One of the area's gems is Big Sleep Books, a mystery bookstore named after a Raymond Chandler classic and located on the main drag in the Central West End. In the small shop's dim interior, you can find everything you need by writers such as Chester Himes, Jim Thompson and John D. MacDonald.
The store is the perfect scene for a crime involving three local mystery authors -- John Lutz, Robert Randisi and Mike Nevins. These gentlemen will unbutton their trenchcoats and sit behind the same table for a group booksigning event this weekend at Big Sleep.
Not only does the event bring together three successful authors, each with his own following well beyond our borders, it celebrates three similar literary achievements: Each of these fellows has just published an anthology.
Lutz, probably the most popular of the trinity, signs The Nudger Dilemmas: A Short Story Collection. These 13 previously published tales concern detective Alo Nudger, a TUMS-popping neurotic who avoids confrontation if at all possible. Lutz, who has won his genre's coveted Edgar Award (named after the father of the modern mystery, Edgar Allan Poe), sets the Nudger stories in St. Louis, which is especially fun for local readers.
Randisi has set several of his mysteries in St. Louis, but this time he's plugging Delvecchio's Brooklyn: A Short Story Collection, a collection featuring detective Nick Delvecchio. The hard-boiled tales include "A Matter of Ethics," in which the gumshoe agrees to follow a man to make sure he isn't straying from his diet. As it turns out, the dieter is straying from his wife.
Francis M. "Mike" Nevins Jr. has written Night of the Silken Snow and Other Stories. The author, a professor at the St. Louis University School of Law, has also penned biographies of pulp writers Cornell Woolrich and Ellery Queen.