Friday, August 08, 2008

The Bodies in the Bookstore

At the Used Books Desk, we like buying paperback mysteries the same way that mystery readers enjoy reading them: in "runs" -- one author's multiple titles, and the more, the more merrily murderous. We have a regular customer, a delightful lady, who is also a regular seller. As she works her way through her bookshelves, she brings us five, six, or even a dozen titles at a time by some of the greatest mystery writers of the last century. Yesterday, for example, she brought us ten titles by Dame Ngaio Marsh. That should be a familiar name to regular mystery readers, but if you don't know her, you should.

Dame Ngaio (pronounced variously, but most safely as "Ni - O", her name means "flowering tree" in Maori,) was a New Zealand writer whose 32 mysteries are considered as classic as Christie. Known for her absorbing plots and her resourceful detective Roderick Alleyn, Marsh's interests other than detective fiction: art, theater, and what used to be called "Society," inform many of her best novels.

Our usual high standards regarding the condition of paperback books -- unlined spines, clean pages, no dog ears, etc. -- are followed with particular attention when it comes to our purchase of detective fiction. It doesn't matter how old the books are, so long as they look "new." As a result, we are able to offer many classic detective stories, mysteries and thrillers, at prices which, sadly, have come to be only a memory for the readers of genre fiction. When was the last time you bought a new novel for two or three dollars?

So if you're looking to start a "run" of your own through some classic mysteries, or you're looking to make some space on you shelves, but were unsure if we'd want good, clean copies of your old favorites, drop by. We know where the bodies are buried.

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