Monday, November 22, 2010


What is it about book people? And what can they do for you?

There’s something about book people. They are irresistible. Whenever I see a person reading a book or just carrying a book, I feel an instant form of kinship. It’s as if we’re members of a club or secret society with books as our common bond and secret handshake. It doesn’t matter what kind of book, only that it is a book. Newspapers and magazines are good too, but only a book carries that special weight.

I have a magical belief that this book reader must be a good person as well as an interesting person. Of course, as I tilt my head to read the spine of the book my new best friend is clutching, he or she invariably catches me. They don’t necessarily feel that instant connection. I offer as Exhibit A the expression on the face of the businessman who was actually reading the same book that I was on a recent flight from Toronto to Ottawa. As we emerged into the airport, I pointed that out to him. I hope he wasn’t badly injured in his rush to put a little distance between us. But hey, you can’t have everything.

Last week, Barbara Fradkin posted about book launches. I understood completely. That same week, I was clutching signed copies of Beautiful Lie the Dead, Barbara Fradkin’s latest Inspector Green and In Winter’s Grip, Brenda Chapman’s terrific first adult myster at their joint launch. Glancing around the Library and Archives Canada, I felt a warm sense of kinship with others who were holding the same books and celebrating the same authors. I’ll be keeping my eyes open for people reading these terrific crime novels in my travels.

Some of the best book people can’t confine themselves to one-on-one discussions or even launches. They love books and they love authors. They write; they read; they write about reading. They enjoy the connection and the community and being part of spreading the good word. If they are also organized, they can expand this into a blog with invited authors or a website of book reviews. What better way to connect with others in the reading club than by sharing discoveries and opinions? It’s better yet if mystery is their focus. One site that I really enjoy is Jim Napier’s Jim is not only the mystery book reviewer (The Suspended Sentence) for The Sherbrooke Record, Quebec’s largest English language paper outside Montreal, but also serves up this useful online mix of current book reviews, genre discussions, resources and information for readers and crime writers. Deadly Diversions is an excellent and welcoming club house for us to drop into! It’s also well worth bookmarking and adding to your weblinks, if you have such critters.

I hope you will pop over to Jim’s site and check it out. Tell your friends. While you’re at it, what’s your favorite sources of information about mysteries, reviews and opinions? Outside of Mystery Maven Canada, of course!

Mary Jane Maffini rides herd on three, soon to be three and a half, mystery series. You can check them out at


  1. I enjoy Jim's site & his reviews. It's good there are these alternatives, in particular since Margaret Cannon has been scaled back, some might even say hidden.
    Just proves Canadian crime writing is alive & well.

  2. Jim's site is great. I also read the many mystery blogs and always come away from the laptop with more books and authors to try out. I like your notion of a like-minded, book-reading community.