Standing in the abandoned kitchen of John Wright and Minnie Foster (Mrs. Wright), George Henderson offers the two women to warm up around the stove like everyone else. Mrs. Peters, the sheriff’s wife turns down the invitation and remains to stand by the door with Mrs. Martha Hale.
Mr. Henderson, who is the county attorney, gets right down to business. He asks Mr. Hale what he had seen the day before. He also confirms with the sheriff, Mr. Peters, that nothing in the farmhouse had been moved.
Mr. Hale started his story and got off track a few times. He told Mr. Henderson how Harry, the Hales’ oldest boy, and himself were on their way to deliver potatoes and decided to stop by the farmhouse so that he could talk to Mr. Wright. When he knocked on the door, he wasn’t sure if he had heard a voice inviting him in or not. He went ahead and opened the door to see Mrs. Wright sitting in her rocking chair. Mr. Hale asked her if he could see Mr. Wright. She replied that he was lying upstairs, dead, with a rope around his neck. Mr. Hale didn’t know how to react to her statement, so he just asked her who had killed him. Mrs. Wright said she didn’t know. Thinking that he may need help, Mr. Hale called in Harry from outside and they both went upstairs. After seeing Mr. Wight dead, Harry went down the road and called the sheriff. Mrs. Wright just kept rocking in her chair.
So, the attorney’s murder investigation continued, with Mr. Hale and the sheriff following. They first snooped around the kitchen for evidence, criticizing the sloppiness. Next, the men went upstairs and left the women standing in the kitchen. The men trusted the ladies downstairs by themselves since one of them was the sheriff’s wife, or “married to the law” as the attorney put it.
While the men were upstairs, the two women began to uncover who the killer was and their motives. The kitchen was a mess. Everything was half done. Mrs. Hale doesn’t like to leave things unfinished and remembering how she was interrupted in the middle of her cooking to come to the farmhouse and how she left everything unfinished, she realized that something must have interrupted Mrs. Wright. First, they found an empty birdcage with the door broken at the hinges and then start to make up stories about what could have happened to the bird that was inside. Mrs. Peters found a quilt that Mrs. Wright was sewing and informed Mrs. Hale. They both decided that it would be nice to bring it to her while she was being held in jail so that she could pass the time. Looking for cloth, they looked in Mrs. Wright’s sewing basket and picked up a red piece they saw lying there. Under it, they find a small box. Upon opening it, there was a small item rapped in a piece of silk. It was the dead bird. The bird’s neck had been wrung, just like Mr. Wright’s.
Mrs. Hale told Mrs. Peters that Mr. Wright had never liked any singing. He had stopped Mrs. Wight from singing, too. So the women drew the conclusion that Mr. Wright had killed the bird. That was Mrs. Wright’s motive for killing her husband. She killed him the same way he had killed her bird. Neither one of the women knew what to do at this point, whether to tell the men or not. They thought the men might laugh at them.
The women then heard the county attorney say that without any evidence to make up a story with, the jury will probably let Mrs. Wright go free since she is a woman. So they decided to keep the story to themselves and hide the bird.