Joe Friday and partner, Frank Smith are just finishing up with a case, and talk about Frank’s home life. He is having woman troubles after forgetting Valentine’s Day. Friday isn’t much help in the advice department, but at least offers a sympathetic ear. Their conversation is interupted by a call to investigate a robbery that turned into murder of a store clerk.
At the scene, it is clear that the .38 caliber slug killed the clerk, passed through his body, but can’t be found on the scene. Other local store workers don’t offfer up much more help, but a doctor who treated a bullet wound has information that sends Friday and Smith to a residence to question a housewife.
The woman’s husband has been out of town all week at a sales convention. She has a photo that Joe takes, and the doctor uses it to identify the man. After just a moment of confusion, he points out that it was the housewife’s brother, not her husband.
It doesn’t take much to track down the errant young man. Once questioned, he tries to deny his activity, but is soon becomes clear that he was involved, and what his part in the murder was.
Note: This situation sounds very familiar, but different. There was an episode not long ago where Friday was on the trail of a young married couple, but the doer turned out to be the younger brother of the wife. There was even a mix up over a jacket. In that one though it was a set of contact lenses that cracked the case, instead of the missing .38 slug.