Re: RARA-AVIS: Bookstore Categories
Wed, 20 Jan 1999 09:46:25 -0500 <<Have many of you found Hardboiled books separated from the general
mystery category at your favorite bookstores?>>

One of the local used shops I frequent stocks quite a few mysteries and has
them broken up in a variety of ways.

English Mysteries contains all the usual suspects: Agatha Christie, Conan
Doyle and all their soft-boiled Brit relations, including the cozies.

Then there are two other Mystery sections that I can't quite figure out how
the owner determines which goes where: One contains supposedly harder-edged
spy and mystery writers like David Lindsey, Lawrence Block, John D.
McDonald, Donald Hamilton, Dan Marlowe, Max Allan Collins, Brett Halliday,
Donald Westlake, James Ellroy, Dashiell Hammett, Carter Brown, Michael
Connelly, Clive Cussler, Ed McBain and so forth. (Although Matt Helm sits
in this section, Edward Aarons' Sam Durrell and Philip Atlee's Joe Gall
Gold Medal series are shelved elsewhere with the other adventure series,
such as Mack Bolan, The Penetrator, The Destroyer, et al.)

The second non-cozy Mystery section, which sits next to the English Mystery
section, contains mostly P.I. novels and older (and supposedly less
hard-boiled) writers. But the authors there don't always live up to that
billing: Tucker Coe, Erle Stanley Gardner, Edgar Box, K.C. Constantine,
Dorothy Hughes, Jonathan Valin, and a whole mishmash of others, including
most of the contemporary women mystery writers like Sue Grafton.

When I'm looking for something specific, I usually browse both of the
non-English Mystery sections. When I once asked the owner about the logic
behind this division, she said her experience with her "little old lady
customers" told her they didn't want to get home with a book that turned
out to be graphically violent -- so she tried to put the less brutal books
by the cozies. Even she admitted that it was a tough call for some books.
And after all, some of those little old ladies occasionally enjoyed those
harder edged books as guilty pleasures.

Well, the little old lady who ran the shop recently sold it to a couple who
seem to not have a lot of background in the mystery reading arena -- for
example, I recently had to explain what a procedural is. So as they remake
the shop into their own image, I wonder how the many mystery sections shall
-- Duane

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