Crime haunts book donor

Headshot of Peter Sweeney
Peter SweeneyGeraldton Guardian
Book giving Marianne Bell as sold and exchanged secondhand books from her shop in Geraldton for 16 years.
Camera IconBook giving Marianne Bell as sold and exchanged secondhand books from her shop in Geraldton for 16 years. Credit: Peter Sweeney

Marianne Bell gave thousands of books to Greenough Regional Prison just days before the riots and breakout in November of last year.

She has since wondered how many books were of a crime nature.

“There were fact and fiction titles, books on gardening and romance. Maybe some crime ones,” she said laughing.

Mrs Bell has given thousands of pre-loved books to the prison, to hospitals, to nursing homes, to schools, to whoever.

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In fact, she’s handed out so many, she’s now been told “no more”.

“Most places now have too many books,” she said.

Mrs Bell has run a bookshop in Marine Terrace for 16 years.

People simply refer to it as “the blue bookshop”.

But it’s had a major reno recently and the only bit of blue is a part of the inside of the store.

So let’s call it The Book Tree.

“I’ve always given books away, just love it,” Mrs Bell said.

“I have a lot of regulars and a lot of people who came in here from interstate on holidays.

“One customer used to be a pilot from British Airways. Something’s happened, because he hasn’t been in for a while.”

When she’s not selling, or more likely giving away, books, Mrs Bell’s favourite hobby is throwing darts.


She recently finished third in the State ladies’ championship and is a key organiser of dart competitions in Geraldton.

She also sells darts and dart gear from her store.

“It’s a fundraiser for the ladies’ association,” she said.

As for the inmates at Greenough, she hopes they are given a book or three when they are released.

And she wonders how many books she gave away had a crime theme.

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