Fitz receives a telegram marked “urgent” from a mother looking for her lost child. The woman’s name is Mary Longman of Innsmouth. Seeing in this the possibility of a monetary reward, Fitz gathers Marabelle, Sam, and his assistant Landers and all head for the Timbleton Arms apartments in Arkham. There, they find an attractive looking woman who appears to be in her early thirties, and it turns out that the case isn’t exactly what it appeared to be. The “child” in question, Mark Longman (his name at birth), is in his early twenties. It seems that Ms. Longman gave birth to him at age 17, and her parents persuaded her to give him up for adoption. She is evasive when confronted as to the identity of the father, and in fact seems to want minimal questions asked regarding the circumstances of the birth. She offers the reward, and after some bargaining, the group splits up. Marabelle, and Fitz head to Innsmouth to talk to the attending physician (Dr. Rowly Marsh) and Samuel and Landers meet up with Ellie, who as it happened was already in Arkham studying at the Miskatonic library, to see if the local newspaper has any information regarding the adoption or the Longman family. The inquiry at the newspaper proves fruitless, even after a large bribe from Samuel, and so he and Landers head back to Boston to gather some supplies for a stay in Innsmouth.
Fitz and Marabelle visit the office of Dr. Rowly Marsh. They ask him if he specifically remembers the birth of Mark Longman, and he has a vague recollection of it but nothing stood out. He allowed them to go through his birth records, where they found the chart for Mark Longman, born in March of 1901, and the mother is listed as Mary Longman, with no father’s name included. The child was born at home, and so an address was listed on the birth record. Dr. Marsh verified that the child was given up for adoption, but explained that he did not have any record of that process and suggested that they check town hall. He claimed not to have seen Mark around or spoken with him since the birth.
Fitz and Marabelle find suitable lodgings in Innsmouth: a run down hotel called the Gilman House. They seem to be a topic of interest among the locals, met with glares and a general unfriendly attitude. They also notice that the inhabitants seem to have a similar look about them, as though they were all related, and rough, scaly skin about the neck. Mr. Charles Gilman, the night clerk at the hotel, shows them to adjoining rooms. They also secure rooms for Samuel and Landers. The doors don’t bolt properly. Landers and Samuel arrive later that night, find the hotel, and inform the others that Ellie would join them the next day.
Ellie makes it to Innsmouth on time, and they all meet for breakfast at the Innsmouth Cafe to share information and form a game plan. They decide to form two groups again, sending Fitz and Ellie to Town Hall and Sam and Marabelle to the Longman house as listed on the birth document they found at Dr. Marsh’s office.
When Sam and Marabelle arrive, they find the place deserted and run down. They asked some neighbors about the Longman family, and are told that Mary’s parents were named John and Andrea. John was a fisherman, the main trade in the town of Innsmouth. The house was abandoned around 1910. According to the neighbor, the fishing trade in Innsmouth began to lapse around that time, and many families lost their homes as a result.
Meanwhile, at Town Hall, Fitz and Ellie speak with Eustis Eliot, the desk clerk there. She seems as unfriendly and unyielding as the rest of the town (and resistant to the offer of a bribe), but enigmatically changes her tune when the name Mary Longman is mentioned. She becomes friendly and helpful, and shows them to the records room. Their search produces interesting results: the birth certificate of an Andrea Longman née Whateley is found, date of birth listed as 31 December, 1825. They do not find a death certificate. Further searching finds a birth and death certificate for a John Longman, born 2 February, 1821, and the death certificate is dated in 1859 of “natural causes”. They also find the birth certificate of Mary Longman, dated 31 August, 1855, all of which seems to contradict Ms. Longman’s and Dr. Marsh’s assertions that she was seventeen at the time of her son’s birth. They also find adoption papers for Mark Longman, from March of 1901 by Mr. and Mrs. Allen and Annette March, along with an address. Fitz remarks that these records ought to be sealed, and wonders why they were given such easy access to them. As they leave, they encounter Ms. Eliot once again and Fitz asks her whether she knows anything about the Marches. She informs them that when Allen passed away, Annette went to live with her sister in Arkham. She knows nothing about Mark’s whereabouts. Ellie departs to meet with the others at the appointed time, and Fitz stays and does one more search under the name “March”, and turns up a death certificate for Allen, who passed away in 1904 of a “misadventure”.
