Beacon Motel, nothing special about it, just a run of the mill place to stop for the night. One of the regular clients, an ordinary commercial rep who dealt in stationery - and graced with one of the commonest names you could have in an English-speaking country, John Smith - is found dead in room 103. Nick and Marvin, summoned to the crime scene, discover with the help of Bowmann that the victim was killed with a shot fired at very close range by a 22 caliber gun with a silenced barrel. But in life Smith was such a mild-mannered and kind person, methodical on the job, a man of few words: who could possibly have wanted him dead? Who could have nursed an interest in getting rid of an insignificant perfectly average man?