Zossimov is a young man of 27, well-dressed, with an imperious air. Zossimov examines Raskolnikov and determines that he is getting better, although he should continue to rest and avoid unnecessary agitation. Razumikhin reminds Zossimov of his housewarming party that night and expresses a desire that Raskolnikov be permitted to attend. Porfiry, a police inspector and investigator and distant relative of Razumikhin’s, has been invited, along with Zamyotov the clerk.
Without knowing it, Razumikhin gathers together those men who will become convinced of Raskolnikov’s guilt. Porfiry the inspector is a friend of Razumikhin’s and runs in the same society as Zamyotov the clerk and Zossimov the doctor. Razumikhin tries to protect his friend, but in so doing he unwittingly guarantees that Raskolnikov will be caught.
Zossimov begins to criticize Zamyotov for “having an open palm” (being open to bribes), and Razumikhin interrupts to say he is defending the house-painters in the case of the old woman and Lizaveta. Raskolnikov is again disturbed at mention of the murder and turns on his sofa to face the wall. Razumikhin believes the house-painters are innocent, and that they have been unfairly accused by Koch and Pestryakov, the young officer.
Once again, Raskolnikov becomes extremely upset when the murder is brought up. This could be attributed to a nervous obsession with the case—caused by something else, perhaps by Raskolnikov’s exhaustion—but it eventually becomes clear to Razumikhin that Raskolnikov’s concern belies a deeper relationship to the deceased.
Zossimov asks why the painters are under suspicion. Razumikhin informs him that Mikolai, one of the painters, pawned off two gold earrings he claimed to have found “on the sidewalk” on the day of the murders. The man to whom he pawned them, Dushkin, heard of the murders and questioned him—Mikolai rain away, was later arrested, and even attempted to hang himself in police custody.
More information about the crime is made known. The two painters have been arrested on suspicion of the murders, especially since one has recently pawned an item belonging to the old woman. But Razumikhin is skeptical of the painters’ guilt.
Finally, after the investigators asked why Mikolai was afraid of the police if he was innocent of the murders, he said he’d initially lied: he found the earrings in the apartment they were painting, after having ducked outside during an argument with Mitka (Mitrei), the other painter. Raskolnikov sits up and asks where the earrings were found, realizing they must have fallen from his pockets when he hid from Koch and Pestryakov. Mikolai is still in custody for the murders, although Razumikhin believes in his innocence, since he knows further “psychological” evidence in their favor.
Raskolnikov understands what has happened. One of the painters found an item that dropped from Raskolnikov’s coat behind a wall in the freshly-painted apartment. Raskolnikov had not considered this complication in his plan, and he worries that the revelation of this detail will constitute one more piece of evidence against him.
Razumikhin claims that numerous witnesses attest to seeing the painters fighting in the building’s courtyard (this is the same squabble drawing the painters out of the apartment, allowing Raskolnikov to enter and hide). Razumikhin argues that their playful fighting is not in keeping with the horrible nature of the murder, which would have occurred just previously. He believes this evidence outweighs the disputable physical evidence the earrings appear to provide. Razumikhin deduces that the real murderer dropped the earrings while avoiding detection. Zossimov finds this explanation clever, “like a stage-play.”
The first instance of a distinction between “psychological” and “physical” evidence. Razumikhin claims that, psychologically speaking, it would make no sense for the painters to fight in this way after they had committed a terrible crime. Porfiry will later rely on psychological evidence to become convinced of Raskolnikov’s guilt, and to ask him for his confession.