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Recent Purchases - 2/10/2022

At some point in the last year Barnes and Noble got interested in selling Crime Fiction. The last four Barnes & Noble in four different cities and in two different states I browsed now have large displays that feature Crime Fiction. For years Crime Fiction was shoe horned between Sci-Fi and the General Fiction section. Usually buried in the back half of the store taking up only 2 or 3 shelves with only meager hardcover availability. Now in 3 of the 4 stores I visited there was a large U-Shaped section encompassing 16-20 shelves. In all cases there were dozens of hardcover offerings. It looked great to see that much variety and it certainly spurred the purchase of the three books below.

So after not buying from Barnes and Noble for the last handful of years...save for the most desperate circumstances...I think I might have to reconsider. Anyway these are my recent purchases.

THE MAID - Nita Prose

I went from definitely getting this, to not getting this, to putting a hold at the Library for this, to buying this in about a 48 hour period. I am a Crime Fiction reader of simple pleasures. I need a dead body. And if that dead body is in an English manor with Upstairs/Downstairs shenanigans all the better. But I dislike the GMA sticker, hence the hesitation. It undoes a striking and simple cover. I understand the marketing need, I do. But I would rather have a banner text than this intrusive faux stamp. The branding here just clashes too much.

 THE APPEAL - Janice Hallett

Author's first was released in the U.S. as her second, THE TWYFORD CODE, was arriving in the UK. Lots of praise for this tightly constructed whodunit with an inventive story structure. Not sure how this got on the radar other than UK set Crime Fiction always gets extra consideration.

FIVE DECEMBERS - James Kestrel

A 2022 Edgar nominee and blurbed by a number of authors I love to read. I finally caved to buying this book after picking it up and putting it down a handful of times. I followed the Hard Case Crime books pretty well in their early days. I actively bought the first 20-25 books. The plethora of people calling this an all-timer though won the day.

A quick [Editor's Note: No it is not] bit about Independent Booksellers: I buy independent, when I can. I live in Los Angeles but the closest dedicated Crime Fiction store is not close, as in not in Los Angles County the largest County by population in the United States. There is a wonderful independent store in my neighborhood, but their Crime Fiction is meager, snobbish, and with a healthy tilt to translated Euro titles. I started buying from Poisoned Pen because it supports an Independent and they get a wealth of signed books. But in a one year period more than half of my purchases either had the wrong book or a book not signed that should have been.  Of course I can order any book I want from any store I want...and if you want to wag your finger at me and tsk tsk here you go... because I have no interest in doing that as it relates to Crime Fiction. I have my reasons... condition reasons, timing reasons, social anxiety reasons and I feel like I do enough in other areas.

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