After a burglary, he smashed two others; Hudson had sold that to a Dr. Barnicot, at the doctor’s house and branch office. The bandit did not take anything else and made bust outside before breaking in it, in the former case.
Holmes understands that Lestrade’s assumption about a Napoleon-hating demented must be incorrect. The busts in the case all originated from the same model. Why is he cracking them?
The next day, Lestrade summons Holmes to a residence where there has been yet another statue-shattering, but also a murder. Mr. Horace Harker found a dead guy in his doorway after examining a noise.
His Napoleon bust was also taken by a burglar entering through a window. It, too, was from the same model.
They also find a photo of a somewhat apish-looking individual in the deceased man’s pocket.
The pieces of Harker's bust are in the front yard of a vacant house up the road. Obviously, the criminal wanted to see what he was doing. There is a streetlamp in the place and the needed it.
Holmes tells Lestrade to inform Harker, a reporter for the Central Press Syndicate, that he is sure that the offender is a lunatic. Holmes wants to use the newspapers to influence the criminal that this is what the detectives believe.
Holmes questions the two storekeepers who sold the sculptures and discovers whom they were traded to, and where they were manufactured, Gelder & Co.
A some of his informants also recognize the apish person in the picture. They recognize him as Beppo, an Italian foreigner. He even worked in the store where the first bust had been broken, having left his work there only two days before.
Holmes goes to Gelder & Co. and discovers that the statues were part of a lot of six, but other than that, the supervisor can conceive no motive that they should be unique, or why anybody would want to ruin them.
He remembers Beppo’s photo and describes him as a crook. He had been imprisoned for a street fight stabbing a year before but has likely is on the lose now.
He once was an employee at Gelder & Co. and his cousin still works there. Holmes urges the manager not to speak to the cousin regarding Beppo.
That night, Lestrade brings news that the dead guy has been recognized as Pietro Venucci, a Mob man. Lestrade supposes that Venucci was sent to eliminate Beppo, but wound up deceased himself. Why?