This is an onion. It's a metaphor for a news story.Only a few hours ago I was standing on a ledge sixty stories above astreet interviewing a man who subsequently jumped to his death. Forty million dollars in the bank, happily married, good health. Great story! There's gotta be more. We're pros, right? Some kinda extramarital hanky panky, maybe? Another good story! Maybe the guy's been accused of child molesting. Terrific story! Then it turns out the accusation was false. Wonderful! More story. Maybe the alleged mistress was lying, setting the guy up. Sensational story! We keep going, keep digging, keep investigating. We expose the guy's whole life, his family. Why? Because we're pros! Because... we're looking for the truth! But what if, after all our digging, after all our painstaking investigation, what if it turns out there wasn't any truth? Just stories! One story after another, one layer, then another layer, until there's nothing left. And if it's like that, do we have any obligation to stop at any point? Or do we just keep going, digging, digging, digging, peeling, peeling, peeling, until we've peeled it all away, until we've destroyed what we were investigating in the first place?
Indeed, I have found that it is usually in unimportant matters that there is a field for the observation, and for the quick analysis of cause and effect which gives the charm to an investigation. The larger crimes are apt to be the simpler, for the bigger the crime the more obvious, as a rule, is the motive.