Incident Report No. 80

The Incident Report covers the world of small press crime fiction for the week of June 2nd through June 8th.

Three huge stories this week. First, Linda Fairstein is gone.

Linda Fairstein has been dropped by her publisher as fallout continues for the former Central Park Five prosecutor over the wrongful conviction of five teens for the 1989 rape and beating of a female jogger.

On Friday, Dutton spokeswoman Amanda Walker confirmed a statement that the publisher’s customer service line has been giving to inquiring callers, saying that it had “terminated its relationship” with the best-selling crime novelist. The publicist declined further comment.


Barnes & Noble has been sold. As this is the closest bookstore to me in for many miles, this makes me quite happy.

Barnes & Noble has been acquired by the hedge fund Elliott Advisors for $638 million, a move that has momentarily calmed fears among publishers and agents that the largest bookstore chain in the United States might collapse after one of the most tumultuous periods in its history.

The sale was announced Friday morning after months of speculation over the future of Barnes & Noble. The acquisition follows Elliott’s purchase of the British bookstore chain Waterstones in June 2018. James Daunt, the chief executive of Waterstones, will also act as Barnes & Noble’s C.E.O. and will be based in New York.



“The main thing is that there isn’t a template; there’s not some magic ingredient,” he said in an interview on Friday. “The Birmingham, Ala., bookshop, I imagine, will be very different from the one in downtown Boston. They don’t need to be told how to sell the exact same things in the exact same way.”


Otto Penzler, besides being upset that his buddy Fairstein is out of a job, has his new imprint exactly where he wants it–men writing books for women.

The optics of all this, in other words, absolutely suck—especially as the mystery/thriller industry continues to wrestle very openly with issues of gender, privilege, access, and misogyny. I feel empathy for [Stephanie] Buelens, who probably had a pretty good idea for a novel and accidentally ended up in a metaphorical dumpster fire (and doesn’t have control over her own Twitter feed, apparently, which is… well, if you’re an author, always control your own Twitter feed).


Note: There will be no editions of Small Crimes this week.

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