Aunt Agatha’s 20th Anniversary Open House

My how time flies!

October 3rd saw Aunt Agatha’s mystery bookstore hold an open house to celebrate 20 years of operation. The event included an impressive roster of authors from around the country as well as from the Great White North: Rick Blechta, Rhys Bowen, Vicki Delany, Alyse Carlson, Loren D. Estleman, Sharon Fiffer, Steve Hamilton, Libby Fischer Hellmann, D.E. Johnson, William Kent Krueger, Steve Miller, Deborah Morgan, Sharan Newman, Louise Penny, Julia Spencer-Fleming and Sarah Zettel.

20 years is damn impressive, especially considering the economy today. One has to figure that Robin has also learned a fair amount in that period of time. I asked her what, if any, advice she would give the 20 year younger version of herself.

“I would tell the 20 years ago me never to pay cash for books folks bring in to the store and never to host an author event if you don’t like or at least believe in the book.”

In that time, Robin and company have done more than just sell books, they have shared their passion with the community with signings, book launches, book clubs and more. The store has become a true part of the community.

And it is not just the community that has bonded with Robin. “Have so enjoyed getting to know writers as they begin their careers, and seeing their careers blossom. Lots of them were at the open house – Penny, Hamilton, Krueger, Spencer-Fleming & Bowen. All came with either their first or second books. I think Rhys Bowen has been to the store with every series. Her first signing was her, me, a regular customer and a depressed welsh woman. We all needed a drink after that one.”

Yes, Robin has her share of tales from the years:

  • Once Loren Estelman called and said “Hey, can I bring Bob Randisi and John Lutz by this afternoon?” Of course I said sure and madly scraped up copies of their books for them to sign – they were funny, talking about all the bad signings they had been to.
  • Sara Paretsky walking in and saying “Hi, I’m Sara”. No kidding! – I about fell over as she’s a big reason I wanted to open a mystery bookstore. She let me recommend a book, which was a kick. (Julia Spencer-Fleming’s, as it happened).

  • One of our favorites – my husband was doing an off site event with Peter Leonard, Elmore’s son.  He talked & signed books and said “Hey I have a new book coming out, can I stop by?”  And my husband said of course, we’d love to have an event with you.  Peter then said, “Can I bring Elmore?”  We had to move the event to the downtown library…

On behalf of the Crimespree crew, I want to congratulate Robin and her staff on 20 years of mystery!