Synopsis of The Zero Clue
Leo Heller, a math expert who uses his knowledge in probabilities to help his clients with their problems, wants to hire Wolfe for a difficult case.
Heller believes that one of his clients may have committed a crime, but he does not want to tell the police about his suspicions without evidence to support him. Wolfe refuses the job, recalling a past incident in which he lost a client to Heller, but Archie offers to go the next day for a preliminary discussion.
The next morning, Archie goes to Heller’s office at the agreed time, but finds it empty and with the door open. He looks at several pencils that are arranged in a particular way on the desk forming two groups. Then he goes to the waiting room and asks the five customers who are there if any of them have seen Heller, but everyone says no.
That night, Inspector Cramer arrives at Wolfe’s house with the news that Heller has been found dead, locked in his office closet with a shot in the heart. Investigation on Heller’s movements suggests that he was killed shortly before Archie entered the office.
Cramer demands to know Wolfe’s participation in the case for two reasons. First, they found an envelope on Heller’s desk, with Wolfe’s name and containing $ 500 in cash. Second, the pencils, whose disposition tries to repeat. Archie corrects him, tearing the eraser out of a pencil and placing it in the center, between the two groups of pencils. Cramer is convinced that they represent Wolfe’s initials although the W would have a pencil left over.
Wolfe rejects these claims, keeps the $ 500 and asks Cramer to bring Heller’s five clients and Susan Maturo, a woman who had left Heller’s building just as Archie entered.
Synopsis taken from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Zero_Clue