I read a lot of crime fiction, and I’m fortunate enough to work close to a great local bookstore — Aunt Agatha’s New & Used Mysteries, Detection & True Crime Books. Co-owner Jamie really knows his books, and his love for the genre is evident. I’ve had several conversations with him about books, movies, and everything noir; and he doesn’t generally display that glaze in the eyes that typically afflicts others when I speak.
I’ve been sorting through my collection of books and have donated several bags worth to libraries and raffles. After finishing a recently purchased mystery book and deciding that it wasn’t a keeper, it dawned on me that I could probably sell it to Jamie. I took it in to work with me to test this theory, and it sat on my desk for a month while mental notes about selling it piled up in my brain.
Finally on a warm, sunny afternoon I picked it up to go try my luck. Wendi went with me for the excuse to get outside. We walked into the mystery shop, and Jamie greeted us. I presented the book and announced that I’d come to sell it. He sized it up quickly and offered a dollar. That was a buck I didn’t have before, so I readily agreed.
Then he asked if I hadn’t liked the book. I admitted that it hadn’t really grabbed me. After the novelty of being set in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula had worn off, there really hadn’t been anything to hold my attention: murder, treachery, or the like. Jamie allowed that series didn’t have wide appeal, then as an aside mentioned that there was another series based in the UP that might be more my speed.
He walked over to a nearby shelf as he talked and deftly picked out a paperback without seeming to have looked for it. It was the first book in the series, and he thought it’d better suit my taste. Before I knew what was happening, I had paid $3.50 for the book (less the $1 credit) and was heading back to work.
Wendi glanced at my new book curiously. “What’s that?”
I stammered a bit. “He’s really good,” I finally confessed. She just shook her head and allowed that I at least hadn’t increased my book count.
Aunt Agatha’s can’t give the discounted prices that Amazon does, but I’ll happily spend a few extra bucks for recommendations based on actual knowledge.