The Theory and the Hound (Henry)

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The Theory and the Hound
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A sheriff from Kentucky traveled to an island to arrest a man for murdering his wife, using his observation of the suspect's behavior towards animals to identify the culprit.

J.P. Bridger, a United States consul on the island of Ratona, shared a story about a peculiar incident that took place on the island. Ratona was a small, peaceful island where people lived a simple life. One day, a man named Taylor Plunkett, a sheriff from Chatham County, Kentucky, arrived on the island with extradition papers for a man named Wade Williams, who was accused of murdering his wife two years prior.

J. P. Bridger — narrator; United States consul on the island of Ratona; enjoys shooting alligators.
Taylor Plunkett — sheriff of Chatham County, Kentucky; heavy, slow-moving, sunburned; mild, patient, and observant.

Bridger introduced Plunkett to the only two Americans on the island, Bob Reeves and Henry Morgan, both of whom were in the coconut business. Plunkett had a description of Williams but no photograph, and the description seemed to fit both Reeves and Morgan. Plunkett announced his intention to arrest Williams and take him back to Kentucky, but he was unsure which of the two men was the culprit.

Bob Reeves — one of the two American cocoanut growers on Ratona; jovial, quick-witted, and broad-gauged.
Henry Morgan — the other American cocoanut grower on Ratona; friendly, intelligent, and protective of animals.

During a dinner with the two suspects, Plunkett tried to determine which man was Williams. Both Reeves and Morgan joked about the situation and offered to go with Plunkett, but the sheriff remained determined to identify the right man. At one point, a dog entered the room and Plunkett kicked it viciously.

Hound-lover and woman-killer! Get ready to meet your God.

Morgan reacted angrily to the mistreatment of the animal, and Plunkett quickly handcuffed him, declaring that he had found the woman-killer.

When asked how he knew Morgan was the guilty party, Plunkett explained that in his experience, men who were overly fond of animals tended to be cruel to women. This observation led him to believe that Morgan was the man he was looking for, and he successfully extradited him back to Kentucky to face justice for his crimes.