Thursday, 18 October 2007

Murder Squad Tour Continued

Last night the Murder Squad visited Lingham’s bookshop in Heswall, Wirral. This is Margaret Murphy’s home patch and Cath Staincliffe and I joined her. Lingham’s – like Pritchard’s in Formby, which we visit tonight – is one of the best independent booksellers in the North West. It’s well documented that times are hard for bookshops – as they are for most retail outlets in the age of heavily discounted online selling. But both shops focus on personal service and quality and, in their distinctive ways, prove that a well-run, customer-friendly business can thrive even in tricky market conditions.

What we lack in North West England is a bookshop specialising in crime fiction. I’m always impressed by the specialist shops that seem to thrive in the US – although they too, I guess, have to come up with plenty of fresh thinking to cope with the threat of the internet.

Back in February, I appeared at the legendary Poisoned Pen Bookstore in Scottsdale, Arizona. Poisoned Pen Press are my US publishers and seeing the famous shop for the first time was a memorable experience. Made all the more so by my appearance at the store with the Stetson-wearing Sandi Ault and accompanying wolf (yes!) on my first night in town. Heswall was less dramatic. But fun all the same.

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