The death of a bookshop

<p>The deed is done.</p>
<p>Murder One has finally closed its doors after nearly 21 years in business. We didn't quite make it into adulthood, it seems, but all in all not a bad innings!<br />
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Since the announcement that we were calling it a day, I've been bombarded with over 600 emails, telephone calls, visits, interview requests, etc, all expressing sadness, anger, surprise and dismay. It's nice to feel loved, although with just a hint of bitterness&mdash; so many customers were almost irate at our decision to pull up shutters, all complaining vociferously as to how they would now be able to get hold of their books with Murder One gone, and not a word of sympathy about the plight of the staff who now find themselves redundant.<br />
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Fortunately, these were only in a minority with so many almost in tears and deluging us with the kindest of wishes and even cakes, bottles of whisky, wine and heartfelt goodwill. And a special thank you to one particular publisher, Orion, who sent over bottles of the finest champagne, which was greedily consumed at our wake, a few hours after we closed doors on the afternoon of January 31st. Not only did they prove to be one of the best publishers of crime and mystery books over our years in business, but at the end one of the most courteous and considerate.<br />
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It was no surprise that we enjoyed some of our best takings in years during those final weeks, even before we began reducing prices to clear unreturnable stock as customers past and present rushed in or visited one final time. By the end, the staff at the counter had a thesaurus of likely reactions : &quot;I'm so sorry I stopped coming&quot;, &quot;I know I shouldn't have bought my books on Amazon&quot;, &quot;If only I won the lottery I would buy the shop&quot;, &quot;I should have visited you more often&quot;, or more surprisingly &quot;I didn't know you existed until I heard about it on BBC news&quot;. Ah, customers, you can't help liking them.<br />
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By the final week, I was turning down further interview requests as the news spread worldwide. We made newspaper columns in Argentina, Finland, Italy and nearer to home. My sorry excuses for our demise were broadcast on TV, countless radio programmes and featured almost every single daily newspaper from the arts pages to even (the <i>Times</i>) the business section.<br />
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If we had to go, then this was the way to go.<br />
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And so Murder One as a brick and mortar store fades into the darkness of the mean streets, but its name will linger on as my senior managers Trisha Telep and Tanya Stone acquire the name to continue an occult existence online and through mail order, which warms me.<br />
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And, as the saying goes, Maxim Jakubowski is now available for writing, editing, reviewing and bar mitzvahs...</p>