Our new Crime Fiction section

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In a strange literary twist on the classic locked room mystery, a Crime Fiction section has mysteriously appeared in Bury Place. NOW READ ON.

1.1. Int: London Review Bookshop (Upstairs). Day.

[It is early morning. Detective Inspector THURSDAY and Detective Constable MORSE are studying a bookshelf. THURSDAY is taking long drags on his pipe, in contravention of the no-smoking signs KELVIN has put up around the shop.]

MORSE: The Met aren’t going to like this, are they, sir? I mean, I don’t see how Thames Valley possibly has any jurisdiction in Bloomsbury.
THURSDAY: Yes, well, never mind that. I took the call, and Superintendent Cobnutt will have to answer to me. Who was first on the scene?
MORSE: That was Constable Strange, sir. He’s been on the case of a woman calling herself Ferrante, and was running down a lead when he found this.

[Behind the counter, heroic bookseller JOHN is putting the finishing touches to a 100000 word blogpost when he notices THURSDAY and MORSE.]

JOHN: Can I help you gents with anything?
MORSE: That depends. Do you know anything about opera?
JOHN: Let me call my colleague Charlie.

[CHARLIE emerges from the back staircase.]

MORSE: How about crosswords?
JOHN: David’s on his lunch at the moment, but he should be back in a minute.
THURSDAY: What about beer? There’s beer at the bottom of this case, Morse, I know it. It’s this old copper’s instinct.
JOHN: Let me just call Terry from the Cakeshop, we had a lovely Customer Evening where the refreshments were themed around homebrew. I was away but as I understand it was a great success.
MORSE: Do you know anything about a company calling itself Viking River Cruises?
THURSDAY: I thought we’d investigated that already and decided there was no mystery to a great river cruise.

[NATALIA comes up the stairs.]

NATALIA: What’s going on here?
THURSDAY: We’ve got some questions to ask about your crime fiction. Firstly, what’s happened to it?

[CUT suddenly to GAYLE, who has silently appeared behind the detectives.]

GAYLE: I think… I can answer that.

[CLOSE-UP of MORSE’S furrowed brow. It is clear his brain has switched into gear, and something has dawned on him.]

MORSE: You moved it, didn’t you?

[A long pause. GAYLE nods. The jig is up.]

MORSE: Moved it all, and with the extra room on the shelves, shuffled all the other books a bit closer together. But once you’d taken all the books off, that wasn’t enough, was it? You had to put them back again. Back…into the very same space you’d created by taking the books off the shelf in the first place. I suspect you put them before the As.

[KELVIN fastens a no-smoking sign to the bowl of THURSDAY’s pipe.]

THURSDAY: Gad, Morse, that’s fiendishly clever.
GAYLE: That’s about it, yes. But you were wrong about one thing, Morse.

[A tense moment.]

GAYLE: It wasn’t before the As – it was at the other end of the alphabet, after Stefan Zweig. I knew you’d never look there. You’re clever, Morse – but you’re a Michael Hofmann fan, and Hofmann fans are always predictable – in some ways.

[MORSE nods. At that moment, CLAIRE comes up the stairs with a round of tea, and the LIFT (containing all the cups she couldn’t carry) goes ‘ping’. A tragic mistake:]

THURSDAY: Look out Morse, she’s got a gun!

[THURSDAY pulls out his own TRUSTY LUGER and empties the whole chamber, variously, into the BOOKSELLERS, the TILL, the LIFT FULL OF TEA and the BOOKER LONGLIST TABLE. We CUT and resolve to a TRACKING SHOT over the bloodstained, but brand new, Crime Fiction Section. MORSE and THURSDAY make their excuses over the corpses and leave.]

MORSE: The Met aren’t going to like this, are they, sir? I mean, I don’t see how Thames Valley possibly has any jurisdiction in Bloomsbury.
THURSDAY: Yes, well, never mind that. I took the call, and Superintendent Cobnutt will have to answer to me. Who was first on the scene?

[suddenly it dawns on MORSE]

MORSE: Oh no, it’s a repeat!

[The channel changes. Fade to black.]

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