the smuggler’s bible


Christmas morning. Drosselmeyer sits with his forehead on the table, hands cuffed behind him.

“You want your lawyer?”

“I want my toys back.”

“You’re more likely to get twenty-five to life. My partner’s been out all night with the forensic team bagging up your dollhouse.”

“It isn’t fair.”

Barraclough lets that drift up the chimney with the rest of the nonsense. “The note was signed ‘Mausekönig,’” he says. “The Mouse King. Strange for a guy who sells traps.”

“A spring, a lever, and a broken neck,” Drosselmeyer says icily. “On the whole, a better deal than most royalty can offer.”