Shelf Awareness for Friday, March 17, 2023

Aladdin Paperbacks: The First Magnificent Summer by R.L. Toalson

Del Rey Books: Thief Liar Lady by D.L. Soria

Chronicle Books: Is It Hot in Here (or Am I Suffering for All Eternity for the Sins I Committed on Earth)? by Zach Zimmerman

First Second: Family Style: Memories of an American from Vietnam by Thien Pham

Harvest Publications: The Dinner Party Project: A No-Stress Guide to Food with Friends by Natasha Feldman

Wednesday Books: Guardians of Dawn: Zhara (Guardians of Dawn #1) by S. Jae-Jones


NYC's McNally Jackson Flagship Store Moving Next Week

McNally Jackson's current space.

The original, flagship McNally Jackson store in SoHo in New York City is moving "a few blocks west down Prince Street, from 52 to 134," the store noted on its website. The new location is "larger and sturdier" than the current store, whose last day in business is next Tuesday, March 21.

Owner Sarah McNally opened the Prince Street store in 2004 as McNally Robinson, part of the Canadian chain that her parents founded. In 2008, the store became independent and was renamed McNally Jackson. In 2019, McNally came close to moving the store after a substantial rent increase.

Over the years, McNally Jackson has added branches in Rockefeller Center, the Seaport, Williamsburg and downtown Brooklyn. It also has a shop at LaGuardia Airport with Hudson Group as well as two Goods for the Study writing and stationery stores in the West Village and Nolita, and McNally Jackson at the Shed (545 W. 30th St.), which features books related to the Shed's arts programming.

Blackstone Publishing: All Is Not Forgiven by Joe Kenda

Orange Literary and Arts Convention Debuting This Weekend

The inaugural Orange Literary and Arts Convention will be held on Saturday in Orange, Va., the Daily Progress reported.

Heather Griffin and Cindy Pagan, co-owners of the bookstore Spelled Ink, have led the charge on organizing the one-day celebration of literature and the arts.

It will take place from noon to 8 p.m. on Saturday in downtown Orange and will include book sales, an arts fair, a weaving workshop and an adult spelling bee at a local brewery. The convention's final event, dubbed Taming of the Brew, will be a "book fair for grown ups." Meant to recapture the joy of school book fairs, it will feature "local authors, a cash bar, music and an '80s theme."

Griffin told the Daily Progress that depending on how the day goes, she would like eventually to turn Olacon into "a huge convention with panels and cosplay and just workshops galore. Maybe it just becomes a whole weekend event where people come from all over the country like other conventions--just get all the art nerds and book nerds out here."

“We wanted something that would recur each year and be a driving force for making Orange a destination,” added Pagan.

Spelled Ink sells new and used books along with an assortment of gifts made by local artists and artisans.

KidsBuzz for the Week of 03.27.23

International Update: LBF's International Excellence Awards Shortlists: SLF Protests Legion d'Honneur for Bezos

The London Book Fair has released shortlists for its International Excellence Awards, which recognize "publishing achievement across four categories," including the new sustainability initiative award. Winners and the recipient of the London Book Fair Lifetime Achievement Award will be celebrated at a public ceremony at Olympia London on April 19 during the fair.

The International Excellence Award shortlists:

Bookstore of the Year: Dukagjini Bookstore, Pristina, Kosovo; Minoa Books, Beşiktaş Akaretler/Istanbul, Turkey; Strandläufer Verlagsbuchhandlung, Stralsund, Germany; RovingHeights Bookstore, Lagos, Nigeria (special commendation)

Audiobook Publisher of the Year: Macmillan Audio (U.S.); Princeton University Press (U.S.); Pushkin Industries (U.S.); Readyland (U.S.) (special commendation)

Sustainability Initiative: Bloomsbury Publishing (U.K.); New Society Publishers (Canada); Penguin Random House UK

Inclusivity in Publishing (U.K. only): Bloomsbury Publishing; Bonnier Books; Springer Nature


Emmanuel Macron with Jeff Bezos in 2020. (via)

Syndicat de la librairie française, the French booksellers association, formally responded to a controversial ceremony on February 16 during which Amazon founder and former CEO Jeff Bezos "was quietly awarded the highest order of merit award in France, the Legion d'Honneur (Legion of Honor), by French President Emmanuel Macron," the European & International Booksellers Federation's Newsflash reported. SLF president Anne Martelle wrote to President Macron questioning the merit of the award and conveying the French bookselling sector's shock and disappointment with this decision. 

