They say books are dead.
The Seattle Mystery Bookshop was opened in the summer of 1990 by Bill Farley. Bill was working at Whodunnit in Philadelphia (one of the oldest mystery specialty shops in the country) when visiting author Aaron Elkins remarked that Seattle needed its own mystery bookshop. That day, after work, Bill and his wife B Jo decided they were moving to Seattle to open a specialty mystery bookshop.
From the first day, when Bill needed J. A. Jance’s help to make change for the first sale, up until today, Seattle Mystery Bookshop has been a mecca for both authors and aficionados of the mystery novel.
Through the years, Seattle Mystery Bookshop has hosted some of the great names in mysteries and thrillers, including Ed McBain, Lawrence Block, Sue Grafton, Dick Francis, Donald E. Westlake, Lee Child, Martha Grimes, Michael Connelly, Sara Paretsky, Ian Rankin, and Charlaine Harris. Indeed, Seattle Mystery Bookshop has helped some authors launch their careers, including Lowen Clausen, Martin Limón, Dana Stabenow, G. M. Ford, and Mike Lawson.
Bill had many aims when he started: to be a resource, to bring authors and readers together, and to provide as comprehensive a selection of mysteries as possible. Toward that end, he created the shop’s tagline: “For mystery lovers who know what they want and for those who haven’t a clue”.
For fifteen years, the shop was tucked away in a dark and mysterious corner of the Broderick Building, but five years ago outgrew that location and moved 30 yards west, into a larger space with more light and visibility, and a better chance to help pair readers in search of the perfect book, be it noir, an action-packed thriller, a more traditional mystery - or anything in between.
Despite the rise of the Big Box bookstores, the threats of first audio and now electronic books, threats that have led to the closure of many independent bookstores, Seattle Mystery Bookshop is still going strong.
From our point of view, the book is alive and well, and so are we. To celebrate and thank our customers on Thursday, July 1st we’ll have birthday cake, coffee and tea, we’ll be giving away advanced readers copies to those who buy a new book as well as a commemorative puzzle to mark the 20 years. (And if you don’t live here in Seattle, don’t worry, we’ll send you a nifty puzzle with your next order and perhaps an ARC as well!). The cake may be gone by the end of the day but we’ll be giving out ARCs and puzzles through Saturday. We’ll be closed on Sunday in honor of the 4th.
Thanks to one and all!
- the Crew