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On Books

Laurie Hertzel is senior editor for books at the Star Tribune, where she has worked since 1996.

Marlon James' "Brief History of Seven Killings" long-listed for Man Booker Prize

Marlon James' "A Brief History of Seven Killings," his epic novel of Jamaica, has been longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. This is the second year that American writers have been eligible for the prestigious award, which originally was restricted to writers in the British Commonwealth.

James lives in the Twin Cities and teaches at Macalester College in St. Paul.

Of 156 nominees, a longlist of 13 titles was chosen. The books (with links to Star Tribune reviews, when available) are:

Bill Clegg (US) - Did You Ever Have a Family             

Anne Enright (Ireland) - The Green Road 

Marlon James (Jamaica) - A Brief History of Seven Killings 

Laila Lalami (US) - The Moor's Account 

Tom McCarthy (UK) - Satin Island 

Chigozie Obioma (Nigeria) - The Fishermen 

Andrew O’Hagan (UK) - The Illuminations 

Marilynne Robinson (US) - Lila            

Anuradha Roy (India) - Sleeping on Jupiter 

Sunjeev Sahota (UK) - The Year of the Runaways 

Anna Smaill (New Zealand) - The Chimes 

Anne Tyler (US) - A Spool of Blue Thread 

Hanya Yanagihara (US) - A Little Life 

The short list will be announced Sept. 15 and the winner on Oct. 13. The prize is 50,000 British pounds.

Beloved Mpls. mystery bookstore Once Upon a Crime is up for sale

Pat Frovarp, Gary Shulze, and their dog, Shamus, at Once Upon a Crime bookstore in 2011.

Pat Frovarp, Gary Shulze, and their dog, Shamus, at Once Upon a Crime bookstore in 2011.

It's the little bookstore that could, the mystery bookstore just six steps down from street level, the one with the, um, dead body on the sign outside. Once Upon a Crime Bookstore, owned by Gary Shulze and Pat Frovarp, who met there, got married there, and bought the place, is going on the market.

"It's been a great 13 years, and we will miss it, but too many factors (age and health concerns primary) are telling us it's time to retire," said Shulze, who has been battling cancer for several years.

In 2011, the store was awarded the Raven Award by the Mystery Writers of America--the top honor for non-authors given at the annual Edgar Awards. The bookstore, at 604 W. 26th St., has long had a reputation as being a great supporter of local writers, both of mysteries and other fiction. Nationally known local mystery writers Laura Childs, William Kent Krueger, David Housewright, Brian Freeman and others hold their book-launch parties there. Big names in mystery fiction come through town and hold readings and signings there.

"They're a class act," Plymouth mystery writer Gerry Schmitt, better known by her pen name of Laura Childs, told the Star Tribune at the time. "They carry your books; they carry your back list; they do publicity; they host launch parties and events. They're phenomenal." 

The couple has owned the store since 2002, when they bought it from Steve Stilwell. They've kept it welcoming, well-stocked (Shulze estimates they have about 30,000 titles), low-key and low-tech. Shulze fell ill with leukemia in 2007, and was in the hospital for nearly three months, leaving Frovarp to run the store alone. It was, she said, beyond stressful. "I didn't know if I was on foot or on horseback. But I just kept going." And people, she said, started showing up -- authors, customers, publishers' reps -- to help.

"They restocked shelves, ran the till, shoveled snow," she said. "The mystery community is so incredible."

And the mystery bookstore community too.

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