Monday, August 15, 2011

End of an Era

Today my guest is Warren Bull, author, editor, reviewer, and blogger (check out writers who kill)--all in all, a very talented man!
My favorite mystery bookstore, I Love a Mystery, in Mission, Kansas is closing in mid August.  In some ways I’m glad that I will be in New Zealand when it finally happens.  In other ways I am sad not to be able to squeeze in every possible moment before the store closes.  I have similar mixed emotions about attending funerals.
For eleven years I Love a Mystery’s motto was, “It’s not just a bookstore – it’s an experience.”  The store and wonderful staff lived up to the motto with Holiday parties, especially Christmas, author signings and Border Crimes chapter of the Sisters in Crime meetings. 
You could sit in a comfortable chair, under the steely gaze of a raven and sample a new author or relax with the works of an old friend.  It always felt like Sherlock Holmes had just stepped out to smoke his pipe whilst considering the latest reports from the Baker Street Irregulars.  Perhaps the older woman chatting up Becci was really Miss Jane Marple talking about how the cook’s daughter reminded her of something related to her current inquiries. Oh, what was it now?
The Maltese Falcon, sitting smugly on a shelf above a skeleton and a stained dagger waited for the ponderous footsteps of the fat man, and the silhouette behind the door of Spade and Archer seemed ready to do, “What a man’s gotta’ do.”
The shelves held the best of contemporary mystery writing from all over the world. The store was frequently a home away from home for mystery writers as well as readers. 
Thanks to the departed but still loved and never forgotten Karen Spengler, and to Becci West.  Thanks to the wonderful staff who figured out what books I was talking about from the mangled titles and tiny clues I was able to provide.  I will miss you all.
Warren Bull is the author of more than thirty short stories as well as memoirs, essays a novel, ABRAHAM LINCOLN FOR THE DEFENSE, PublishAmerica, 2003, Smashwords, 2010  and a short story collection, MURDER MANHATTAN STYLE, Ninth Month Publishing, Co, 2010. He has published in STRANGE MYSTERIES 2, Whortleberry Press, 2010, STRANGE MYSTERIES, Whortleberry Press, 2009, MEDIUM OF MURDER, Red Coyote Press, 2008, MANHATTAN MYSTERIES, KS Publishing, Inc., 2005, Great Mystery and Suspense magazine, Mouth Full of Bullets, The Back Alley,, and Mysterical-E among others.  He was a psychologist for thirty years. He comes from a functional family and is a fierce competitor at trivia games.


E. B. Davis said...

With Border's closing, I wonder if Barnes & Nobel will be next (at least their physical stores) and then BAM will close.... A whole industry is dying. At first, I thought if the chains closed it would be better for the indie stores. I am hoping that some physical bookstores remain viable. Just as Warren described, bookstores feel like home to me. Downloading books just isn't the same. What next? Libraries?

Pauline Alldred said...

I felt the same way about the closing of a store dedicated to mysteries in Cambridge. Mystery meetings were held there. Books were launched there. The latest and earliest mysteries were shelved there. The front yard was a scene from Halloween with tomb stones and bats. Nothing can take the place of those independent stores.

Polly said...

It's a sad state. My town hasn't had an indie store in forever. It had newspapers from all over, magazines too. A couple have popped up in a town about 25 miles away. I wish one of them was bigger so we could have our SinC meetings there. The future is a scary place.

Ellis Vidler said...

I'm afraid it's only going to get worse. I love bookstores and hate to see them go. When ours in Greenville closed, it orphaned our Sisters in Crime chapter. They were wonderful about letting us meet there, and we could always shop until meeting time.

bj said...

I so enjoy independent bookstore. Almost feel like expressing my sympathy for your loss.

Kara Cerise said...

It is so sad when a bookstore closes. There's nothing like actually thumbing through a book in a cozy place.

jenny milchman said...

I was sad reading your post, and the comments. As some of you know, Nancy Pickard is a great favorite of mine--has played an instrumental role with my own writing--and I know this was one of her haunts. We are driving cross country this summer, and I had planned to stop in. So even though I don't grieve as you who knew it so well do, I feel a real pang.

I can offer a bit of a hopeful contrast, though. I'm not sure it's just going to get worse, for the signs we are seeing as we crisscross the country are hopeful indeed. We've visited thriving, full bookstores where we had to wait in long lines. New bookstores that had just opened--and some that were opening second locations. Bookstores that seem to understand that to survive these downloadable times they must offer something even more than browsing--become real hubs of the community.

I'm deeply sad about the ones that did that and still didn't make it. But if readers like are gathered here go as often as they can, to any bookstores they encounter, I have hope that others will be there to greet them.

Warren Bull said...

Thanks for the encouragement, Jenny. Christchurch, NZ has a great independent bookstore. May it go on forever.