W. W. Jacobs was best known for his humorous tales of sailors, often related by his most popular and enduring character: The night-watchman on the wharf in Wapping, recounting the preposterous adventures of his acquaintances Ginger Dick, Sam Small, and Peter Russet.
These three characters, pockets full after a long voyage, would take lodgings together determined to enjoy a long spell ashore; but the crafty inhabitants of dockland London would soon relieve them of their funds, assisted by the sailors' own fecklessness and credulity.
In this story, Sam Small meets a man in a pub who claims to be a detective in need of a sailor to help him catch a pickpocket. Ginger Dick and Peter Russet point out that the whole plot is a set-up which will result in Sam being robbed himself. Sam refuses to listen to them, so Ginger and Peter decide to take matters into their own hands...