Friday, October 1, 2010

Helen Simpson, of Big Sleep Books "Mystery Advocate"

When my wife and I get to over to St. Louis, (as often as we can & afford) their are several places we usually try to get to while we're there. Those special places include Ted Drewes, Left Bank Books, Blueberry Hill, Big Sleep Books, Subterranean Books, The Tivoli Theatre, Plaza Frontenac, St. Louis County Library, The Fox Theatre, Vintage Vinyl, U. City, Central West End, The Hill. They all hold a special place in my heart and my wife Judy & I , have shared many special moments there. On Thursday evening, we headed over to St. Louis on an absolutely gorgeous evening to hear & meet Jonathan Safran Foer at Washington University at 7 p.m. We were running a bit behind due to a fender bender before we left town, so we didn't get into town till about 5:45p.m. Nonetheless, as were driving over to Wash. U., there it was. The neon "Open" sign of BIG SLEEP BOOKS, and like a moth to a flame I was drawn inside for a chance to say hello and visit with the stores dear owner, Helen Simpson. Even if I didn't buy a book (and I always do) it's worth it to just stop by and listen to Helen regale stories of her 20 + years in the book business and especially the mystery field. She knows her product and the authors who produce it. Over the years she has led me to many wonderful books. She has always been courteous and kind, a smiling face. She has even appeared in one of Robert Randisi's books as herself. How many booksellers can make that claim? On this night, I was rewarded as I knew I would be, as we spent a half hour just discussing writers, bookstores, book events, and exchanging stories from the past. Helen has many wonderful stories from a long career in the mystery world. I won't give her age, or I might become a casualty the next time I'm in the store...but I only can hope and pray that I'm as sharp, clever, witty, and as lovely as she is when I reach it. Helen does more, much more than sell books...she has lived a life immersed in the mystery world, she has transcended it. If you want to find out for yourself and make a new friend, drop by Big Sleep at 239 N. Euclid in St. Louis, or you can look for her at Printers Row in Chicago, or Bouchercon or the book event in Muncie,In. She'll be there, selling books, promoting authors and turning book lovers on to a new author. In my opinion she is an Institution herself in the Mystery World. p.s Thanks for the D.W. story! Just another wonderful night in St. Louis.

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