Noting that the "discreet ceremony" took place while hundreds of thousands of workers protested across France over changes to pensions, the Guardian reported that Bezos "was designated a member of the Legion d'Honneur about 10 years ago--before Macron entered the Elysée--so the ceremony was to hand over the ribboned medal he should have received then but had not collected." The ceremony was not announced by the Elysée or put in the president's official diary because it was considered a private occasion.


Last week a shot was fired through the window of an independent bookstore in St. Petersburg, Russia, that had been displaying the phrase "Peace to the world." Meduza reported that "photographs published on Facebook and on the bookstore's Telegram channel show that the phrase 'Peace to the world' is written across the window. 'Well, not everyone likes the inscription on our windows. It's very sad,' read a post on the store's Telegram channel."


BookNet Canada's 5 Questions series checked in with Tracey Mitchell and Peter Garden from Turning the Tide, Saskatoon, Sask., an "alternative bookstore, offering a selection of fiction, and hand-picked non-fiction books on current events, sustainable living, and generally making the world a better place." Among the highlights from the q&a:

What attracted you to bookselling?
Peter: I love sharing things that I am passionate about with other people. That goes for books, music, activities, or places. When I opened the bookstore, I was (and still am) passionate about issues of social justice and the environment, and owning a bookstore seemed like a great way to share that passion. I had some retail experience in the past but knew very little about running my own business. Thankfully, I was able to learn the trade as I went along, using my drive to share these ideas with others to put great books in people's hands and keep them coming back.

What is the most pressing issue facing bookselling today?
Peter: I would say the hegemony of Amazon. It was so refreshing to see people turn to support local businesses including bookstores during the pandemic. People were consciously supporting local and it made a huge difference for us. In fact, our sales doubled during the first 18 months of Covid. It was incredible! We are working very hard to keep those customers coming back with really good customer service, the convenience of online ordering, and local delivery options. --Robert Gray


Obituary Note: Michael Gruenbaum

Michael Gruenbaum

Michael Gruenbaum, the Holocaust survivor who in his 80s wrote the memoir Somewhere There Is Still a Sun (Aladdin), about his experience in the Terezin concentration camp, died of heart failure earlier this week, the Boston Globe reported. He was 92.

He published Somewhere There Is Still a Sun in 2015, drawing inspiration for the title from a phrase in a letter his mother, Margaret Popper Gruenbaum, wrote after being liberated from Terezin. As a survivor of the Holocaust, he explained in the animated film The Teddy Bear, he felt he had a responsibility to "remember, to tell, and to never forget," and up until the day before his death, Gruenbaum was sharing his experiences and talking about his book via Zoom.

His son Leon Gruenbaum said the resurgence of antisemitism in the United States in recent years motivated his father "to get the book out as much as possible." In the Globe, Michael Gruenbaum wrote: "It behooves all of us to be very much on the alert and make sure that the smallest of such incidents is immediately thwarted and stopped in its tracks."

Born in Prague in 1930, Gruenbaum was sent to the Terezin concentration camp, along with his sister and mother, shortly after his 12th birthday (his father, Karl Gruenbaum, was murdered by the Gestapo in 1941). 

Gruenbaum, his sister and his mother survived Terezin, he would recall later in life, thanks to his mother's "persistence and a lot of luck." Four times they were supposed to be sent from Terezin to Auschwitz, and four times Margaret Gruenbaum was able to get them taken off the list.

In the fall of 1944, Margaret had been ordered to make teddy bears that would be given as Christmas gifts to the children of Nazi officers. When her family was once again slated to be sent to Auschwitz, she told her boss that the teddy bear order would not be filled if that happened. Her boss then spoke to a German officer, and the family was allowed to remain.

Gruenbaum and his family returned to Prague after the end of World War II, but rather than live under Soviet rule, his mother took them to Paris and then Cuba before finally emigrating to the U.S. Gruenbaum went on to earn a bachelor's degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a master's from Yale University, and from 1956 on he lived in Brookline, Mass.

His wife, Thelma Gruenbaum, was also a writer, and interviewed him for her book Nesarim: Child Survivors of Terezin.


