"The building is a three-story tenement," the detective began, "typical of that area. There are two storefronts on the street level, with entrances on either side of the staircase and the front stoop. The storefront on the left is a restaurant, apparently closed for renovations. The storefront on the right is divided. The front area is a darkroom, used by one of the women in the building. She shares the space with two other photographers who live on the block. The rear area is used for storage by the restaurant."
"How did you approach the building?"
"I decided to say I was a reporter, from an alternative paper in the city. I had some business cards made up in advance. The front door was closed, but not locked. Inside, I saw a small table, where mail for the tenants was spread out. There weren't any mailboxes."
"So, you learned the names of the tenants."
"Yes, three of them. Zoe Alexander, Ashley Dawn, and PF DeVoe. I learned later that the fourth woman is called Willie, and I believe her real first name is Wilhelmina."
"No mail for the restaurant?"
"No. The restaurant door has a mail slot, so I assume their mail goes there."
"Logical. Please continue."
I was thinking that he had been lucky, probably luckier than he knew, since mail delivery in U-town was usually on an irregular schedule at best. This must have been a day when a backlog of mail was delivered all at once, and the tenants hadn't picked it up yet (or at least three of them hadn't).
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