When Toyshops Attack

Welcome everybody to the latest installment in the Pearly Stockwell franchise. I know I keep telling you but I feel that I need to tell you again that this is an excerpt from

Falcon Boy and Bewilder Bird versus Dr Don’t Know in a Battle for all the Life of all the Planets

If you want to know more then please feel free to click the title. In case you were unsure, the adventures of Pearly Stockwell and the Interesting Twins are a key feature (and franchise) of (in) the Falcon Boy universe. The Pearly Stockwell adventures are currently being developed as a separate series and as I have more news I will give it to you. Until then, here you are …

 

When Toyshops Attack

Much to the delight of everyone, a new toyshop had opened in Fallstown.

‘I can’t wait,’ says Windy to his brothers. ‘I can’t think of anything better than spending some time browsing in a toyshop.’

‘Better than catching a criminal?’ Wes snorts. ‘The only toy I like is a cricket bat and that is only because they are good for whacking crooks.’

‘I once disguised myself as a giant teddy bear and hid in a toyshop for two weeks,’ says Wanderley.

‘We know,’ say Wes and Windy, laughing together. ‘We were the poor fools who had to try and find you.’

‘I’ll think you’ll find it was me who actually found him,’ Pearly corrects the brothers. ‘It was also me who revealed the truth about Blinko the Balloon Magician and his plot to flood the magic accessories market with cheap foreign imports.’

‘We know,’ sigh all three of the Interesting Twins together.

All of this happens, of course, in Pearly Squares the Magic Circle. Blinko turns out to be in the pay of Export International, a nefarious multinational company intent on dominating global markets through skulduggery, lies and blackmail.

One of their shadowy operatives had convinced poor old gullible Worcester Knudsen, a retired civil servant now barely scraping a living as Blinko the Balloon Magician, that his bookings would treble if he used a new brand of super-modelling inflatables.

Needless to say, Pearly eventually gets to the bottom of the goings-on and Worcester receives a four-year prison sentence for his part in the plot. As always happens, in real life and in stories like this, Export International could not be sufficiently implicated in the scandal and is allowed to continue its financial finagling for another day.

On the day of the toyshop opening, Fallstown is stunned to discover that the only things on its shelves are thousands and thousands of tiny toy helicopters.

After some clumsy plot exposition involving a new employee at the Fallstown Telephone Exchange and a pair of open windows, it is eventually revealed that the shop’s proprietors, Kurt and Irena Flue, are a husband and wife spy team, hell-bent on using Fallstown as a launch pad for their hundred-thousand-strong toy helicopter fleet.

During a daring raid on the warehouse at the back of the shop, the Interesting Twins are captured and Pearly has to rely upon her native wit and big city sense to free them and save the country from being destroyed by the fleet of tiny toys.

Pearly and the Missing Magic Ring

Here is another extract from Falcon Boy and Bewilder Bird versus Dr Don’t Know in a Battle for all the Life of all the Planets. Here the reader is introduced to some background material concerning the very early days of the Pearly Stockwell and the Interesting Twins Wonder Detective Comic Book Super Series.

As you will recall from previous posts or indeed from the book itself, Pearly is a six-year-old girl who solves puzzles, saves the day and achieves countless major triumphs that are forever beyond the adults who populate the world of these stories. Wes, Windy, and Wanderley Gordy are the Interesting Twins and the fact that there is actually three of them and that they aren’t twins is apparently what makes them interesting. If you are of that persuasion Pearly Stockwell is now on Twitter.

In each episode, someone is kidnapped or something is stolen or threatened with total destruction, like a school, a train, a town, a livelihood or a way of life. Pearly and her friends always notice something that the police miss, or overhear a conversation on the bus. Other times they might decide that two men standing talking outside the cake shop look suspicious and the adventures begin.

Everything happens in Fallstown, a small place in the middle of nowhere that is somehow a perpetual magnet for all minds and matters criminally oriented.

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‘The Pearly Stockwell adventure series is published by IT Comics and in their early days the company really struggled. Pearly and the Missing Magic Ring was a desperately misguided attempt to reach a wider audience with the Pearly Stockwell series.

Without even the slightest hint of professional shame, Pearly is ‘allowed’ to discover a magical kingdom while clearing out one of her wardrobes. Never one to refuse a challenge, Pearly sets off to see what she can find.

Unsurprisingly, Pearly finds a world gripped by a struggle between the forces of good and evil. Grimdulf Gloompants leads the good guys. He is a long-bearded wizard who rides a giant talking lion. A one-eyed witch called Sharon is in charge of the bad guys.

