New books featuring veteran detectives Vera Stanhope and Sharon McCone. Perhaps they could save Seattle Mystery Bookshop?
For years, Seattle Mystery Bookshop (SMB) has offered used and new books, friendly expertise and personalized recommendations to its loyal customers. It has also hosted countless local and visiting authors for signings and informal schmoozing sessions.
It saddens me to report, then, that SMB has fallen victim to the market forces that have killed so many indie bookstores.
Attention, techie zillionaires! It’s not too late to snap it up. How sweetly ironic it would be if a mystery lover from Amazon, which has helped kill so many bookstores, buys the place.
In anticipation of closing, SMB is shedding stock: 50 percent off on all used books and 30 percent on all new books published before 2017.
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At the very least, I urge everyone to visit the store or its website (117 Cherry St., seattlemystery.com) before it’s too late.
In the meantime, here are two recommendations of my own:
Ann Cleeves’ “The Seagull” (Minotaur, 416 pp., $25.99) is the latest in her riveting series about Vera Stanhope (now an equally fine television series as well).
Stanhope, a police detective in the north of England, is a richly nuanced character: frumpy on the outside, brilliant and empathetic on the inside. Her male colleagues often dismiss Stanhope, but that’s offset by her gift for deduction and ability to galvanize her dedicated team into action.
A new case has indeed galvanized both Stanhope and her team. A corrupt, imprisoned cop wants her to look after his troubled daughter and her kids; in exchange, he promises information about a decades-old murder and the villains he associated with — a ring that once included Stanhope’s own corrupt father.
Before Kinsey Millhone, Amy Leduc, V.I. Warshawski and so many others, another female private detective blazed the way: Sharon McCone, the star of veteran writer Marcia Muller’s “The Color of Fear” (Grand Central, 272 pp., $26).
It’s the holiday season, but not everyone is of good cheer: McCone’s elderly father, a distinguished artist, is in a San Francisco hospital, beaten nearly to death by white supremacists. Was it random, or — considering his Native-American heritage — racially motivated? Or was there a deeper reason?
A police sergeant suggests that the crime may be related to McCone herself, an idea that gains force after a malware attack against her, a break-in at the office she shares with her husband (also a PI), and other troubling events.