3AM, May 26, 1896.
Walter Wilson, Turner Junction town constable, dreams vividly of the Civil War. His dreams are interrupted by Jacob Kress pitching pieces of gravel at his window. Jacob tells Walter of a young hobo who has been killed at the local rail yards. Walter has to draw up an accident report. At the yards Walter recognizes the victim, but says nothing about it for deeply personal reasons. Missing is an object in a case the size of an elongated bread box which Walter knows the hobo had in his possession. Walter makes his report, and goes home to Helen, his unmarried daughter, and his grandson, who the town thinks is Helen’s illegitimate son.
Although Walter lives in a railroad town, he has a train phobia that makes him wish he were mushing huskies in Saskatchewan every time he hears the announcement “All abooooard!”
Local priest Father Ambrose Renaitre interrupts Walter’s dreams at 2AM on the new-fangled telephone with the news that the hobo, recently buried in the cemetery across the street from the parsonage, has been dug up.
A drifter comes to Turner, rents out the upstairs room of Walter’s house, and develops a friendship with Helen Wilson which bothers Walter almost as much as trains do. Under the drifter’s bed is the case which Walter had expected the dead hobo to have.
Sometime later, before sundown, at a local tavern, the daughter of the tavern keeper overhears a conversation at a table. She tells her father, who checks the men’s wagon and finds picks, shovels and a tarpaulin. The events that follow become known locally as "Richard's Riot."
This isn't a hook, it's a series of events. There's no suspense left.