I'm not trying to leave anyone out here. If I've missed out your favorite source for goodies, for gosh sake's let me know. And remember, bookstore owners--the webmaster can be bribed.
And if you're looking for a specific book, try these Book Search Services...
Oh, and if you do do business with anyone here, tell 'em I sent you...(it can't hurt)...
Sleuth of Baker Street
One of the all-time great mystery stores on the planet, established in 1979, and one of the best parts of going to visit my brother in Toronto. Mr. Singh and staff know/have/can lay hands on almost everything in the mystery field you ever dreamed/wished/hoped for. A good place for Americans to order British books, and homesick Canadians to stock up. They take orders via e-mail, phone, fax or by their web site.
Jamie Fraser Books
Jamie (a member of A.B.A.C.) specializes in pulps & pulp fiction and paperback collectibles, science fiction, fantasy, horror and... MYSTERIES!!! Darn! Another reason to visit Toronto! By appointment, telephone, internet & mail order.
- Jamie Fraser Books
34 Dundalk Drive, Unit 29
Mysteries to Die For
Thousand Oaks, CA
Out in the hig desert boondocks of Palmdale, your choice of mysteries is pretty much limited to the local Barnes & Noble (who really do try) and the Borders Express in the mall (which is just trying). So, every now and then, I fire up the Kevmobile and make my way to Mysteries to Die for, the small but book-packed mecca of murder and mayhem in Thousand Oaks. Author signings are always fun; genuinely low-key casual meet-and-greets that avoid the express checkout lane vibe of some stores, where the guy in front of you, who smells of last week's garlic, always seems to have more than fifteen items. Plus, if Lee's in the house and the author flogging their stuff is hard-boiled enough, there's always the chance of a post-signing pub crawl.
Gary Warren Niebuhr's P.I.E.S.
A bookdealer specializing in PIs. P.I.E.S. stands for Private Investigator Entertainment Service. Catalogs of new and used private eye fiction. This guy knows his stuff! And his online catalog proves I'm not the only one obsessive about this stuff! Go there and buy something from him!
- Gary Warren Niebuhr, Owner
P. O. Box 341218
Milwaukee, WI 53224
Ed and Pat Thomas' Edgar Award-winning Book Carnival is a mostly used mystery book store located in Orange, California that also specializes in dark fantasy. If you're looking for that special rare or used book, tthis is the place. Hands down, one of the best used mystery bookstores I've ever seen. you can find them at 348 Tustin Avenue in Orange, California.
Mystery & Imagination
This used bookstore specializes in Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror, but it's their fantastic treasure trove of used mysteries you'll want to check out, which includes not just the usual twenty-year old mass markets, but goodies from as far back as the forties. Also, extensive collections of Dell Mapbacks, crime anthologoes and even mystery reference books. As an added bonus, it's right across the street from the Brand Bookstore, a more general used bookstore which also often has some great used crime novels (and first edition hardcovers). When I go out on a book crawl, it's one of my first stops these days...
BOOKSELLERS & DEALERS
AudioMysteries.com rents audiobooks starting at $7.50. Choose from over 500 audio book mystery and suspense titles on CD and MP3-CD format. Titles rent for 30%-50% less than other sites, and there are no clubs or monthly plans to join.
Independent Mystery Booksellers Association
Check out the following suggestions, but if you can't find a store near you, go to this site. It's exactly what it sounds like, and you can also check out how the individual stores' bestseller lists combine on a national basis, at least for the U.S..
Black Bird Mysteries
Proprietor Kathleen Riley assures you that Keedysville, Maryland's Black Bird Mysteries "can get you just about any book in print, mystery or other, we offer a pretty darn good selection of collectible/used/out of print titles in our on-line catalog, and if you don't see it listed we'll track it down for you. Plus we send FREE e-mail newsletters to you monthly to keep you up-to-date on upcoming mystery releases, give you a few recommendations, and other useful bits of information. And we're building our list of series mysteries all the time."
Black Orchid Bookstore
Located at 303 E. 81st St. in New York city, this is allegedly the best source for Nero Wolfe books. Bonnie and Joe Claeson know every book in the store and are always ready to assist in finding the right mystery, new or pre-owned, for you.
Graham Powell's Amazon.com and Powells.com (no relation) affiliate book and movie store. Graham's goal was to offer a source for books by writers of classic noir like Charles Williams and Fredric Brown, in addition to more recent writers.
Bloody Dagger Books
Nick Pappas' San Diego bookstore, specializing in (what else?) crime and mystery books.
When ordering books in French or English that aren't easily available to US bookstores, some folks have evidently had excellent service from this bookstore in Montreal. There's no search engine, but you can place an order by e-mail, telephone or fax.
An Internet (AbeBooks and Amazon) and book fair dealer, specializing in modern mysteries with an emphasis on Bill Pronzini and Marcia Muller.
(Looking for a specific book? Try these Search Engines)
Alan Conchar's secondhand /used bookstore offers treasures in over fifty categories, from antiquarian first-edition factual books to all types of fiction. A fun and extensive bookstore with a radical Celtic flavour, selling to all over the world from Cardiff, Wales.
Dead End Books
An independent Internet mystery bookstore offering bargain hardcovers, signed 1st editions, classic paperback classics, UK imports, and more. While hardboiled is their favorite, they carry books from all mystery genres.
