Tuesday, September 14, 2010

"Daylight is good at arriving at the right time/It's not always going to be this grey."

The Song: "All Things Must Pass," George Harrison. Words and music by George Harrison. Track 5, Disc 2 of All Things Must Pass, 1970.
How/when acquired: MP3 download, October 2007
Listen/watch here.

Woke up this morning to a thunderstorm so violent and close that at first I thought the ruined paper mill across the street had exploded. I had a minute to think about what I'd need to grab if Dizzy and I had to leave the apartment in a hurry, before I looked out the window and saw nothing on fire.

When I booted up the computer, though, disaster of another kind was waiting: the news that David Thompson, manager of Houston's legendary Murder by the Book and publisher of Busted Flush Press, had died suddenly at his home.

Every death diminishes us, as John Donne says, but this blow hits hard. I didn't know David well, but you couldn't know him and not be his friend. His enthusiasm was contagious, and his goodwill seemed boundless.

I first met him over the telephone, probably close to ten years ago. I was behind the counter at The Mystery Bookstore in Los Angeles, and he was at the store in Houston. We had books they wanted, or vice versa (independent mystery book sellers are collegial that way), but one or the other of us said something about a book we'd just read, and away we went. My last phone conversation with him, in June, was just the same; a quick request turned into a 20-minute conversation about our favorite books of the past year.

The world runs on the passion of people like David, who loved his wife, his dog and his books, and expected the world to share his appreciation. His death is a terrible loss, and my heart goes out to his wife, his colleagues, and his authors.

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