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April 28, 2008

Crime Fiction: A Bookseller's Perspective

Posted by carol
Murder and mayhem is the theme this week on the blog, to tie in with Thursday's annual Edgar Awards sponsored by Mystery Writers of America (MWA). Starting us off today is Joanne Sinchuk, the owner of Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore in Delray Beach, Florida, who talks about the three mystery-themed book clubs she facilitates. Guest blogging the rest of the week will be four mystery and thriller authors. We'll keep you in suspense about who they are... How many mystery book clubs do you host at your store?
Joanne Sinchuk:
Two. One meets the third Wednesday of the month at 6:30 pm, and the other meets the third Sunday of the month at 3:00 pm. Are the book clubs at your store focused on a specific theme or type of book?
One reads books chosen by the group members themselves. The other is reading the books listed in 100 Favorite Mysteries of the 20th Century, selected by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association and published by Crum Creek Press. About how many people participate in each discussion at the store?
Anywhere from 6 to 20 depending on the time of year. Beyond the official store club do you also work with other book clubs?
We also lead a book club at the West Palm Beach Library. Do you use discussion guides?
Whenever possible. We use whenever we can. Have authors ever participated in the discussions, either by phone or in person?
Both, along with other guest speakers. One group is reading The Maltese Falcon next month because it is Broward County's one book/one read choice, and Tara Zimmerman from the Florida Center for the Book will be the guest speaker in person to discuss why it was chosen.

The West Palm Beach Library book group is reading the Top 2007 Mysteries as published by mystery reviewer Oline Cogdill of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, and Oline has graciously consented to speak to the group in person on why she chose some of the books.

We have had many local authors speaking in person, and have had many others on speaker phone to address the groups. Why does crime fiction make for great discussions?
Because they are so plot intensive, most of our discussions revolve around plot. Also motive: We all sense within ourselves the potential for crime motivation. What books have inspired the most interesting conversations?
The Virgin of Small Plains, A Place of Execution, The Thirteenth Tale, Murder in the Marais, What the Dead Know, Jar City, Blood Hollow, and To Kill a Mockingbird.