As the plot thickens, Pearly and the Interesting Twins are asked to deliver an important message to someone important quite far away. On the way, they are captured by a gang of nasty Noblins and imprisoned.

Everyone manages to escape but Pearly gets separated and begins to wander lost in an underground network of caves.

Even loyal readers of the comic book series found it hard not to consider cancelling their subscription at the moment that Pearly stumbles upon a ring and, without thinking, puts it in her pocket.

Unbeknown to her, the ring is the property of a pathetic-looking creature called Gallop who manages to trap Pearly in his dank, dismal, fish-stinking lair.

‘You have something that is very precious to me,’ says the pathetic-looking Gallop to Pearly, without even a faint glimmer of irony. ‘It is mine, it is.’

‘Is it?’ replies Pearly quick-wittedly, stunning the pathetic creature with the authority in her voice. ‘How precious exactly?’

Gallop isn’t sure what to say.

‘Very precious,’ he ventures, ‘very precious, indeed.’

But Pearly has the upper hand now and probes the pathetic creature further with her penetrating questions.

‘Just how precious?’

‘Very!’

‘How precious is very precious?’

‘Very, very!’

‘But is that precious enough?’

‘I don’t know.’

‘Why don’t you know? I thought you said it was precious?’

‘I did!’

‘Then why don’t you know?’

‘I do! I do! I do!’

Gallop gets very angry and it is at this point that Pearly knows she has him.

‘You don’t know, do you?’ she says.

‘No,’ says the pathetic-looking creature pathetically.

‘I’m going now,’ says Pearly firmly. ‘Don’t try and follow me.’

Gallop says nothing. He sits snivelling on a slimy rock. Pearly leaves to find her friends and continue the great adventure.

It was only by sacking the writing team, promising faithfully to never ever do anything like this again (and also offering a year’s free subscription to every reader) that IT Comics survived the fallout from Pearly and the Missing Magic Ring.’

The Fall and Rise of Pearly Stockwell?

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‘Those sandals are a scandal, sir’, said Pearly to the busker. ‘And there is no call for a live performance this early in the morning without the proper permits and permissions.’

The adventures of a supercilious six-year old child detective who solves crimes with the help of the three Gordy boys, Wanderley, Windy and Wes, (who call themselves the Interesting Twins) first came to my attention via the Pearly Stockwell and the Interesting Twins Wonder Detective Comic Book Super Series, a reasonably unsuccessful series of black and white comics published by the extremely obscure IT Publishing.

As you will know if you have read the series, Pearly moves to Fallstown following a commuter train tragedy that killed her parents. Fallstown is a small place in the middle of nowhere that is somehow a perpetual magnet for all minds and matters criminally oriented. Pearly doesn’t have much to bring to her new home apart from the fortune she inherited from her parents and her big city ways.

Appalled by an unfortunate incident which resulted in her suitcase being mistakenly switched, Pearly takes it upon herself to establish a detective agency by placing an advertisement in the Fallstown Provider looking for like-minded individuals.

‘Experience not essential but you must have a belief in truth, justice and an aching desire to find out things’

Her advertisement is answered by the Interesting Twins and the rest is history.

The comics only ran for a single series before the paying public decided that Pearly’s big city ways were just too much for them. For completists everywhere here is the full list of published titles:

1. Pearly Stockwell and the Letter from the Past

2. The Octopus and His Evil Plans for Pearly Stockwell

3. The Lost Treasure of Fallstown

4. Pearly Saves the Seaside

5. Windy Wins the Deadliest Race of his Little Life

6. Pearly and the Merchant Bankers

7. Pearly and the Missing Magic Ring

8. Here Comes the Interesting Twins to Save the Day

9. Pearly Meets the Ghostly Angler

10. We Really Hope You Can, Pearly Stockwell!

11. Pearly Stockwell and the Letter that Was Hidden But Everyone Could Really See

12. When Toyshops Attack

13. Pearly and the Harvest Moon

14. Pearly Stockwell and the Fate of the Fête

15. Pearly Breaks a Leg

16. The Circus has Lost a Clown

17. Pearly Lose the Plot, Or Does She?

18. Pearly Squares the Magic Circle

The comic book series was turned into an audio book series and if you scour the thrift shops or look online you might still be able to find the recordings somewhere.

There has been a very recent upsurge in interest in Pearly Stockwell and her adventures and I even read a rumour somewhere that there might be plans for reviving the series. There does also seem to be some very recent online activity.

Currently these are only rumours but they do also extend as far as tentative suggestions about a screenplay also being produced. I will look into this and if I hear any more on this topic I will let you know.

Until then, beware The Octopus and his ‘his eight mean legs of greed, theft, evil, selfishness, anger, violence, meanness and insanity’.