"sick and tired of all these mysterious murders, these detectives' artful ruses, the phenomenal quick-wittedness of investigating magistrates."
The particular story under consideration is called The Shooting Party, and eventually the Editor agrees to read it, telling Kamyshev to come back in three months' time during which he'll make his decision. What follows is the story-within-the-story, as the Editor offers Kamyshev's story for the reader's "perusal" after reading it, assuring that it is "a page-turner." That it is, and it begins as the local magistrate, here named Sergey Petrovich Zinovyev, goes to visit his old friend Count Alexei Karneyev at his country estate that has for some time been in a state of decline. Karneyev's world is largely defined by debauchery, and Zinovyev is quickly sucked in to that space of drinking and partying, where an orgy is not an unusual event. But the estate is also where Sergey Petrovich meets the beautiful Olenka, daughter of the forester Skvortsov, now living in a state of madness from perpetual drinking, and is immediately drawn to this "girl in red." The problem is that the same is true of Urbenin, a widower with two children serving as Karneyev's estate manager, and the Count himself. Olenka, who has "aristocratic pretensions," surprises everyone with the news that she has agreed to marry Urbenin, setting off a chain of events that will end in murder one fine day during a shooting party on the estate. Motives are plenty, as are suspects, but the question of the actual murderer has to wait until the very end.