Sunday, September 19, 2010

David is Gone

by Leann

This week the mystery world was stunned by the sudden death of David Thompson, the publicity manager for Murder by the Book in Houston. He was only 38 years old. Much of this has been written about by bigger names, and far more eloquently than I could ever achieve, but every day I see his face and hear his voice. For me, he was the heart and soul of Murder by the Book, the place where I first ventured 20 plus years ago to buy what I love best--a stack of mysteries.

I started out as a customer and was like a child visiting Disneyworld for the first time when I walked in to that place. And soon after I made my visits, it was David who greeted me, David who steered me, David who knew about every book that might appeal to me. Our relationship changed in 2004 when my first book was published and he called me to set up my very first signing. I was stunned and thrilled and his grace and kindness on the day I signed will stay in my heart forever. I was shunned at Bouchercon, a place where I thought I would be accepted as finally a bona fide author, but at the place where it mattered most, I was welcomed with open arms--at Murder by the Book. That was David's doing. That was David's work. To make every author know that they were the heart of that bookstore--even though I understood that he was the special one.

He asked me several times to write recommendations to Publisher's Weekly to make the store "Bookstore of the Year." They have been nominated multiple times. I hope that he is watching from above when Murder by the Book is finally rewarded. They deserve it and he, even though he is gone, will have helped made that happen.

To his young wife McKenna, I cannot imagine your pain. But my heart is with you and these tears I am shedding are unlike others. I know you will keep his spirit alive.