New York Stories

This may be the first in a series of overheard or otherwise witnessed from the sidelines stories that tell me to write them down.

I was at Partners & Crime mystery bookstore recently in the Village, when an elderly gentleman came in with a request for any books by a particularly obscure author. He spoke slowly, and somewhat loudly, as he mentioned that he was a little hard of hearing. In his working years he had been a writer and editor, and he had recently remembered the name of a writer (the name escapes me) whose books were praised when they were in print but had since passed into obscurity.

There are two ladies who run the store, and the one behind the counter ran her usual search and came up with nothing. She said she doubted that these books would be easy to find anywhere. The man mentioned that this particular store had always come through for him in his previous requests for hard-to-find mystery novels. She tried to let him down easily.

The other woman arrived to the discussion at just this point. She asked for the details, heard the author’s name and promptly contradicted the other lady. Partners & Crime had, in fact, just recently acquired two books by this long out-of-print novelist, unbeknownst to the lady behind the counter. The old man exploded with delight.

What followed was a merry denouement of amazed gratitude and good cheer. I bought some books, too.