Sad news from Australia. Peter Milne, longtime bookseller at Abbey's Bookshop in Sydney and a life member of the Australian Booksellers Association, died on December 23. He was 75.
Milne worked for Abbey's for 40 years, from 1971 to 2011, as a bookseller and manager and was part owner until his retirement. He was particularly knowledgeable about crime writing, creating Abbey's Crime Chronicle, a monthly list of new titles, and was a co-founder of the Crime Writers Association of Australia.
Milne served as an officer of the ABA and was deeply involved in the national association and its state branch. During several ABA annual meetings, when questions arose about association rules and procedures, we remember him smiling and noting that his remarks came from the perspective of his status as "the sole surviving member" of the committee that drafted the ABA's bylaws.
He was as friendly and kind as he was brilliant about books. Abbey's owner Eve Abbey called him "our indispensable, seemingly everlasting Peter Milne" and praised his "hard work, suggestions, insight and infallible memory and invigorating, cheerful company. I can't count the hours that Peter devoted to ensuring Abbey's is a great bookshop."
Florence King, a columnist, author and "professional misanthrope who was a constitutional crosspatch about all manner of things--in particular those things that smacked in the slightest of what she decried as touchy-feely late-20th-century liberalism," died January 6, the New York Times reported. She was 80. In addition to her "Misanthrope's Corner" column in the National Review, King "was also renowned for Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady, a well-received, somewhat fictionalized 1985 memoir in which she plumbed the depths, and the shallows, of her genteel upbringing." Her other books included Southern Ladies and Gentlemen and Reflections in a Jaundiced Eye.