Video: The Hebridean Baker at Eagle Eye Book Shop

Eagle Eye Book Shop, Decatur, Ga., recently hosted an event with Coinneach MacLeod for his new book, The Hebridean Baker: My Scottish Island Kitchen (Sourcebooks). The bookseller shared video highlights on social media, noting: "We had an absolute blast with Hebridean Baker Coinneach MacLeod and Pàdruig MacCuidhein as they shared their great Scottish and Hebrides Island culture with us! We drank, we ate, we laughed, they sang and most of all we have signed copies of the cookbook so you can do all those things in the comfort of your kitchen!"

Cool Idea of the Day: Library Bookstore Stickers

The Starr Library in Rhinebeck, N.Y., is showing patrons the source for the books it buys from its local bookstore with stickers that read "This title purchased locally from Oblong Books, Millerton & Rhinebeck." Oblong co-owner Suzanna Hermans commented: "This was their idea, and while we've always had a strong relationship with their library (and our other locals!) this really means the world to us. We love our local libraries!"

Hachette to Distribute Callaway Arts and Entertainment

Hachette Book Group will exclusively distribute frontlist and backlist trade titles of Callaway Arts and Entertainment into all channels in the U.S. and Canada, effective July 1.

Callaway focuses on the visual arts, music, pop culture, fashion, photography, and stories for children of all ages. Major titles include The Beatles: Get Back; the Sistine Chapel trilogy; Leonardo by Leonardo by Martin Kemp; Irving Penn: Passage; Mark Rothko by Arne Glimcher; David Kirk's Miss Spider series; Obama: The Call of History by Peter Baker; and Georgia O'Keeffe: One Hundred Flowers.

The fall list consists of eight titles, including Bob Dylan: Mixing Up the Medicine, which has new material from Dylan's personal archive in the Bob Dylan Center; The Unconquerable Game: My Life in Golf & Business by Ely Callaway; The Unconquerable Game by Ely Callaway; and Jack the Wolf by Sean Scully and Oisin Scully, the first in a series of stories created by artist families.

Todd McGarity, Hachette's v-p of corporate business development & strategy, said, "Callaway's publications are beautiful, whether created for children, art enthusiasts, or pop culture fans. We are excited to welcome Callaway into our family of clients, and help new audiences discover their wonderful books."

Callaway founder and CEO Nicholas Callaway said, "As an independent, integrated cross-platform media company with book publishing at its heart, we are thrilled to join forces with Hachette Book Group and its renowned sales team. We will expand the depth and breadth of our book program with regard to the number of titles released per year, the range of subject categories, and increase our presence across national accounts, independent stores, museum shops, special markets, e-commerce as well as direct-to-consumer channels."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Michelle Hord on Good Morning America

Good Morning America: Michelle Hord, author of The Other Side of Yet: Finding Light in the Midst of Darkness (Atria, $17.99, 9781982173531).

Movies: Lies We Sing to the Sea

Writer Ripley Parker will adapt Sarah Underwood's debut YA fantasy novel Lies We Sing to the Sea for film. The Hollywood Reporter noted that the book, which was "snapped up in a pre-empt by Farshore in the U.K. and its sister company HarperCollins Children's Books in the U.S.," and has already hit the bestseller lists.

"I couldn't be more thrilled and honored to have been entrusted with these characters," said Parker. "To be handed someone else's story for safekeeping is such a beautiful responsibility, and I only hope I can do it justice. It's a truly incredible book, and Sarah is obviously prodigiously talented. The world will very soon be clamoring for more of her words. I'm so thrilled to be working with her, and all the wonderful folks at Archery."

Underwood added: "I'm absolutely thrilled that Lies We Sing to the Sea is being adapted for film, and I cannot imagine a better home for it than at Archery Pictures. It's been wonderful to see Ripley's enthusiasm for this project; I know that Leto, Melantho and Mathias are in the very best of hands."

Books & Authors

Awards: Story Prize Winner

The winner of the $20,000 Story Prize, which "honors the author of an outstanding collection of short fiction," is Ling Ma for Bliss Montage (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux). The other finalists were Andrea Barrett for Natural History (W.W. Norton) and Morgan Talty for Night of the Living Rez (Tin House), both of whom receives $5,000.

Organizers said that Ma's "collection blends speculative and realistic elements in narratives that frequently verge on the absurd and the surreal. Despite the often-comical situations Ma's characters find themselves in, these precise and skillful stories also reveal hard truths in a plain but elegant style that powerfully amplifies their revelations."

