July 7, 2016

What treasure is hiding inside books this week?


Even better than bottle caps!

Even better than bottle caps!

Here at MobyLives, we pride ourselves on chronicling the lives of books not just as repositories of culture but as actual physical objects. When we’ve searched inside books we’ve found other books, creepy faces, furniture, guns, and, of course, Satan. So what treasures are books hiding this week?

In New Mexico, they’re hiding meth. Specifically, meth stuffed into an e-reader that was delivered to a prison. Caleb James reports for KOB4:

Isidro Dominguez is in prison for murder. But his reading habit is what will likely keep him in jail longer now. One of those little USB books addressed to Dominguez was ever-so-slightly buckling at the seams.

“And when he popped it open, sure enough, it was full of meth,” said [New Mexico Corrections Department Deputy Secretary Alex] Tomlin.

When Tomlin says “full of meth” she means it — more than 10 grams of the illegal drug was packed into the cartridge.

At a highly-inflated price inside the joint, it’s easily worth $2,000.

Whether or not this will lead to a wholesale ban on e-readers or simply a more rigorous screening process for the New Mexico Corrections Department remains to be seen, but one thing’s for sure: that bag of meth would have been better smuggled in smaller amounts, or, if the wait was intolerable, in a physical book (which has more crannies.)

Meanwhile, across the pond in England, another book was found to be hiding something else. In a rare oasis of calm amidst the lorry fire that is #Brexit, the caretakers of Melford Hall in Suffolk came upon a special discovery—four line drawings courtesy of a notable former guest of the house, Beatrix Potter. The BBC reports:

Three of the drawings were found by house manager Josephine Waters.

She said: “I was moving a bookcase together with a colleague and whilst we were going through some of the books we discovered a drawing tucked inside, it was classic Potter style and we immediately knew it was one of hers.

“It was an absolutely spine-tingling moment. I remember all the hairs on the back on my neck stood up as we realised what we’d found. Working with a collection like this, it was a dream come true.”

A fourth picture was discovered by Lady Hyde Parker, who lives at Melford Hall with her husband, Sir Richard, where Potter took regular holidays between 1899 and 1916.

All you Beatrix Potter fans can check out the drawings and other Potter/Melford ephemera at a new exhibition opening later this month.



Liam O’Brien is the Senior Sales & Marketing Manager at Melville House, and a former bookseller.