The Mysterious Bookshop

The Trial--Part One


The courtroom was packed to bursting. There wasn’t even room for a fly to buzz into the airless space. It was the Trial Of The Century, the third such in the last fifteen years. The late Mr. Mayhew, boss of the territory, was being tried in absentia for racketeering, even though his defense team was at a disadvantage, what with their client being deceased.  Not being tried in absentia, but live and in person, were Breck and Prell, as accessories, along with Sonny the big dog, who was in his own small cell. One wag was heard to observe, ‘So how are they gonna punish the dog if he’s convicted?  Give him fleas?’

From their exclusive viewing gallery, Cinnamon and Raffles kept a close eye on Sonny, lest he escape from confinement and cause the cats to flee.

‘Ladies and gentlemen, I propose that we cut right to the crux of the matter.  I propose that we learn of the insidious crime wave perpetrated by these miscreants--’


‘Sustained. Counsellor, you know better than that,’ barked Judge Blusster.

‘I beg the court’s pardon.  I will rephrase.’

‘See that you do.’

‘I propose that we learn of the insidious crime wave allegedly perpetrated by the accused right from the victims.  I call Cinnamon Costello to the stand!’

This generated so much commotion from the gallery that the judge had to bang his gavel and shout ‘Order!’ several times, which he hated to do.  At length the bailiff called, ‘Cinnamon Costello to the stand!’

Cinnamon stood up in his seat, stretched, yawned, and washed a front paw for a moment, then sauntered up to the front of the courtroom.  In his own good time, he clambered up on the witness stand and looked around imperiously.

Mason Perry took the lead.

‘Now, Mr. Costello, you were simply minding your own business, weren’t you, when you were suddenly, wantonly, attacked by someone who was a complete stranger to you?’

Cinnamon had an itch and scratched it.

‘Is your attacker in this courtroom?’

Another itch, darn it!  Perry took the scratching position as a point to Sonny the big dog.

‘Aha!  So you are saying that this canine was your attacker, isn’t that right?

Cinnamon was hungry and meowed.

‘No further questions--your witness.’

Hamilton Sandwich jumped up and crossed to the witness stand. He was holding something in his hand.

‘Now, Cinnamon, isn’t it true that it could have been any dog that chased you?’ The small piece of liver that he was teasing the cat with made Cinnamon meow.

‘No further questions.’


‘Kindly call a human witness,’ said Judge Blusster.

‘I call Detective Avery.’

‘Detective Avery, take the stand.’

And so Avery was duly sworn in and asked about the crime wave that had been sweeping River City for the last two years at least.

Sparks flew when Hamilton Sandwich insinuated that the RCPD was lax in its efforts to reign in organized crime.

‘Isn’t it true, detective, that the Organized Crime Unit made exactly zero arrests in the past two years?’

‘Matter of fact, it is, but--’

‘That’s all, no further questions.’



Mason Perry stood. He was a tall, stout man, with a very dark beard, and, incongruously, a very white mane of hair.  The opinion around the department was that shoe polish was somehow involved.

‘Detective, the burden of proof is not something that can simply be ignored for political expedience, is it?’

‘No it isn’t.’

‘You and your men must be scrupulous in your adherence to the book, isn’t that right?’

‘Yes it is.’

‘So it’s much better to wait and present a solid case than to rush only to see all your hard work thrown out of court, isn’t it?’

‘Yes it is.’

‘No further questions.’


Suddenly the door swung open and there stood The Brown Recluse!  Ellen Amora had snuck out of the courtroom during the lunch break and returned in her guise as the champion of the downtrodden.

Judge Blusster shouted, ‘What’s the meaning of this?’

The Brown Recluse cried, ‘Your Honor, I have an important witness!’



Now what?  There’s always something going on at these trials of the century, isn’t there?  Join us next week for a motion to continue...The Trial!


Meantime, have a look at some corking courtroom dramas:

From the king of the procedural, comes a legal thriller involving copyright infringement.


Books, Crooks, and Counselors by Leslie Budewitz. Subtitled 'How to Write Accurately About Criminal Law and Courtroom Procedures.'  Author Budewitz, in a Q-and-A format, guides writers towards accurate representation of courts of law.

What can you say?  The master.


Questions/Comments/Planted Evidence?









Written by Ian Kern — June 22, 2017

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

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