Ma's first book, the novel Severance (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux), received the Kirkus Prize, a Whiting Award, the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award, and the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award.

Reading with... Madelaine Lucas

photo: Kylie Coutts

Madelaine Lucas is a senior editor of NOON and teaches fiction at Columbia University. Her nonfiction writing has appeared in the Believer, Literary Hub, Paris Review Daily and elsewhere. She is from Sydney, Australia, and lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. Her debut novel, Thirst for Salt (Tin House), is a coming-of-age story about desire.

Handsell readers your book in 25 words or less:

It's a novel about cautious daughters, wayward mothers, the wounding allure of an older man, beloved long-dead dogs and the curative powers of the ocean.

On your nightstand now:

A Life's Work by Rachel Cusk, Real Estate by Deborah Levy and two volumes of Helen Garner's diaries are at the top of my ever-expanding TBR pile. There's an idea that family life is antithetical to creative life (especially for women), so I'm always interested in reading about how writers who are also mothers have navigated these competing desires and, despite the challenges, made it work.

Favorite book when you were a child:

The first books I loved were the ones my father read aloud to me, like Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne, The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien and the entire Oz series by L. Frank Baum.

Like a lot of children, I was drawn to tales of animals and adventures in faraway lands--Martin the Warrior by Brian Jacques was another favorite. But even from a young age, I remember also looking to books to help me understand my own experiences. For that reason, I was drawn to the slightly less popular Ann M. Martin series, Baby-Sitters Little Sister. The main character, Karen, was closer to my age than her teenage stepsister Kristy, and, like me, she had a blended family and went back and forth between two households.

Your top five authors:

An impossible question, and I hope the answer continues to change over the course of my life. But five authors particularly important to my thinking through the themes of intimacy and desire in Thirst for Salt were Garth Greenwell, Rachel Cusk, Yuko Tsushima, Sara Majka and Helen Garner. I'll read anything by these writers, because what I love best about them is the insights of their particular minds at work.

Book you've faked reading:

Gosh! A shameful number of classics that I'm sure I have referred to knowingly in conversation, their plots so familiar to me from pop culture, studying literature and movie adaptions, though I've never actually read them.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Jesus' Son by Denis Johnson, which I apparently mention so frequently in conversation that my husband has started to tease me about it. No one captures both the absurdity and fragile beauty of being alive quite like Johnson. The cast of Jesus' Son are down-and-out drifters and addicts but Johnson allows these characters to inhabit a full range of emotions--moments of tenderness, violence, grief, and revelation are all equal parts of our narrator Fuckhead's experience of life on the margins. The collection is full of single sentences that will crack you open, like: "She wanted to eat my heart and be lost in the desert with what she'd done, she wanted to fall on her knees and give birth from it, she wanted to hurt me as only a child can be hurt by its mother."

Book you've bought for the cover:

So many! I love a book that is also a beautiful, decorative object. Sometimes I'll even buy a different edition of a title I already own if I like the design. One of my favorites is the paperback mass market version of Joan Didion's A Book of Common Prayer, which features a woman's manicured hand flicking a silver cigarette lighter and gaudy gold type.

Book you hid from your parents:

I suppose you could say my own! I didn't hide the fact that I was working on a novel to my parents, but I also didn't want to share it with them until I knew it was finished. I am intensely private in the early drafting stage--maybe going through an MFA program with two years of constant feedback has made me wary of too many cooks, so to speak. It's a natural impulse to want to show what we make to those we love, but when I feel this urge, I try to question it. What am I looking for? Do I genuinely want feedback, and am I prepared to hear it? Or am I just craving validation? If the latter, I try to resist, because I know that even a well-meaning comment has the potential to set me off course. It's a delicate process, and easy to lose one's nerve, so I try to protect my creativity as much as possible by not sharing my work until I feel ready to meet a reader's reactions.

Book that changed your life:

Since 2015 I have been part of the small editorial team helmed by Diane Williams at the literary annual NOON. Although not a book per se, each NOON I've worked on has had an impact on my life. Putting together each edition is an intimate, collaborative process. We read all submissions under consideration aloud together, and until the pandemic forced us to go remote, this took place around a kitchen table in Diane Williams's apartment. Working at NOON has given me sharper editorial eye and ear, and made me a much slower writer and reader, but it's also encouraged me stay alive to the pleasures and possibilities of language. It's a privilege to be trusted with another writer's story--and a healthy practice for all artists, too, I think, to spend time investing in the work of others and championing it. I'm grateful that my work as an editor and teacher gives me an opportunity to do this.

