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The Final Chapter Of A Tale Of Books, Love And Mystery In Minneapolis
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The Final Chapter Of A Tale Of Books, Love And Mystery In Minneapolis

Books

The Final Chapter Of A Tale Of Books, Love And Mystery In Minneapolis

The Final Chapter Of A Tale Of Books, Love And Mystery In Minneapolis
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Gary Shulze, 66, and Pat Frovarp, 75, sit in Once Upon A Crime, the Minneapolis bookstore they ran for 14 years. On when they first met: "Well, Gary was pretty doggone cute," says Frovarp. "There's no doubt about it." i

Gary Shulze, 66, and Pat Frovarp, 75, sit in Once Upon A Crime, the Minneapolis bookstore they ran for 14 years. On when they first met: "Well, Gary was pretty doggone cute," says Frovarp. "There's no doubt about it." Nancy Rosenbaum for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Nancy Rosenbaum for NPR
Gary Shulze, 66, and Pat Frovarp, 75, sit in Once Upon A Crime, the Minneapolis bookstore they ran for 14 years. On when they first met: "Well, Gary was pretty doggone cute," says Frovarp. "There's no doubt about it."

Gary Shulze, 66, and Pat Frovarp, 75, sit in Once Upon A Crime, the Minneapolis bookstore they ran for 14 years. On when they first met: "Well, Gary was pretty doggone cute," says Frovarp. "There's no doubt about it."

Nancy Rosenbaum for NPR

It was a love of mystery novels that brought Gary Shulze and Pat Frovarp together — a love of God Is a Bullet by Boston Teran, to be specific.

"I was looking at books," Frovarp, who is 75, tells NPR's Ari Shapiro. "Gary and I had seen each other. We didn't know one another. And he walked over to me in this particular bookstore and handed me a book by Teran and said, 'You've gotta read this book, it's really good.'"

That bookstore wouldn't be the last in their lives: For 14 years, the two have run Once Upon A Crime, a beloved basement store in Minneapolis that caters to mystery lovers.

Not only did Frovarp work there before they bought it, the couple were married there in 2007 — on the fifth anniversary of the purchase.

Only about seven people were there, Frovarp recalls.

"We had (author) Gregg Hurwitz coming in from Los Angeles at 7 o'clock that night. So we got married late afternoon, we closed the store at 5:30, that wonderful chaplain from the hospital came and married us, and a few friends were there, and that was that for that," she says. "And we stopped at a Wendy's for our wedding dinner afterwards and went home and crashed. It was wonderful."

Now, though, they're retiring — Shulze is 66 — and their store is changing hands.

The bookstore business is a tough one, and Frovarp credits Once Upon A Crime's emphasis on customer service and efforts like tracking down elusive titles with its success.

"I had an instance this morning where a guy I've never seen before came in for a couple of books that I ordered from a dealer friend," says Frovarp. "And he said, 'Boy, this place is great, I will be back.' And generally, they come back because we do treat our customers well."

Frovarp says the new owners — Dennis Abraham, wife Meg Kelly-Abraham and daughter Devin — "want to keep running the store just like us — except they're gonna have a big presence online, which is something we've never done because we're a couple of Luddites."

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