Sunday, 22 June 2008

A visit to Sam Read

Grasmere is one of my favourite places and, I suppose, one of the British villages most visited by tourists because of the Wordsworth associations. I managed to combine a trip to the Kendal book fair with a call at Sam Read’s bookshop in Grasmere, where I was made very welcome by the owner, Elaine Nelson, and had the chance to sign plenty of copies of the Lake District Mysteries.

The shop dates back to the 1880s, and is apparently one of the very oldest independent bookstores in England. I’m a huge fan of the independents, and worry about the disappearance of good shops in the face of fierce price competition from the supermarkets and the internet. Happily, Sam Read is evidently continuing to do very well, benefiting not just from Elaine’s personal management, but also a superb location – always a huge asset for a retailer.

Elaine and her husband live just across the road in a house called Undercrag – a great name that she’s agreed that I can borrow for Hannah’s newly acquired home in the next Lake District mystery. Not only do they have no commuting to worry about, they divide their time between Grasmere and France; sounds like an idyllic lifestyle.

No comments: