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It's a Crime

One our library's best customers is a lady who's getting on a bit, likes a ciggie (judging by the smell of the books when she returns them) and reads a lot of crime novels. When I say a lot, I mean she takes out around ten or twelve on a Saturday and brings them back on a Thursday. Naturally, this means she's read just about every crime novel we've ever had in the history of crime novels, but she gets Very Angry when she can't find anything she hasn't already read.

'Utterly ridiculous,' she tutted and huffed yesterday, twirling the spinners round in an agitated fashion while I was trying to shelve. 'I've read all these, duck,' she said to me, when I accidentally caught her eye. 'I miss your table.' She looked longingly at the space that used to house a display of New Arrivals until it was deemed to be In The Way. Maybe she thought new crime novels materialised overnight, by supernatural means.

'Maybe you should try some of our other branches?' I suggested.

'I 'ave duck,' she said calmly. 'Read 'em all.'

'Would you fancy trying something different?'

'Like what?' She looked at me, outraged. 'I know what I like,' she said affronted. 'But it's very hard to find in this lot.' She gestured at the library in general and that, dear reader, is where I cut my losses and fled. I've had the conversation before, and it didn't end well then.

The fact is, she's read so many crime novels that the authors simply can't keep up with her.

I mention it on the off-chance that one of you might be writing a crime novel. Could you please finish it, publish it and get it to me by next Thursday please?

I'm scared she might be planning some crime of her own involving me, some handcuffs and possibly a couple of cigarette ends.


HelenMHunt said…
I'm writing a sort of crime/mystery novel. (I use the words 'sort of' advisedly.) So if your lady would like to make a small contribution to my 'giving up work fund' (say £30,000 or so) then I'm sure I could finish it for her fairly quickly.
Suzanne said…
Scary biscuits.

Although have to admit am impressed that she can read that fast.

Cait O'Connor said…
I have the same problem with voracious readers. Large prints readers and Talking Book listeners are the hardest to satisfy.
Paul Capewell said…
Haha, lovely story. Perhaps because I know exactly who you mean! It's funny when readers feel like they've exhausted your selection - however in this lady's case I'm fairly sure she has.

God knows what you do when you've read every single book in the genre you like.
Mickmouse said…
Maybe she is researching for a novel!! Or perhaps she is the nictotine addicts answer to Miss Marple!
Maybe she should raid charity shops too!
Pat Posner said…
I think you've got the start of your own crime novel here: "Murder by the Book Spinners"

Have you tried sending her to the YA section?
wordtryst said…
My current novel is romance, but I managed to squeeze in a fair amount of criminal activity. I'll undercut Helen and propose 25,000. That a quarter million in local currency and I can live quite happily on that. I'll even write a special Caribbean crime mystery along the lines of Finding Maubee by AHZ Carr - which I'm sure she's read - and dedicate it to her.
Amanda said…
Pat's right, this reads like the start of a crime novel in itself! (Don't get any ideas missy, not yet anyway!) ;-))
Debs said…
Bless her, it's horrible when you can't find something to read. Mind you, she does sound rather scary.

How can anyone read so many books so quickly?
liz fenwick said…
You've been promoted to full racer. CXan you drop me an email - addy on blog
Lane said…
Never been keen on the cliche 'voracious reader' but in Mrs Spinner's case, it fits - well 'voracious crime reader' anyway:-)

Congrats on becoming a 'fully fledged' Racer:-)
Ah the poor old duck is probably looking for the perfect crime to knock off her old man!
L-Plate Author said…
Ha, I'm writing crime and I can beat Helen and Wordtryst and go for 20k, even 15k. There's only me and the bloke from Stoke, and the boys too. As long as I can still have my chocolate...

And congrats on being a fully fledged novel racer. Welcome to the club! So glad you made it!
Dumdad said…
I'm impressed not just with her reading but in the fact she can remember all the crime novels she's read. I've read a lot of Rankins and Christies and Hills etc but after a few years I can never quite remember which ones.
Chicklit Addict said…
Oh how I wish I worked in a library! The most perfect place to be a voyeur (or perhaps 'people-watcher' is a better term, less racy and potentially pervy, which is NOT how I meant it!). Like the sound of scary crime-reading lady and how I envy her life - I'd love to have the time to read 12 books in under a week!
HelenMHunt said…
OK, OK. I'll do it for 10k! I'll just have to tell the cats I'm cutting back on luxuries - like cat biscuits.
I'm with Dumdad on this one. How on earth can she remember them all? And at the moment I'd undercut you all. I'd do it for 5,000, and I'd do it fast:)
LauraCassidy said…
hehehe. Every library has one!
Lily Sheehan said…
I wish I was - she sounds like a nightmare. But still I shall say ah bless
Annieye said…
This did make me giggle, Karen. I wish you worked in our library. The reference library is out of action in Kettering at the moment and I'm lost - I get as much enjoyment out of people watching as I do from researching or writing.
Edward said…
I heard PD James on the radio talking about Cyril Hare's Tragedy At Law - just been re-released apparently. Just thought I'd mention it.
KAREN said…
Lots of offers to write crime novels there - I daren't mention it to her or she might come round to your houses and read them as you're writing!!
Tam said…
Blummin 'eck, it all happens round your neck of the woods. Chav mums, nutty old women, all you need now is an impossibly glam vamp and you'll have the set!
I have total admiration for the old dear. I'm lucky if I read 12 books a year.
KeVin K. said…
I once thought I had an infestation of voracious readers, but they turned out to be mice....

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