Each page of the book is a single sentence that describes a different short story. However, each description has one word that is not accurate, which are bolded below.
|A banker gambles with a librarian.
|At a train station in Spain a man from England and a woman discuss an operation and the resemblance of geography to animals.
|HILLS LIKE WHITE ELEPHANTS
|Young woman hires a detective to investigate the death of her niece and discovers a spotted venomous snake planted at the estate by her greedy doctor stepfather from India.
|THE ADVENTURE OF THE SPECKLED BAND
|Russian barber amputates genitals and hijinks ensue.
|In the private cellars underneath an ongoing festival two drunken men attend a tea tasting that leaves one trapped below.
|THE CASK OF AMONTILLADO
|Townspeople select a sacrifice by drawing marked pieces of hair.
|In the upstairs mailroom of a mansion a lady loses her mind and obsesses over the colorful decor.
|THE YELLOW WALLPAPER
|An Irish artist watches snow during Christmas.
|WWII soldier belatedly finds a misplaced communiqué — he discovers a girl he met at the tavern once has sent him a meaningful letter and talisman.
|FOR ESMÉ-WITH LOVE AND SQUALOR
|A deranged man murders his elderly neighbor — driven insane by the inescapable sound of tambourine beats.
|THE TELL-TALE HEART
|A Southern family takes a roadtrip to Edinburgh but the grandmother recognizes a dangerous criminal and gets her family killed.
|A GOOD MAN IS HARD TO FIND
|A mongoose protects a garden — bravely saving a little baby — after rabbits get angry.
|Computer steals poetry and commits suicide.
Taking the first letters of the incorrect words in the story descriptions, we read the phrase LENGTH MATTERS. It also turns out that the sentences have the same number of words as the number of letters (matching dashes, ignoring spaces) in the story titles. Finding the letter in each story title which corresponds to the index of the incorrect word results in TWENTY YEAR NAP, which clues the short story RIP VAN WINKLE.
|Story Title (sans spaces)