"Police Department, Sergeant O'Hara speaking."
"Sergeant, I'd like to report a missing person; actually, several missing persons."
"Tell me what happened, ma'am."
"I was at the library, looking for some of my old friends. I went to the stacks where they always are, but they were gone and nobody seems to know where or when they were last seen."
"Before we go any further, just let me take down their names."
"All men, then?"
"Oh, no. Dorothy was gone, too. That's Dorothy L. Sayers. Also Ngaio Marsh, Josephine Tey and Margaret Yorke."
After I gave the Sergeant my complete statement, he promised to get right on the case and let me know as soon as he had any leads. A couple of days later, he called me.
"Ma'am, one of our officers just called in to say she's found your friends. She's at the library's annual book sale and everybody on your list is there too."
"Oh, Sergeant, what a relief! I was so worried about them. They're quite old, you know, and I wanted to be sure they're safe. But now you've found them, they can go back home to the library."
"Er, I'm afraid not, ma'am. The library doesn't want them back. All your friends have been, um, de-accessioned."
"They're all discards. I'm sorry to be the one to tell you, but they're homeless now."
"Oh no, they're not! I'm getting in my car right now to pick them up!"
And this is how I ended up buying these books at last week's annual book sale:
Michael Innes: Lord Mullion's Secret, Death by Water, The Open House
Georges Simenon: Maigret at the Coroner's, Maigret and the Wine Merchant, Maigret Afraid, Maigret Sets a Trap, Maigret's Revolver
Robert Barnard: A Scandal in Belgravia, Death of a Mystery Writer
Leo Bruce: Case with No Conclusion
E. X. Ferrars: Smoke Without Fire, Beware of the Dog
J. J. Marric: Gideon's Ride
Margaret Yorke: Serious Intent
Anthony Price: The Alamut Ambush
Edmund Crispin: Glimpses of the Moon