A memorial service will take place this Sunday, April 24, at Once Upon a Crime Mystery Books for owner Gary Shulze, who recently passed away after battling leukemia. He and his wife, Pat Frovarp, had actually sold the store just days before. The new owners plan to continue to operate it as the hub for Minnesota mystery writers that it has been for many years.
I knew Gary and Pat for a long time. When my own books were released, they befriended me, advocated for my work, and suggested my novels to their extensive and dedicated base of customers. I would stop in when my children were young, and they would scour their shelves for a Nancy Drew or other mystery book for young people and pass it along free of charge. I did readings there, and stopped in for their annual Write of Spring festival that felt more like a family gathering than a mere professional get-together. Pat and Gary were married in the store, and their palpable happiness together, and passion for books, were an inspiration to all those who crossed their paths.
The store, if you have never visited, is a treasure. It’s at 604 W. 26th St. in Minneapolis, just off Lyndale, and it’s packed with books. Shulze’s memorial is from 1 to 5 p.m. Pat has suggested that, instead of flowers or memorials, people remember him by dropping by and buying a book. It’s a fitting tribute to someone who was a faithful and sincere advocate for writers, and who will be remembered as a friend of great warmth, humor, compassion, and support.
Read a great article from the Minnesota Monthly archives about the state’s status as a hotbed for mystery writers here.