Favorite line from a book:

I could pick almost any line from Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping, but this sentence lingers in my mind, like music: "For when does a berry break upon the tongue as sweetly as when one longs to taste it, and when is the taste refracted into so many hues and savors of ripeness and earth, and when do our senses know any thing so utterly as when we lack it?"

Five books you'll never part with:

Five books that have lived on my desk at one point or another, so they might be within an arm's reach, are: Actual Air by David Berman, Cities I've Never Lived In by Sara Majka, Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson, Motel Chronicles by Sam Shepard and Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion. These books are talismans of sorts, and I've returned to their pages often for comfort, good company and renewed courage to write the world the way I see it.

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

I'm a big believer in rereading, and the books I love the most have continued to reveal more to me each time I've revisited them. I have an ongoing relationship with them in this way, and so it's not often that I find myself wishing to recover that initial reading experience. There is always more to learn, and to gain, beyond that first encounter.

Book Review

Review: Old Flame

Old Flame by Molly Prentiss (Gallery/Scout Press, $27.99 hardcover, 320p., 9781501121586, April 11, 2023)

Following Tuesday Nights in 1980, Molly Prentiss presents another ambitious and brilliant novel. Old Flame stars a young woman seeking connection in busy New York City and picturesque Bologna, while wrestling with its many permutations.  

Emily is performing a life. She's about 30 years old, has graduated from bartending to a "real job" writing advertising copy for an iconic department store. She has a boyfriend and "a shitty but workable basement apartment in Williamsburg that, because of my real-job salary, I did not have to share." She steals time at work to read poems and even do a little writing, but her lofty artistic goals aren't coming together in the gaps between witty headlines about bras and descriptions of leather satchels. She perpetually feels the absence of her mother, who died in childbirth, and the shortcomings of her rigid, distant adoptive mother.

As the novel opens, Emily's creative department is finalizing the Women's Book, a biannual catalogue, and Emily is moving from just-work-friends to real-friends status with Megan, a graphic designer. Megan sends Emily a drawing, Emily responds with a short story, and the two are off and running on a truly creative project: The Other Women's Book, Emily proposes, and Megan responds: YES. In quick succession, a troubled affair, a layoff and a wedding invitation both cement the women's friendship and upend their circumstances. More or less spontaneously they travel together to Italy, where Emily spent an important year abroad when she was about 20. And in Italy, an unplanned pregnancy and a devastating fight with Megan shatter Emily's tenuously structured life.

Old Flame considers the particular challenges of being a young artist in New York, balancing the kind of work that pays ("the magnet was capitalism, but I couldn't see that then") with the kind that inspires. It considers feminism and appearances, how people see themselves versus how others see them: in literal terms, Emily's boyfriend is a photographer, and she questions the pictures he takes of her and the ones he displays in his studio; figuratively, of course, the possibilities multiply. Prentiss is a master of detailed descriptions, character studies, highly specific lists and meaningful settings. New York is hectic, fast-changing and inspirational; Bologna is romantic and somehow simultaneously disorienting and comforting. Emily's deepest struggle is in navigating personal relationships: as a romantic partner, a daughter, a friend, a mother. By novel's end, she will have learned a little about what these roles mean.

With Old Flame, Prentiss offers a sensitive story, gorgeously detailed and painfully realistic, about the lives and ordeals of women and artists, and what it means to seek and shape connection in the modern world. Filled with both snark and wisdom, this novel is a gift of love and forgiveness. --Julia Kastner, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Shelf Talker: A young modern woman explores and redefines her roles as advertising copywriter, creative writer, friend, daughter, lover, partner and mother in this exquisitely detailed rendering.

Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: Murder Ink--'My Friendly Ghost Wafts About Her Bookstore'

Every good story begins, literally or figuratively, with "imagine...." On the dedication page for Murder Ink: the Mystery Reader's Companion (Workman Publishing, 1977), Dilys Winn wrote, in part: "Imagine, if you will, a Mission oak desk. Now cover it with want lists and order forms and surround it with floor to ceiling bookcases. Behind it seat a slim, graceful woman who loves mysteries so much, she owns a bookstore devoted to them. Her name is Carol Brener and her business life is a series of 'Carol, what should I read next?' and 'Carol, tell me your favorites' and 'Carol, could we swap places?'

