Once Upon a Crime in Minneapolis is a small place packed with murder, mayhem, and sweet people. I was there attending the 2011 Write of Spring, an event that brings mystery writers and readers together. Readers snaked through the aisles on this sunny Saturday afternoon, arms loaded with books, talking to friends and strangers.
I was there to see Jessie Chandler, who is celebrating the debut of her Shay O’Hanlan capers just out from Midnight Ink. Her new book Bingo Barge Mystery is a fun romp with coffee shop owner Shay trying to keep her lifelong friend Coop out of jail for the murder of his sleezy boss, the owner of the Bingo Barge, a gambling boat on the Mississippi.
While waiting in line, I met a friendly gentleman who loves all things to do with Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Victorian England. He was there to meet Larry Millett, who writes a series set in St. Paul in which barkeep Shadwell Rafferty solves crimes with the help of SH himself. Imagine dropping Holmes into St. Paul for a little sleuthing on the latest bit of Minnesota not-so-nice. This new Millett, called The Magic Bullet, features a locked room mystery.
Indies like Once Upon a Crime are growing few and far between. I wish this store many years of happiness. As we sit at home downloading books for our Kindle, we forget the energy of book lovers. How they want to tell you about the good read they just finished. How they’ll stand outside a bookstore on a luscious April afternoon and talk about books. How they make a delightful community.