Thursday, July 19, 2007

... and the Bad News

Just seven months after the closing of New York City’s famed Murder Ink bookstore comes the sad news that a second Manhattan landmark for crime-fiction fans, The Black Orchid Book Shop on East 81st Street, will be shutting its doors for good come September. A note today on the store’s Web site explains that this move is being made for “both personal and business reasons.”

The news prompted a round of heartfelt blog postings earlier today. “I cut my teeth on mystery growing up in Queens,” writes Anthony Rainone, a Rap Sheet and January Magazine contributor, “but the genre took hold and blossomed in me at [Bonnie Claeson and Joe Guglielmelli’s] quaint store in Manhattan. The memories are many and all good. I’m just too sad to write much more on this.” (Fortunately, Rainone has written a good deal about the Black Orchid before. Check out this excellent piece he penned for Crimespree Magazine last year.)

Sarah Weinman, though, looks to the bright side of this development. “But September isn’t here yet,” she observes in Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind, “and the shop plans their 13th anniversary party nonetheless on August 16, starting at 6 PM. It may be farewell, but it’s also sure to be a hell of a party. And ‘even though we may no longer have a brick and mortar presence in the mystery community,’ write Bonnie and Joe on the store’s website, ‘we still plan to be around. So, for our song, may be we follow the lead of another large-sized albeit fictional Italian, put some money in the jukebox, and play Journey. We won’t stop believing and just hold on to the feeling.”

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