My first task each morning has to do with a serious overflow of crime in our neighbourhood. A large influx of new titles meant that some copies of books which were multiply stocked had to be rested on a trolley until sufficient spaces appear to re-shelve them. Thus, ironically, this person, who finds the genre eminently resistible (see this post), is obliged each day to scan carefully each single title on the criminal trolley** and correlate it with those on the shelves, replacing stock where able. It's a peculiar way to start the day, as if with some dark, perverted catechism, as I look along the rows of titles and murmur: Death in the Morning, Death in the Evening, Death a bit Later, Deathly Death, Look at all the Dead People, etc.
My colleagues and I have devised a devious stratagem to hasten the acquisition of crime fiction by our customers; in a simplified version of subliminal advertising, we hold up a piece of paper with appropriate novelists' names written on it (in a seductive font) and then lower it again, really, really quickly. It's working a treat.As an antidote to this ritual, I was today imagining a new genre - crime blanc - in which concerned citizens report apparent minor misdemeanours to honest, emotionally stable police officers and are reassured that, in each case, there was a perfectly simple explanation and that no infringements had actually occurred. Mightily relieved, all the protagonists, gather after the working day and share excellent home-made cakes and a variety of delicious hot beverages. Each book should start:
'Down these well-maintained streets - admire in particular the imaginative use of tree varieties - a man or indeed woman must go. To do some shopping, probably. Or just potter about'.
**You're right - it doesn't squeal.