"In effect, she and I did swap places. She had written a book then decided she wanted to be a mystery store proprietor. I had been a proprietor, then became eager to do a book. Neither of us could have done it without the other, I think, and as my friendly ghost wafts about her bookstore so her helpful spirit permeates this book."

Dilys Winn

I owned a copy of Murder Ink for many years, but it has long vanished from my collection. I was reminded of it and of the bookshop recently when the New York Times published a belated obituary for Winn as part of the newspaper's mea culpa series Overlooked No More, which resurrects the lives of "remarkable people whose deaths, beginning in 1851, went unreported in the Times."

In 1972, Winn was inspired to open a bookstore that would sell only mysteries, but she knew nothing about the book business. Undaunted, she visited bookstores in Manhattan, making lists of titles and publishers, then placed her own orders. She found an empty storefront for rent on West 87th Street, between Broadway and West End Ave., and opened Murder Ink, believed to be the nation's first bookstore devoted entirely to the genre.

"Some books were crammed into wooden bookcases along paisley papered walls," the Times reported. "Others were stacked in piles or scattered about next to jars of pretzels and candy. Flower arrangements hung from the ceiling, cats and dogs lay on the plaid linoleum floor, and presiding over it all was Winn, at her enormous partner's desk."

Though Murder Ink's early days were challenging, the shop quickly became a success. By the end of the year, it had more than doubled its inventory. To thank her friends and supporters, Winn held a St. Valentine's Day Massacre-themed party in the parking garage next door with a menu that included Bloody Marys and a cake adorned with a handgun, which would become the store's trademark. 

Ultimately, she enjoyed hosting events so much that she sold the bookstore to Brener in 1975 and began holding Sunday afternoon mystery talks at the Steinway Concert Hall on the Upper West Side featuring mystery writers, editors and other guest speakers.

Mystery Weekend at Mohonk Mountain House

In 1977, Winn partnered with Brener and Carolyn Fiske, director of development at Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, N.Y., to mastermind an immersive whodunit, held in the dead of winter, that attracted 250 guests, including Stephen King and Isaac Asimov. By 1982, however, Winn was ready to move on, and turned the venture over to author Donald Westlake and his wife, Abigail. The Mohonk Mystery Weekend, now produced by Murder Café, is currently in its 47th year.
As she was doing all this, Winn continued working on her book. Published in 1977, Murder Ink included "offbeat essays by established figures and Winn herself (under various nom de plumes), along with character studies, photographs, quizzes and even a guide to 'terrible edibles' one might avoid--or seek, depending on the motive," the Times noted. In 1978, the Mystery Writers of America gave her an Edgar Award, and the next year she published a sequel, Murderess Ink: The Better Half of the Mystery.

In the Overlooked obit, there are more details about Winn's complicated later life (no tidy endings here). She did, however, open Miss Marple's Parlour mystery bookshop in Key West, Fla., during the 1990s. And the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association established a Dilys Award in 1992, presented annually to the mystery title its member booksellers most enjoyed selling. It was discontinued after 2014.

My connections to Murder Ink bookshop are relatively minor, but reading Winn's obit made me realize they still resonate. In the mid-1980s, I fancied myself an emerging mystery writer, and began publishing what would eventually become about 20 short stories in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine. I joined the Mystery Writers of America. I often ordered books from Murder Ink, including, of course, Murder Ink. I think the owner at the time even had a small newsletter I subscribed to, but that might be a false clue planted by suspect memory. 

I didn't have a chance visit the bookshop itself until the late 1990s, when one of our good friends bought an apartment in the building above what was destined to be Murder Ink's final storefront, near the corner of Broadway and 92nd St. The business had gone through several owners at that point, but still retained its aura for me. 

In 2006, Murder Ink and its younger sister store, Ivy's Books and Curiosities, closed. The Times reported that owner Jay Pearsall had posted a sign in the window announcing December 31 as the final day. "We've been having a hard time keeping up," he said.

After its closure, Murder Ink's completely altered last storefront did feel haunted whenever I walked by. And today I find myself thinking about Dilys Winn, who long ago imagined herself as a friendly ghost wafting about her friend's bookstore. 

--Robert Gray, contributing editor

KidsBuzz: Highwater Press: Heart Berry Bling by Jenny Kay Dupuis, illus. by Eva Campbell
Powered by: Xtenit