What an eye opener! There was a great response to my last week’s blog on the search for the whereabouts of a good Latina/o Mystery. Authors, friends of authors and, I’m sure, los primos de authors responded with clues on how to find exactly what I’d been looking for. My list grows and, if you take a look at the comment sections, you’ll find what a great variety of Hispanic mysteries are strutting their stuff on shelves.
The call came from my informant at the local B&N. My book had arrived. I know that some people don’t trust what B&N’s got to say, but so far he’s been dependable when he sells me my goods. Cortez and Martinez’ Hit List: Best of Latino Mystery was waiting for me-hidden behind the counter.
Sure enough, I snuck out at lunchtime and made it to the bookstore to pick up my cache. There was a small book display with a sign heralding Hispanic Heritage month. Five of the usual suspects, I mean authors-none of whom I’d heard from this last week-had books showing on a few shelves. I took a picture of the meager exhibit with my iphone and then my cell automatically shut off. I don’t know why that happened, it’s never happened before. It may have been some surveillance that alerted an agent to what I was up to.
I slipped my iphone into my pocket and went over to the cashier who asked me my name. Before I answered, I leaned over the counter and saw what I’d come for right there. The book was concealed in white paper, my name surreptitiously typed on the side. Just as “Varela” rolled off my tongue, we were interrupted. A woman cut across me with her urgency.
“I’m in a car outside,” she said.”I can’t find parking.” I couldn’t help but think she might have been a plant. While she looked harmless enough, she implicated the security who was half hidden behind the stacks. “He said you could help me.”
The clerk wasn’t falling for her story. “Sorry, lady, you’re gonna hafta wait.”
“Excuse me,” she said, “I told you, I can’t find parking.”
“Ma’am…” Beads of perspiration formed on the clerk’s upper lip. “This lady was here first.”
“I need an Italian-American dictionary…and a latte to go with it.” The woman threw her scarf over her shoulders, and then dropped her sunglasses over her lids before stalking out through the double doors.
“Sorry for the distraction.” The young man’s voice scratched, barely a whisper. “Last week she came in asking for a frappuccino and a map.”
After making my purchase, I left. Emerging onto the avenue, I sauntered along with hundreds of other unidentified readers in Park Slope. I can understand the sense of urgency when entering a book store. I must admit I’ve been spoiled. It’s easy getting used to going on-line, picking out a book and having it instantly transported to an electronic device. How many of us would have ever assumed we’d get drive through service. Buying a book has become like going to a fast food restaurant!
Times have changed, and so have I, but one thing I will always love is a good book, whatever the form, to fall asleep to each night. Can’t wait to read my new book! I snuck it under my pillow.