Monday, 19 March 2012
Murder, magic and music
Most readers of this blog are, I think, fans of independent bookshops, and I had a great time last Thursday evening visiting Formby Books, a newish venture set up by Tony, a very good and experienced bookseller. It really was as varied and enjoyable a bookshop event as I’ve participated in.
Formby is a very pleasing place, located between Liverpool and Southport, but with a distinct identity. The shop shares premises with a florist’s, and there is a cafe (a very good idea!). Tony had arranged wine and nibbles, but none of us expected a turnout of 60 on a chilly evening. A very gratifying response from the local community.
There was a magician, John Harding, who works sometimes for Manchester United (actually, Man City are in need of magic more at present, I'm sorry to say), and a glamorous singer, Vicky Abban, who amazingly turned out to be Tony’s deputy manager (should Marc Amos recruit a singing assistant, I wonder?). John did up-close tricks which engaged the audience greatly, while Vicky chose numbers with a crime/thriller link (but I should have requested my favourite Bond theme, “We Have All the Time in the World” – I’m sure she’d have done that brilliant John Barry-Hal David song really well.)
Then I shared the platform with my old chum Kate Ellis, who was launching her new book, The Cadaver Game. The event coincided very happily with publication of All the Lonely People as an Arcturus Crime Classic, and I’m really excited to see readers buying Harry Devlin’s first adventure 20 years after he first prowled the mean streets of Merseyside. In fact, the book sold out on the night, and various customers placed orders.
The audience included two more old friends, the delightful Liverpool romance writer June Francis, and the versatile sometime crime writer Ron Ellis. It was also good to meet a wide range of other mystery fans – including the moving spirit behind that very good blog In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel, Puzzle Doctor. All too soon the evening was over, but I hope its success will be the start of many good things for Tony and his team.