Nate the Great has his first night case! "Detective work is not fun and games, " Nate explains. "Detective work is dirty garbage cans instead of clean beds. Detective work is banana peels, dishrags, milk cartons, floor sweepings, cigar ashes, fleas, and me..." It's a tough case. Somebody is raiding Oliver's garbage can each night, but who? The list of suspects is long — Rosamond and Esmeralda, the girls down the street; Rosamond's cats; and all the shrews, moles skunks, birds, and racoons in the neighborhood. Nate couragousely encounters a skunk (nose first) and a telephone pole (head on), but not until he goes under cover of the garbage-can lid does he narrow the suspects down to one.