Silas Poisson was the most dangerous man in Muldable City.Most children will see "poisson" and be reminded of poison; however I am reminded of fish. Deliberate?
His wardrobe being all in hues of magenta was not generally seen as funny.Awkward grammar.
It trivialized the (reputed) blood on his hands into a lolly-colored joke. Why couldn't he wear red, like any other self-respecting villain?I'm having a bit of a hard time getting a handle on the voice here. "Trivialized" doesn't seem to synch with "lolly-colored".
Poisson was not actually a self-respecting villain.That's better.
He did not consider himself a villain at all, and self-respect was for the boring. Like his arch-nemesis, Alan Birch, librarian and treasurer of the Friends' Trust."Treasurer of the Friends' Trust" feels like it's taking this in an unexpectedly cutesy direction--to my ear, anyway. Could the trust have a slightly less sunshiny (and perhaps funnier) name?
They were always very polite to each other. Poisson would return a book he'd come to regard as quite his own, until, with a nasty shock, he discovered a library stamp in the front. When Alan calculated the late fee, Poisson would be grieved and appalled. Getting out his little book of cheques, he would offer an advance on the next time.Why is Poisson referred to by his last name, but Alan by his first?
“Mr. Poisson,” the librarian would say, “we at the city library desire to believe in the best in humanity. I sincerely hope you will remember to return—” glancing at the book under Poisson's arm, “'Deaths of the Eminent: a Case Study in Fame Homicide' within the month. I can't ignore my principle of hoping for the best by accepting an advance on possible late fees. With regrets.”Nice. But I'd reconsider the last two sentences. Maybe cut them (and indicate in the paragraph above that Alan declines)? They make this speech a little less punchy.
Poisson would smile, tilting his head in a gesture of apology, and write the cheque out for the large sum on Alan's receipt, but no more. Anyone observing may have admired how the mild-mannered librarian, young and pale behind his glasses, stood up to the dark and impressive man of a (reputed) history of infamous if not famous homicide. Perhaps Alan's belief of the best in humanity really included Poisson. Perhaps it was just hard to take a man seriously when he wore candy-cane striped pajamas to the city library.There's an awful lot of "would" going around here. Think about making this a more concrete scene-- the "would"s make this a generalization, and rob it of its immediacy--and thus some of its humor.
This is promising, and I'd turn the page.
This manuscript looks like it probably needs a detailed line edit, but it could be the kind of editing an editor would be willing to take on. With a good revision, though, this might become something editors would fight over. Depends on the rest of the story, of course.