Murder Ink was the mystery readers' group which met regularly at the Palmdale Barnes & Noble for over ten years.

Each month Kevin Burton Smith, critic and columnist for Mystery Scene Magazine and founder/editor of The Thrilling Detective Web Site (that's me) and local crime fiction fans discussed a mystery or crime novel. They discussed classic and not-so-classics; both old and new. They pulled no punches and played no favorites -- covering everything from the genre's early years to this season's hot new author. Not convinced? Read some more about us, or check out some of our previous reads and possible future reads.

We tried to select books that were easily available and moderately priced (no hardcovers or out-of-print classics).

Participation was definitely encouraged and opinions ferverently desired. And frankly, I've been been known to express an opinion or two himself on occasion..

Unfortunately, that all came crashing to a halt in November 2015, when Barnes and Noble, both regionally and presumably nationally, in their infinite wisdom, decided they would no longer be hosting book groups. They apparently need more room for toys and games and flashlights and batteries and Lego and pencils and other non-book items.

I can't begin to convey to you guys how sad and frustrated this makes me feel.

One of the truly great things about working for Barnes & Noble (and moderating the book group) over the last ten years has been the sense that, whatever other bullshit was going on in the store, was that I was in a place that at least valued literacy and reading, and helped to foster a community of readers and book lovers.

And I was part of it. That felt pretty good.

It certainly felt a lot better than setting up a display for life-size Star Wars cut-outs or arranging a shelf full of The Walking Dead Mr. Potato Heads or Hunger Game edible thongs or whatever they come up with next.

MURDER INK has had some good times over the years, and I've come to regard many of you as friends, and maybe when we meet, we can discuss some way of continuing the group. I'm pretty open to any ideas or suggestions. I'd hate to see it all just pissed away by the decisions of some corporate bean counters.

I'm currently tinkering with setting up a meetup.com thingie and scouting out a new location for a potential meeting in January, but I'll keep you guys posted.

Each month we discussed a mystery or crime novel. So far we've discussed classic and not-so-classics; both old and new. Good stuff, bad, stuff and ugly stuff, if you go by some of our discussions. We pull no punches and we play no favorites -- we're covering everything from the genre's early years to this week's hot new author, and eventually we hope to get to everything in between. Not convinced? Check out some of our previous reads

For any further questions regarding Murder Ink, please

Participation is definitely encouraged and opinions ferverently desired. The moderator Mystery Scene columnist and Thrilling Detective Web Site founder/editor Kevin Burton Smith, who's been known to occasionally express an opinion or two himself.

For any further questions regarding Murder Ink, please join our Meetup Group or contact Kevin by e-mail. If you're the sorta person who likes to talk to a man who likes to talk, he's your man.


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