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The Arts

A mystery, coming to a bookstore near you…

Four best-selling authors to visit Brattleboro

BRATTLEBORO—Crack open that new paperback. Press “download” on that e-reader.

Chapter one. Read that first line. Murder. Family. Power. Love. Redemption. Mysteries.

Into that good story, dissolve.

Technology and retail options from local bookstores, to online shopping, to e-readers may have changed the methods of delivering books but readers’ thirst for strong characters, twisting plots, and satisfying endings endures.

It is in support of good stories and local bookstores that Atria Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, has launched The Great Mystery Bus Tour.

The tour will chauffeur four of Atria’s best-selling mystery authors will travel 2,375 miles, to 12 bookstores, and 12 cities, in eight days.

“And endless snacks,” said Senior Vice President and Publisher Judith Curr.

Authors John Connolly (The Burning Soul, a Charlie Parker mystery); Liza Marklund (Last Will, an Annika Bengtzon mystery); M.J. Rose (The Book of Lost Fragrances), and William Kent Krueger (Northwest Angle, a Cork O’Connor mystery) will visit Brattleboro on April 14.

Loyal readers and soon-to-be fans can meet the authors at Mystery On Main Street bookstore from noon to 2 p.m.

A videographer will join the authors, documenting their journey and posting daily highlights at http://mysterybustour.tumblr.com.

Atria wanted to launch what it has termed a “grassroots event with a modern twist” as part of its 10th anniversary celebration.

By connecting new and old readers with the four authors, Atria hopes the tour will help widen Rose, Marklund, Connolly, and Kruger’s audience while supporting local booksellers.

Atria has a tradition of mentoring the authors it publishes and forming long-term and loyal relationships. “We believe that’s what publishers do,” said Curr. “It’s only through their work we exist.”

Atria recently signed a three-book deal with a new author to allow her to quit her day job and devote more time to writing.

“It takes a village to publish a book,” Curr said.

The tour is an example of Atria’s yin-yang approach to its outreach, said Curr. If the publishing house takes a step in the virtual world, like an online marketing campaign, it also takes a step into the physical world, like a billboard ad campaign.

“You can go global and act local,” said Curr.

The physical-world bus tour will connect readers with authors while the virtual-world videos and Facebook posts exist for fans connecting through zeros and ones.

“I may be a Pollyanna, but I think this transition is temporary,” she said about how online shopping and digital downloads have cost some communities their bookstores.

In Curr’s view, bookstores serve more needs than selling the books on their shelves. Bookstores provide a community service. The stores create a place for people to meet, converse, debate, and swap title suggestions.

“We can’t assume our cultural lives would [completely] move online,” said said. “We also need a place we can get ideas not filtered through other forces.”

The publishing house has created a mystery sampler for the tour that it will offer at the bookstores. The Atria International Book of Mysteries: Your Passport to a World of Murder and Mayhem, which contains stories by Connolly, Kruger, Marklund, and Rose, plus 11 other Atria authors including Spencer Quinn, Thomas Enger, Kristina Ohlsson, and Mons Kallentoft.

Copies of the book are available for free download at the Mystery Tour website or for a free (physical) copy, visit Mystery on Main Street April 14.

For more information visit: http://mysterybustour.tumblr.com/ or contact Mystery on Main Street at info@mysteryonmain.com or by calling 802-258-2211. The April 14 event is free, but space is limited.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #147 (Wednesday, April 11, 2012).

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