Mystery Discounts and Moe! Shop Small and Local.
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Mystery Discounts

Come on in to the store on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday.  
Receive a Mystery Discount! What's a mystery discount? Seriously? It's a mystery - but know that you may be eligible for 10, 15 or 20% off your entire purchase or you may get to choose from a bag of mystery books. The store is stocked with wonderful and award-winning mysteries, a wide and carefully chosen selection of "something other than mystery," some fun and exciting gift books, and an explosion of books for children and young adults. Our booksellers are eager to spend some time with you to find just the right gift - or just the right holiday/winter read for you. And if you can't find what you're looking for, we're happy to order it for you -- it usually only takes a few days to get here. Now through December 25 we're offering free shipping. If you can't make it to the store, we're open 24/7 online.

So you want to come to the store but you're concerned about parking? There are usually places directly across the street in the city lot (it looks like Trader Joe's parking but it's really city metered parking). There is also a city lot next to the Monroe Street library and generally plenty of on-street parking around our neighborhood. Still concerned? Give us a call and we'll give you some parking tips.  608-283-9332.

What else is on Monroe Street? Check out the new Monroe Street website! 
Shopping local is important so we thank you in advance for supporting all of the independently owned stores that make up this bustling neighborhood.

A Note from Doug Moe

I hope it's not too self-congratulatory to say we had a run of great author interview events at Mystery to Me and Hotel Red in November. I enjoyed chatting with the authors and getting an early look at their books. Thanks to those who attended; the good news for those who didn't is that the books are still available at Mystery to Me. They include Don Sanford's On Fourth Lake, a Social History of Lake Mendota, which Don had been working on for close to a decade prior to publication. It's a great holiday gift for anyone who enjoys the water or Madison history. I also spoke with David Maraniss before a standing room crowd at Hotel Red about his fascinating new book Once In a Great City, about Detroit in the early 1960s. That was also the venue for Jerry Apps, whose book Whispers and Shadows is the basis for a new documentary premiering on Wisconsin Public Television this month. Jerry also talked about his new one-volume history of farming in the state, Wisconsin Agriculture, a beautifully illustrated book that would make a great gift. Finally, I spoke with Doug Bradley and Craig Werner before a packed house at Mystery to Me about their extraordinary new book, We Gotta Get Out of This Place, which takes an insightful and nuanced look at the music of the Vietnam War. Doug and Craig played the music, and talked about the vets and musicians they had interviewed. I think it's safe to say no one who was there that night will soon forget it. The books, as noted, are still available.
- Doug Moe  

A Commitment to Cozies
by Doug Moe

You didn’t think that when I asked Sara Steele to name some of her favorite cozy mystery authors and titles, she was just going to give them up to me, did you? What fun is that?

Maybe because Steele likes mysteries – although, for her, the crime is never the big draw – she left me with a little detecting to do.  “Two series I have especially enjoyed are the one featuring a Welsh monk,” she said recently, during a lively email exchange, “and the one featuring an Irish nun who is also a lawyer. The novels in both series are historical.

“Some people would not consider historical novels as cozies,” Steele said, “but if there is a mystery and they meet my other qualifications, I think of them as such.”

With all due respect to any dissenters, when the subject is cozy mysteries, Sara Steele is an authoritative voice. She’s read them across seven decades, and is currently following some 400 authors of cozies – novels she describes as having some zing, rather than anguish, in them.  “Another description would be that cozies are like a good cocktail,” Steele said. “A careful blend of a mystery of some sort, a smart person who can connect clues, the relationships of that person with others including friends, relatives, police and companion animals, and a setting which is informative.”

Along with being a valued customer of Mystery to Me, Steele, 84, has lived in the Madison area most of her life. She began reading cozies at around age 12, when someone gave her a book for some work she had done. The first authors Steele read – Agatha Christie, Rex Stout – became household names, but these days, she said, “I’d rather invest in less known authors.”
Among the authors Steele referenced in our correspondence were Emma Lathen and Aaron Elkins, whose cozies, she said, take place in informative settings. As for favorites (I was persistent), Steele mentioned Heron Carvic and Alice Tilton. “Because they are a cut above the others, and can make me laugh. Carvic’s books feature a retired art teacher named Emily D. Seeton. Tilton – a pen name for Phoebe Atwood Taylor – has a teacher and writer named Leonidas Witherall.

 “When authors do a series about the same characters,” Steele said, “the books are like letters from a friend or cousin who is a good storyteller.”

Steele has seen the cozy genre grow in popularity and reach, including, as noted, into historical fiction. The Welsh monk character Sara mentioned at the beginning? My research indicates that’s Brother Cadfael, a series by Ellis Peters. And the Irish nun who is also a lawyer? That’s Sister Fidelma, a series by Peter Tremayne.

The list goes on. Sara mentioned a series in which the heroine is a beautician at an undertaking parlor. I’m still working on that one.
Upcoming Events

Friday, November 27 -- opening early (just because).
Mystery Discounts All Day
9 am - 7 pm

Saturday, November 28 -- opening early to celebrate Small Business Saturday!
Mystery Discounts All Day
9 am - 5 pm
3 pm -- Stop by to meet author, actor and playwright Jim DeVita. He'll be here to chat with you and sign his mystery novel, A Winsome Murder (it takes place in a fictional Wisconsin town called Winsome)/

We're open Mondays November 30 - December 21st
10 am - 5 pm

Friday, December 4
11 am
Holiday Storytime with Trudy Barash. Trudy is a former bookseller, kindergarten and creative drama teacher who also did regular story hours in the Castle at Canterbury books. Join us for what is sure to be a fun morning. 

Saturday, December 5
11 am
Archie the Daredevil Penguin author Andy Rash will be here! This is a really fun book. Bring the kids. And if you want to know more about how fun this book is, click on the link and watch the "trailer" - it's sure to bring a smile. 

Sunday, December 6 - Monroe Street Christmas Walk
1 pm
Join us for a great conversation with Lawrence Tabak, author of In Real Life - a novel about fifteen-year-old math prodigy Seth Gordon who knows exactly what he wants to do with his life -- play video games. 

Thursday, December 10
Doug Moe will be interviewing local author and pediatrician Kristin Seaborg about her new book, The Sacred Disease. 

Friday, December 11
Doug Moe will be interviewing Senator Tim Cullen about his book Ringside Seat - a candid and insightful book covering 45 years of Wisconsin politics 1970 to Scott Walker. 

Sunday, December 13
1 pm
Maddy Hunter, Kathleen Ernst and Jessie Chandler -- three Midnight Ink authors will be here to celebrate Midnight Ink Days! Maddy will be launching her newest in the passport to mystery series, From Bad to Wurst. Kathleen will be here with book 6 of the Chloe Ellefsen series, Death on the Prairie, and Jessie will be talking about her fun Shay O'Hanlon series! 

Wednesday, December 16
5:30 pm
Madison Writers' Studio students will be reading from their most recent work. Public is welcome.

Thursday, December 17 - It's Holiday Glow On Monroe! 
6:30 pm
Margaret Goss discusses The Uncommitted with Doug Moe. The Uncommitted is a compelling tale of spiritual struggle within us and of the realities beyond our physical sight. 

Monday, December 21
7 pm
Doug Moe will be interviewing the authors of The Land of Milk and Uncle Honey - Memories from the Farm of my Youth, Alan Guebert and Mary Grace Foxwell. 
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