the smuggler’s bible


Barraclough catches the case at four o’clock on the Friday before Christmas.

“Anonymous tip called it in,” the chief says. “Someone cut up a toy pusher real good in Tinsel Town. This thing is absolute top priority, but keep a button on it.”

“You gotta be kiddin’ me, chief.” Barraclough checks his watch. “I had plans tonight. It’s almost—”

“I know. I’m sure the victim other ideas for the evening, too,” the chief says, dropping a folder on the scuffed peppermint bark of Barraclough’s desk. “Call your gingerbread wife, detective. Tell her you’re going to be late for supper.”