The Mysterious Bookshop

Brand and the All-Seeing Eye


‘Now, listen, mister, you’re in BIG trouble, and that lousy attitude isn’t going to help you!’

Harold Who, teenaged expert on everything, was quite properly cowed but remained steadfast in his refusal to speak beyond name, rank, and serial number.  

This puzzled and infuriated Avery in equal measure.  He took a break to decompress.  Outside the interrogation room he saw Costello approaching.

‘Who’s here?’ he asked.

‘Yes,’ was the logical reply.

‘What?’ was the equally logical question.

‘We got him for shoplifting off the CCTV.  There’s an administrative hold on him, too, from the staties, looks like they have a video of sabotage at the candy factory, so we’re ordered to keep him here until a rep comes from the capitol.’

‘Yeah, I saw that video. An admin hold? That’s a new one.’

‘It’s always something.’ The men went back into the interrogation room and sat at the desk opposite Harold Who.  They simply sat and looked at Harold for a short time while the suspect fidgeted in his chair.

Then the two detectives commenced to bark questions at him.

‘Where were you on June 3rd?’

‘Why did you try to poison Krock’s Klown Kandy’?

‘Did you steal a Klown bar from the bodega?’

‘Why don’t you eat a salad once in a while?’

Harold Who answered none of these queries; in fact he simply sat, unperturbed and silent still.

Out of character, Avery decided to play good cop.  ‘Harold, you know you’re not going to get anywhere this way.  How long do you want to sit here?  All night? Why don’t you let us help you?’

The lad stared ahead, saying nothing.

‘Why did you take that chocolate bar? That’s the last thing you need, more candy.’  

Harold made typing motions with his fingers.

‘No, you can’t have your computer.  Talk to us, Harold.  How did you get past security in the Krock factory? What did you put in the vat?’  More typing motions.

‘This isn’t getting us anywhere.  Take him back to holding.’  As Harold Who was led back to his cell, Costello spoke furiously to Avery.

‘What is this, the Land of Oz?  Why didn’t you kiss him before you questioned him? (mimicking) ‘Oh, gee, Harold, would you like a nice cup of tea before we THROW THE BOOK AT YOU!  We know what he did; why are you pussy-footing around on this?’

Avery replied, calmly, ‘The jury is still out, so to speak.  We don’t have enough evidence; all we’ve got is him APPEARING to pocket some candy. So we can’t THROW THE BOOK AT HIM just yet.’

Costello shot back, ‘Did you forget about the sabotage?  We’ve got him red handed on the surveillance tape putting something in the chocolate vat.  Lord knows what it is--we’re still waiting for the lab to tell us.’

‘Again, no evidence of a crime unless he introduced poison or something harmful to the manufacturing process.’

‘You’re a big help!’  Costello was perturbed.  ‘That’s trespassing at least! No record of his signing in at the gate, anyway. This one stumps me, Ave.  I’ve got to admit you’re right, we’re light on this.  Two blurry shots of this kid maybe putting something in the chocolate and maybe taking a candy bar. What the heck can we do with that?’

‘Not much, it’s true,’ agreed Avery.  ‘I guess Old Harold Who fancies himself a scientist or something.  Good thing we hacked his emails--that’s how we found out he was trying to improve the recipe for chocolate. As if.’

‘And he’s one of these guys that spends all of his time in the basement, on the computer, snacking.  You know the bit--scared of girls, a dud at sports, probably never been kissed.’

‘That’s true.  Of course, he’d have a much better chance if he lost a few dozen pounds.’

‘Doesn’t seem to have hurt you any.’

‘Now listen here, bub--’

At that moment the intercom rang.  Costello answered it.  He sighed.

‘Harold Who is complaining that we won’t give him any computer time.’

‘WHAT?’ Avery bellowed.  ‘Does he not understand that he’s charged with crimes here?  This isn’t an internet cafe, for gosh sakes!’

‘What should I tell him?’

‘Tell him we’ll put him on bread and water if he doesn’t behave!’

‘Can we do that?’

‘No, but he doesn’t know that.’

‘He might like that--might help him lose some of that blubber. Listen, if it’ll help us, maybe we should let him--’

‘We are not giving him computer access. That boy is going to learn how to communicate without a machine, or I’ll know the reason why!’

‘I’m just saying, if we gave him email access and monitored it, we could find out a lot more than we have so far!’

Avery had to admit that made some sense.  ‘I’ll think about it, maybe we can figure something out.’

‘Guess who’s here.’

‘Don’t tell me.’

Brand walked in as casually as if he strolled into a police station every day of the week.  Which he pretty much did.  As he approached the desk, Avery and Costello rolled their eyes.

‘Now before you guys start in on me, I’ve got a respectable position at Krock’s as a consultant.’

Avery was incredulous. ‘What do you know about the candy business?’

‘I know I like sweets. What more do I need?’

‘I guess that’s up to Krock’s.  So what are you doing here?’

Brand hesitated.  ‘I have reason to believe that Mr. Krock’s life is in danger. He will be a murder victim very soon.

This wasn’t what Avery or Costello were expecting!

‘Murder!  What do you know about it?’

Just then the intercom rang again.  Avery picked up, listened for a moment, then slammed the phone home.  ‘Mr. Karl Krock of the famous candy company, has been found dead--drowned in a vat of his own chocolate!’


Tune in next time for the next part of Brand and the All-Seeing Eye!


Meanwhile, keep one eye over your shoulder, one eye on your wallet, and one eye on some of these topnotch spy/espionage thrillers:


Once a member of MI6, Peanut has now escaped from a Chinese prison camp and now must evade the surveillance-heavy streets of Beijing.  He has secrets he can sell, but they are valuable to more than just the British or the Chinese!

Despite color-blindness, Officer Bradwell is indispensable to the service, especially with Nazi Germany on the rise.  A former colleague is apparently a double agent and Bradwell is sent to spy on the spy.  Originally published in 1945, try this corking good spy story written at the time of the events!


A KGB agent is busted in Brooklyn, Francis Gary Powers is shot down over the USSR, and a grad student is mistakenly fingered as a spy.  A popular 2015 film.

Questions/Comments/booby-trapped briefcase?

Written by Ian Kern — June 13, 2016

Specializing in Mystery Fiction and all its subgenres, including Detective, Crime, Hardboiled, Thrillers, Espionage, and Suspense.

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