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Saturday, 6 May 2017

The Terrible Old Bookshop

The Terrible Old Bookshop is situated on Darker Street. The once green (or perhaps grey) paintwork is peeling, the windows are filthy. Inside, the shelves are stacked high with dusty books, more are in heaps on the floor and in rotting cardboard boxes. It will take several hours of careful searching to realise that there is nothing of interest to investigators. There are, however, plenty of novels by Ethel M Dell and Marie Corelli, school texts on geometry, Latin grammar, and other such.

The proprietor sits on a high stool behind a small counter, bent over a large leather covered volume. He appears to be in his thirties and is strikingly handsome in a Saturnine way. He has a neat goatee beard and if he was an actor he could make a career out of playing the devil.

As strangers approach he hurriedly stuffs his book under the counter. He will answer no questions about the book and will refuse to let investigators see it.

Breaking into the shop is quite easy and is the only way to gain access to the books. Behind the counter are two books, Magna Mysteriis and Mysteriis Mundi. They are handwritten in an unrecognisable script. Also behind the counter is a cupboard with a good, strong, lock.

The proprietor is very furtive when he leaves the shop, taking a devious and tortuous route that doubles back several times. A careful investigator will be able to tail the man until he lets himself into a house on Coven Lane.


1 The two books are written in English using an alphabet of the shopkeepers own devising. Given time, it can be cracked. One is a racy, partially fictitious novel, the other a diary and ideas book. The house on Coven Lane belongs to a married lady who supplies him with practical experience to write his novel.

2 The locked cupboard contains hard-core pornography. The books are ledgers containing accounts and the house on Coven Lane is a place where young children are kept after being abducted. The children are sold to various unsavoury individuals throughout the country. They are never seen again.

3 The books are occult tomes, rare, original copies. The proprietor is compiling several lesser works (kept in the cupboard) into one big volume. The house on Coven Lane is a meeting for a group of black magicians. Currently they are harmless, with only the proprietor knowing of the power of the occult. That might change, in time.

© Peter F Jeffery

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