Sunday 10 February 2008

Making Hay

I’ve just come back from one of my favourite places, the book town, Hay on Wye. Yesterday was the sunniest and pleasantest day of the year so far and the good weather made the trip all the more enjoyable.

It’s an atmospheric place, with narrow streets, a castle, and a town clock (the latter currently encased in scaffolding) and an almost endless supply of second hand bookshops. Here are pictures of the castle, Richard Booth's legendary shop, and the specialist crime shop 'Murder and Mayhem'. The temptation to make too many purchases in such a place is almost impossible to resist.

I limited myself to buying a mere seven books. Admirable restraint, in my opinion, though an alternative view is that it strengthens the grounds for divorce. The titles include Writing Crime Novels by John Paxton Sheriff (I must confess Mr Sheriff’s own work in the genre has so far eluded me.)

The real gem, though, was Faces in the Dark by my favourite French writers, Boileau and Narcejac. A bargain and, in fact, a book I’ve never even seen for sale before. Really looking forward to reading it.


Juliet said...

Are you implying that it wasn't exactly 'self-restraint' which resulted in this modest (meagre, one might be tempted to say) haul? Have your credit cards been cut up or what?!?

Hay is a place which - knowing my own incurable weaknesses as well as I do - I have long steered well clear of!

Martin Edwards said...

Yes, it's a dangerous place for a book-lover. The real trouble with books, as you know, is that space in any house is finite. The nightmarish prospect of disposing of some of the books to make room for others is starting to loom!

Juliet said...

You have my deepest sympathies.

Karen (Euro Crime) said...

First edition of Faces in the Dark is up for £268 (, so I may have to stick to Vargas :-).

I love Hay too. Excellent vegetarian food at the Granary followed by browsing second hand bookshops and a £1 new books shop is my idea of heaven.

I treat myself to a trip about twice a year and stock up on coffee creams from the Fudge Shop for my mum as I can't find them anywhere else (as if I need an excuse :-)).

Kent Morgan said...

Being a Canadian, you can imagine how difficult it was for me to decide which books to purchase during my only trip to Hay a few years ago. The bus ride on that narrow road into Hay was quite an experience. I had planned to stay a couple of days, but settled for one night. Had to get out of town with the half dozen or so books I bought the first day. Did find book two of David Peace's Red Riding Quarette. Too many bookstores, not enough room in my luggage.

Kent Morgan

Martin Edwards said...

Karen, we stopped by at the Granary: a coffee for me and a lemonade for my webmaster and book-hunting companion, who is now on half term holidays, lucky thing.
Amazingly, Faces in the Dark cost a mere £2.50. It was an elderly paperback, but even so...

Kent, I vividly remember my own first visit to Hay. I thought it wonderful and still do. It even boasts its own classic murder case: the Armstrong case.