Thursday, July 07, 2005

Foraging for Used Books

Ooooo. Oooo! A paycheck, a few extra dollars after tithing and bill-paying, and a trip to the downtown library to return some books brought me today to the rear entrance of my favorite used bookshop on Spartanburg’s Main Street (Books ’n’ Stuff; phone (864) 542-0887). For my time invested browing the shelves on this blustery day, waiting out the aftereffects of a tropical storm that has swirled far inland, I came away with:

* Bloody Business: An Anecdotal History of Scotland Yard by H. Paul Jeffers (Barnes & Nobel, 1992);
* The Edge of the Unknown by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1930);
* The Murder Book: An Illustrated History of the Detective Story by Tage la Cour & Harald Mogensen (Herder and Herder, 1971).

All are hardbacks. Total cost: so cheap I cannot reveal it. It's truly a pity such works are relegated to the bargain sections these years -- but we hope to change that by heightening awareness in classical, historical mystery fiction and nonfiction. (Don't we?!?)

As you probably know, Doyle immersed himself in spiritualism during much of his later life, partly in reaction to the death of his son. The Edge of the Unknown, possibly his last work, chronicles some of his investigations and personal experiences, with observations on Houdini, ghosts, etc. The Murder Book is particularly well illustrated.

Gotta go dig in. And you should pay a visit to your local used bookshop or antique store with an "old books" corner. Never know what deals you'll dust off. . . .


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