A Great Place To Spend Time on a Saturday Afternoon

By K.K. Beck

Tipping the Valet by KK BeckI’ve just published my first mystery novel in years—Tipping the Valet—and yesterday I went to sign copies at Seattle Mystery Books. It reminded me how delightful specialty mystery bookshops are. They are staffed by people who really love the genre, and any business with such a motivated staff is a great place to do business. Adele at Seattle Mystery Books started out as a customer. It’s a friendly, enthusiastic atmosphere.

I had enjoyed this store for years, all the way back to its founding by Bill Farley, who sadly died recently. He was such a terrific man—always so kind and cheerful—one of those very rare thoroughly nice people! Adele, who visited him often during his illness, told me she had given him a copy of Tipping the Valet, which was so nice to hear.

It was fun to sign books for two people who took a class in mystery writing from me years ago. I was delighted to learn that one of them, Jeanne Matthews, now has her very own series featuring ethnobotanist Dinah Pelerin who travels the planet solving mysteries, so I bought two of her books.

It was also fun to talk to a man named Phil, who said he’d wanted to meet me for a long time because back in 1994 I wrote a book called Electric City featuring a clipping service. (I got the idea because I once interviewed for a job at a clipping service, with a woman whom I judged to be one of the scariest and most authoritarian bosses I ever encountered.)

Phil has worked at that clipping service for many years, and had me sign the office copy they keep there. There is a different boss now, but he had also worked for the one I had met and we also chatted about her. I had assumed that clipping services were gone because of the Internet, but Phil tells me readers and cutters are still at work in downtown Seattle.

I asked him with some trepidation whether I had got the clipping service details right, and I was thrilled to hear I had. Electric City was part of a series of books I wrote featuring a sleuth named Jane da Silva, but I love writing about workplaces, hence the clipping service angle. Tipping the Valet is about the valet parking business and solves the mystery many people have wondered about—what happens to my car after they drive off in it? But be assured, there are some other mysteries to be solved in it as well.

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One Response

  1. The new book sounds like fun!

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