Spanish Second-Hand Bookstore Finds Fake Bomb-Book in Its Collection

Staff at a second-hand bookstore in Badajoz, western Spain, were terrified to discover that one of the books in their collection had had its pages removed and replaced with a complex mechanism that closely resembled a bomb.

The book in question, a copy of “The King of Beggars” by French writer Jean Larteguy attracted the attention of staff at the Hundred Cannons bookstore in the town of Badajoz, due to its unusually hefty weight. Upon opening it to inspect the contents, they were shocked to find that all the pages had been cut out and replaced with a mechanism that included several stopwatches, capacitors, and loads of electrical wires. The first thing that went through their minds was that this was a bomb-book, so they immediately evacuated the place and called the police.

Photo: El Periodico Extremadura

“We found a paperback book of overseas origin, dating from the 80s,  around ’85-’86 and when we picked it up, we noticed that it was too heavy. We open it and we found a mechanism inside the book,” one Hundred Cannons employee told Extremadura News

After sending a photo of the dangerous-looking book to the police, it was confirmed that it looked a lot like an improvised explosive device, so a team of Specialists in Deactivation of Explosive Devices (TEDAX) was mobilised and a perimeter was set up around the bookstore. After carefully inspecting the book, TEDAX established that the stopwatches inside had long run out of battery and that there was no trace of any explosive materials inside. The book is still being examined by experts, but it appears to be harmless.

Although the origins and purpose of this fake book bomb are yet to be established, the owner of the Hundred Cannons library has his own theory. Taking into consideration the Basque name of the book’s author and the fact that this particular edition was published in the mid 80s, he believes it could have belonged to a member of the Baque terrorist group ETA who prepared it to be used as a bomb and simply forgot about it.

Interestingly, Jean Larteguy is credited with envisioning the “ticking time bomb scenario” in his 1960 book “Les Centurions”. Maybe that has something to do with this bizarre “book bomb”? I guess we’ll never know.

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