“Wilson?” a voice called out from the back. Lyn had returned. Wilson looked up from the inventory book to the clock on the wall. It had been hours, and he had barely noticed, he was so engrossed in his work.

“In here!” he called out. He checked off a couple more volumes from the list as she came into the shop, wide eyed.

“What have you been doing?” she asked, surprised. His activities had not gone without casualty, half of the books in the shop had been pulled from their shelves, many had been restacked. Many were still waiting to be put back. Piles of books were scattered everywhere. To be fair, it had started with piles of books everywhere, but at least then it had seemed a bit more organized, at least the piles were on the shelves instead of out in the isles.

“I’ve been busy working on a theory”, he said, excited. “I think I may be on to something.”

“On to something with what?” she asked, carefully stepping around a stack of thick art books to join him by the long reading table. She could barely see his head over the piles.

“This morning I asked you why I would kill Tooth, do you remember? And you said it might be because I really love books.”

“I know, it was ridiculous”, she replied, a concerned look on his face.

“Right, but it got me thinking”, he said, clearing a place for her at the table. “The Peace said that the murder looked like a robbery gone bad, that the intruder hadn’t taken anything. They assumed that Tooth showed up before they got what they wanted, they killed him, and then fled empty handed. But they only checked for the normal things, money, valuables.”

“Ok, that seems reasonable. But what’s your hunch?”

“What’s the one thing that the robber could take that the Peace wouldn’t notice?”

Understanding crossed her face. “A book. It’s a book shop, you don’t rob it for money or valuables, you rob it because you love books.”

“Right. But most people won’t kill if they get caught shoplifting, so I don’t think they were just after any old book. My guess is that they were after something specific, something rare.”

“That makes sense,” she said, excited at their deduction, “otherwise they could just get it anywhere, and it would be easier to just run rather than kill. They could just try again at a different shop, but if they were caught here Tooth might have improved security, cutting off their only option.”

“Exactly,” he said, beaming. “So if we can figure out what’s missing we’ll know what it was they stole, and that might help us track down the killer.”

“Assuming we are right and something is actually missing”, she said, throwing a word of caution. She could tell she didn’t want him to get his hopes up to high. “And that if we do find something missing it’s actually helpful. That said, how do we find it? How do you look for something that isn’t there?”

“With this,” he said, joyfully handing her the inventory book. “This is a list of everything that’s supposed to be in the shop. This place was Tooth’s pride and joy, and I looked through the ledger, inventory wasn’t changing that rapidly. It should be fully up to date and accurate.”

“So that’s what all of this is about?” she asked, indicating the stacks with wide eyes. “You’re actually trying to solve a murder by auditing your shop inventory?”

“The Peace are out, case closed. I’m all that Tooth has left, and it’s all that I’ve got.”

“Right”, she said. “How can I help?”


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