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Mystery One: One Chick’s Story

Mystery One; One Chick’s Story

Duane Sweirzynski

Duane Sweirzynski

What is a bookstore? Well that depends upon whom you are. The very first time I became aware of Mystery One was at the 1999 Bouchercon where Richard Katz was the host dealer. I met a boy at that convention. I do not say this trying to make myself seem younger but rather because Richard and Jon together will always be boys. Enthusiastic about all of the same things, excited for the next thing to happen, their friendship is the stuff of legend.

There’s no doubt that Mystery One is as much my “Milwaukee home” as the Castle because I was comfortable there first. Yes my first date with himself was at Mystery One and yes there was another girl with us (awkward).But the thing is Richard believed in Jon and Ruth, the love story, long before the two of us did. If you know Jon you know that a glimpse of the possible is enough to make him run, but neither of us was biting on that line. Then came the, “She should come for the Steve Hamilton signing, she really likes him”. Richard, being Richard, may not even have realized it was Valentine weekend (neither Jon nor myself did) but he was definitely our matchmaker. He kept it sexy. Dinners with Lehane and Pelecanos, Connelly and Robinson that year. There was an AC/DC. concert and time with Metallica.

LL01My most memorable signing will always be one of two. On September 13th, 2001 Laura Lippman honored her commitment and came to Mystery One despite the tragedy that had occurred two days before. It was the beginning of a friendship for me and for Jon. A few years later Lauren Henderson agreed to come for a signing. She hadn’t written the Sam Jones books for a little while and we didn’t know the crowd we get. I brought Champagne and Penny Halle decided he liked us and now there’s this thing Called Murder and Mayhem in Milwaukee.

There are so many other stories: bowling with Mark Billingham the day President Reagan died, John Connolly signing for the first time during Al’s Run (therefore getting half the folks who would have been there otherwise but having to walk up the hill to “Rocky’s Theme.) Nevada Barr on the counter, Val McDermid on the stairs. Gregg Hurwitz wanting to see a little of the city his first time here. 200 people waiting in 10 degree temps to hear Rankin talk and 150 waiting for Bob Crais on Super Bowl Sunday when the Packers were in the Superbowl. Special. Absolutely!

Also the community. My Mom and Dad were both ill and Matt Hilton sent large print books so they could at least read .My family was worried about the “Bouchercon Stress” and Marcus Sakey and Joe Konrath set their minds at ease with an early dinner at Slim’s.

The biggest asset of the independents is the books they put in your hands. Richard made us discover a writer by the name of Doolittle and another by the name of Gischler. He gave us arcs of the very first Crouch and Koryta books.

WEDRichard published Interrogations. The argument could/should be made he is the Godfather of Crimespree for this reason. He is our friend. He is our dealer. It’s complicated and the relationship is about to change but I believe we are the best of co-dependents and it can only get better. P.P.S. thanks for the heads up on Ian Hamilton!!! Solid. Any old how, I love you Richard and thank you for everything you have given to me.