Yesterday I attended the launch of Wreck Bay, Barbara Fradkin’s latest Amanda Doucette mystery set on Vancouver Island’s Pacific Rim. I’m now a couple of chapters into this delicious read.
Barbara’s book launch was held at our beloved Sleuth of Baker Street bookstore, which will be closing its doors sometime this year. Owners Marian Misters and J.D. Singh have run their Toronto store for 40 years in a number of locations, and decided it was time for a change. Sad news, however, for readers and writers of crime fiction because Sleuth has been a gathering place for them for four decades. It's an icon of Toronto's crime fiction community.
I first visited the store when it was located on Bayview Avenue to interview J.D. for a 1999 National Post article on the inaugural Bloody Words mystery convention. It seemed only fitting to include one of Sleuth’s owners in my article because these booksellers have their fingers on the pulse of crime fiction—in Canada and around the world.
I kept returning to Sleuth. I was honoured when the store began carrying my own four mystery novels, starting with Safe Harbor in 2012. My Raven Lake book launch was held at Sleuth, also the launches of the five Mesdames of Mayhem anthologies. And the launches of many friends. Over the years, Marian has introduced me to the works of many great crime writers, writers I may not have encountered on my own.
Marian served as Jury Chair for Crime Writers of Canada’s Awards of Excellence for four years, and she was active on the Awards Committee for many years. She was awarded CWC’s Derrick Murdoch Award in 2021 for her contributions to the genre.
Hopefully there will be a few more gatherings at Sleuth before its doors close at 907 Millwood Road. But wouldn’t it be wonderful if someone stepped up and bought the business from Marian and J.D before that happens?