The mystery community -- authors, agents, publishers, readers, critics -- is actually a small one and each time there is a death, we collectively mourn.
The death of bookseller and publisher David Thompson on Sept. 13 hit especially hard. David was only 38 years old, yet it seemed as if he had been a part of the mystery community forever.
And he had. He began working more than 21 years ago at Houston's landmark bookstore Murder by the Book, one of the nation's oldest and largest mystery bookstores. He was a major supporter of the authors and delighted in working with authors who came to the bookstore.
David also was the publisher of the crime imprint Busted Flush, which had recently been sold to Tyrus Books. With Busted Flush, David's mission was simple: "The intent of the press is to reprint fine thrillers and hard-boiled crime fiction."
And that he did, showcasing authors he admired, and giving a second life to works of authors such as Daniel Woodrell. While everyone is geared up for the San Francisco Bouchercon, David was working on the 2011 Bouchercon in St. Louis.
Everyone who met David liked him and respected him. He always had a smile on his face and a kind word for authors and readers.
David's death is a shock to all of us and many Facebook postings and tributes mentioned speaking with him or exchanging e-mails with him in the past week. Sarah Weinman has gathered many of the tributes in one place.
All of his friends at Mystery Scene send our deepest sympathy to his wife, McKenna Jordan, his friends and family. We wish them well and hope they find strength in their wonderful memories of this kind, compassionate man.
"The mystery community has not only lost a gifted publisher and dedicated bookseller, it has lost a good man. He will be missed," said Mystery Scene publisher Kate Stine, speaking for all of us.
One of the best tributes we can give our departed friend is to read a book in his honor and remember how short our time is with each other.
A memorial service will be planned and Murder by the Book will share details as soon as they are available. David's wife, McKenna Jordan, asks that no tributes be sent to the bookstore for now.
We offer our deepest sympathies.