Holmes helps Inspector Hopkins investigate the murder of 'Black' Peter Carey, a drunken, aggressive ex-sailor, harpooned to death in his log cabin in the woods. Peter seems to have known his killer as he had been drinking with them. A tobacco pouch with the initials P.C. is found but Carey did not smoke. A book with the initials J.H.N. leads Hopkins to arrest John Neligan, who was certainly in the cabin at some time but Holmes reckons he was too feeble a man to wield a harpoon. So who is P.C?
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