"To read a poem in January is as lovely as to go for a walk in June." - Jean-Paul Sartre
You are an NYPD detective who has been given a new case, and you've just been briefed on the disappearance of artist Russell Vapors. The captain has called you into his office to explain the new development in this previously-considered dead end case.
Lower East Side, NYC, May, 2011:
"Good afternoon, Detective. Did you get a chance to review all of the files? Good. Now here's the new development which I'm hoping will revive this case."
He continues, "As you saw in the file, 3 months after the disappearance, the landlord requested that we remove Vapors' possessions so that he could renovate the apartment and put it back on the market. As he was working on the renovations, he noticed something that our men obviously missed. Look at this picture below, taken at the time that we first inspected the apartment ... do you notice anything unusual?"
"No, I just see a painting on the wall," you reply, and then: "Am I supposed to see something in the painting that gives me a clue?"
"No," replied the captain, "but I'm glad you're thinking along those lines, as you're going to need to interpret some abstract art soon enough. Look now at the wall, see the spot above the radiator near the lower right of the painting? See that somewhat bumpy strip? It seems our man Russell Vapors had placed sheetrock over an existing window and did a somewhat poor job of taping and priming it."
The captain continues, "The landlord promptly removed the sheetrock, not only because it was poorly installed, but also because it was a fire hazard. It covered a window that opened to an air shaft that allowed for a fire escape in case the tenant couldn't exit out the door or the front windows. The air shaft is very narrow and fully-enclosed, so it's not like it provided much light and certainly not a view. But it did provide a hiding spot for our Mr. Vapors to attach a bundled package outside of the window, it's tied with rope and then secured to a screw that he inserted into the window frame which was then covered by the sheetrock."
The captain continued, "We took this picture before removing the package from the wall, we needed to document the location for evidence in case the positioning became relevant somehow."
You explain, "It's clear that he expected his apartment to be searched at some point, and so he hid this package outside. But wouldn't you think that he'd be concerned about the tenant whose window is directly across from his, having some curiosity about this package?"
"We thought so too," replied the captain, "so we spoke to that tenant right after the discovery of the package. She's a bit of a mystery herself, she works nights and so she's asleep during the day. Vapors must have known this and knew she wouldn't be looking out the window during the day, and it would be too dark to spot it at night. We asked some other tenants about this woman, and no one knew her either. The only comment that several people made was that they heard her playing jazz music late at night almost every night, perhaps before she left for work. I'm not sure what to make of this, but we're keeping her on the short list of persons of interest."
"All right," you reply, "but what about the package? What's in it?"
"A bunch of sketchbooks," the captain answered. "But considering how much art was inside the apartment, there must be something different about these sketchbooks for him to have hidden them outside a window. This will be your next step - I'll get you the key to the evidence room. I want you to look through this package and see if it gives us any understanding as to why he suddenly disappeared."
Please note: Here's the Project M.A.R.V. file for your reference. As we mentioned in Episode 1, it has the initial report on the case, but now you can also check the file again for updates that have been entered by the captain since the conclusion of episode 1. Make yourself familiar with the background info to help you solve this mystery.