. When Jimmie starts working, Wolfe addresses the group with the deductions he has made about Wallen’s death.