I’ll come on to how I did that in a minute. It’s two weeks now since I decided to have a three month moratorium on book-buying. It hasn’t been easy and yesterday I would have probably succumbed if it hadn’t been for the thought of having to own up to the lapse on this blog. I was in Waterstone’s in Piccadilly and I was tempted by Silent Night: Christmas Mysteries, edited by Martin Edwards. I’ve got his other two Golden Age anthologies, Resorting to Murder and Capital Crimes and would have dearly loved to have this one too. As it is, I will put it on my Christmas list. And this means I will just have to wait. And that, I realise, is something I am not used to doing, at least not as far as books are concerned.
This has been a huge change in book-buying over the last few years. Last week I finished reading Allingham’s Dancers in Mourning on my e-reader and my immediate response was to download the next one that she’d written, The Fashion in Shrouds. Just as well I didn’t, as quite apart from my pledge, I discovered the book tucked away behind something else on my shelves. Yes, it’s embarrassing: I don’t even know what I’ve got. So I also intend to sort out my books before I buy any more.
So how did I buy a book by accident? Well, every now and then I book a ticket for a matinee at the Stephen Joseph Theatre and go over to Scarborough for the day on the train. I sponsored a seat there in memory of my mother, so it is something of a sentimental journey. I saw a revival of the Alan Ayckbourn play, Confusions, directed by the man himself. Naturally, I bought a programme. I was delighted to find that as well as the usual details of the cast and so on, it contained the entire text of the play – what a brilliant idea – and at only £3.50 was a wonderful bargain. I was able to enjoy the best bits of the play all over again on the way home. It was several days later that it occurred to me that this might count as buying a book. Oh well . . .