The titles that never were.

8 August 2010

 Musing over who was the villain Johnny Oxford finally fingered in Lady Don’t Fall Backwards, I remembered the weird bookshop in the Icelandic village I used to live in. It wasn’t so much a shop as a large cupboard and an extension of the local savings bank. You couldn’t go in there and browse. The grim old lady who ran it guarded the books jealously, thirty years before anyone had even thought of the precious things of the shop. If you wanted to look at a book, you had to ask for it and she’d pass it over the counter, watching as you perused it through its cellophane wrapper.

One day one of my former shipmates, refreshed by a dram or four, found himself in the bookshop and asked the old lady if she had a book called The Body in the Shoebox (Líkið í Skókassan). She looked and had to tell him that unfortunately there was no copy of the Body in the Shoebox, but it could probably be ordered.

All right. How about Shot Through the Keyhole? (Skotið í Gegnun Skráargatið).

Again, after inspecting the titles on display out of the reach of grubby-fingered customers, the old lady had to admit that she didn´t have a copy of Shot Through the Keyhole either.

So then he asked if she might have a copy of Grýlan í Bókabúðinni*, and that's when she threw him out.


*The Witch in the Bookshop

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