The group meets for lunch, exchanges information, and splits up into groups again. Sam and Ellie decide to go ask around at the Docks, to see if anybody knew the Marches or the Longmans, since both were fishermen. Fitz and Marabelle decide to go back to Dr. Marsh’s office.
At the docks, Sam and Ellie are met with that same unfriendly attitude by most of the fishermen and workers there. They do manage to speak with a Dewy Smith, who is in his late thirties and moved to Innsmouth about twenty years ago. He does remember the Marches, and explains that Allen died when a sudden storm hit and he fell overboard and became entangled in a fishing net, which is a common fishing accident. He does not know the Longmans.
Fitz and Marabelle find that Dr. Marsh is not in his office, and so return to the Town Hall, where Ms. Eliot is working once again. She remembers Fitz, and allows them to search the records room again. They cannot find any record of Annette March or her sister, Jane. They learn that Dr. Marsh’s grandfather, Captain Obed Marsh, was one of the town’s founders. They are given Dr. Marsh’s home address andthey go there to look for him. At the home, a woman answers the door and agrees to have Dr. Marsh meet the allegedly ill investigators back at his office. At the office, Dr. Marsh claims to not recall having seen the investigators the previous day, and denies any knowledge of the Marches.
When the group meets back up to exchange their experiences, they decide to head back to Arkham to see if they can dig up any further information there. Ellie goes back to the Harriet Botsford Hotel for Women, where she had been staying to see to her lodgings, and Fitz and Marabelle head to a local hotel to see about rooms for the rest of the group.
Meanwhile, Sam goes to the Arkham police station to speak with Detective Mickey Harrigan. Harrigan knows nothing about the adoption, and suggests that Sam speak with Detective Ray Stuckie, who was not in the office at the time. Sam decides to speak with Captain William Keats, who knows that Annette March’s sister, Jane, is married to Thomas Jefferies, who owns a successful stationary store. He also tells Sam that Mrs. March passed away shortly after moving to Arkham with her adopted son, who was then raised by the Jefferies.
Fitz calls his employer to ask for an advance. When she did not want to provide it and began asking him questions about their progress, he asked her about the contradictory information on her parents’ death certificates and her own birth certificate. She denies knowledge of her parents’ deaths and claims that her own birth certificate was incorrect, that she was born in 1884. Fitz argues with her, and she decides that she does not like the way that this increasingly expensive relationship is progressing and fires Fitz. Later, he stops by Ms. Longman’s apartment building to drop off his expenses for the work he had done for her and receive payment. Ms. Longman won’t see him, and the desk clerk goes up to discuss the matter with her and returns a half an hour later with a payment of $40 (significantly less than the $100 in expenses he had incurred).
Sam takes Landers to stake out the Jefferies’ home. Their view inside is slightly obstructed, but they judge that there are at least two people in residence. Movement within stopped between 10 PM and 7 AM. At 8 AM, a man, presumably Thomas Jefferies, leaves the house to head to his stationary store. A younger man, presumably Mark, leaves shortly thereafter, walking in the direction of Miskatonic University.
When they all meet to exchange information, they decide that Ellie will go to Miskatonic University to try and find information on Mark, Sam and Fitz would head to the stationary shop owned by Thomas Jefferies, and Marabelle and Landers will observe Mary Longman.
At Miskatonic U., Ellie learns that Mark is in his second year of college, focusing on history and social science. He is active and well known on campus.
Marabelle and Landers observe Ms. Longman leaving her apartment building at around 1 PM for a solitary lunch. From there, she goes to the public library and researches local history. After some reading, she leaves the library for her apartment building. They see a “seedy looking character” enter after her, then leave thirty minutes later. They decide to follow him. He leads them to an apartment building on Sentinel St. (which is a bad neighborhood).
Sam and Fitz meet Thomas Jeffries at the stationary shop. The investigators are forthcoming with all the information that has been gathered regarding Mark. Mr. Jefferies is dismissive of any perceived danger, and says that it’s up to Mark to decide whether he wants to meet his birth mother. The investigators leave Jeffries their business cards, in case he wishes to contact them.
The next thing Sam and Fitz will do is to call Ms. Longman and impersonate the local private detective, Kenneth Heath, and arrange a meeting between her and Mark.