Dime Box Books
A mail-order book dealer specializing in vintage paperbacks and girlie magazines, that promises "Pop artifacts for discerning collectors." Pure pulp for particular people". I like the warning blurb: If you are under 18 years of age or if you are easily offended by things deemed politically incorrect (like stark naked women, lurid violence and sexual depravity), then this web site is not your cup of tea. Please seek your entertainment elsewhere." Yet most of this stuff is tamer than the average TV ad for the latest "kid's" film at the multiplex. Ya think maybe times have changed?
Dunn and Powell's
Specializing in mystery and suspense books for serious collectors.
Franklin M. Stevens
A busy boy, Frank sells vintage paperbacks, comics, TV Guides and other pulp-based stuff. He's strictly a small-potatoes operator...that is, he claims he's "not a dealer by trade, it's just my hobby." Maybe, but you never know what goodies he has...drop him a line and see...
G. Curwen Books, ABAA
Specializing since 1992 in rare, scarce and out-of-print crime fiction of all kinds, this Bay Area dealer is a member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America, a long-time friend of Bouchercon (and one-time friend of Anthony Boucher). Collectors' want lists welcome.
From out of Cincinatti comes this site, with reguarly updated catalogs available online, featuring collectibles, rarities, signed first editions, etc. Also new is a browsable & searchable list of used mystery magazines including Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock MM, Mike Shayne MM, The Saint MM, The Armchair Detective, a small selection of pulp magazines, fan magazines and others.You can also search the entire stock of more than 16,000 items by author or title. Shopping cart technology and a secure server for credit card orders.Greetings.
Hooked on Books
Hooked on Books sell vintage and collectible paperbacks - specializing in mystery and science fiction - as well as pulps, digests and ephemera. They located at 630 Blackhawk Lane in Bolingbrook IL
From straight outta Brooklyn, Jeff specializes in used mysteries (mostly British editions) by mail order, and the occasional convention, mostly reasonably-priced copies of out of print stuff, though he does have some newer books as well. No web site, but he will e-mail folks if they want a copy of his sales list. People sometimes think that means only British authors, but he assures us it's British editions, not just British authors.
San Francisco's KAYO books specializes in vintage pulp/trash/kitsch/hardboiled paperbacks from the 1940s to 1970s. They boast that their small store is like "a museum of pulp fiction and non-fiction. The stock presents a glimpse into the lurid past of dimestore novels, sleazy 1960s exploitation, and 1970s pop culture." They've got some great covers posted, but I wish they'd post their catalogue on-line. Their business card says "Vintage Paperbacks and Pulp -- Mystery- SciFi- Counterculture- Sleaze." Our roving correspondent Randal Brandt adds, "If you've never actually visited the store, I would suggest that it alone is worth the price of a trip out there. Pulp and sleaze dirt cheap ... you gotta love it!"
"M" is for Mystery...
The largest, most complete mystery specialty bookstore in Northern California -- and certainly in San Mateo, this long-time fan favourite hosts year-round signings, from the top bestsellers to debut discoveries. In addition to their large inventory of mystery, crime and detective fiction, they also feature selected current literary fiction and nonfiction -- plus a large number of signed books, and collectibles.
John Mitchell's store, in Pasadena, California, has over 50,000 hardback out-of-print mysteries, which is their speciality, as well as about 8,000 paperbacks. They also carry back issues of Ellery Queen and Alfred Hitchcock and other mystery magazines. If you're in the area, drop by, or give 'em a call at (626) 798-4438. Or check out their web site.
Murder By The Book
Kevin Barbero's Rhode Island store, startted in 1978, boasts of being "New England's oldest Mystery Bookstore." Kevin carries some new but mostly used paperbacks and hardcovers for readers and collectors. When in Cranston, RI stop in and say hello!!! You can also e-mail them, or visit their page at The Advanced Book Exchange.
Murder Ink (New York)
They proudly bill themselves as "The World's Oldest Mystery Bookstore," and they may very well be right -- they've been at it forever, it seems, or at least since 1972, when it was opened by Dilys Winn. Murder Ink was the first bookstore anywhere devoted entirely to crime fiction. They claim to carry "every mystery in print, as well as a vast selection of out-of-print paperbacks, rare books, and signed first editions."
Murder Is Served
A mystery bookstore in Dayton, OH, operated by John Bierman, which offers "Free quarterly catalogs by US mail or the internet, listing over ists 2,000 hb mystery titles in first editions or reading copies priced from $4-$100. Visits by appointment.
A mystery site with links to Amazon.com. Site owner Nancy Eaton sponsors a contest for people to win free books. As well, there are several mystery author interviews for fans to read. She lists the top selling books, audiobooks, etc. I would appreciate a link.
Mysteries in Print
Bill Palmer, of Bogie's Restaurant fame, runs this online bookstore. An on-going listing of new and upcoming mystery books and books on tape, and discounts of from 10 to 40% are common. A very good selection of private eye books, with synopsises, and release dates, should be of interest to anyone reading this. And you can e-mail Bill at MIP@Bogies.net.
Mysteries to Die For
Out in the hig desert boondocks of Palmdale, your choice of mysteries is pretty much limited to the local Barnes & Noble (who really do try) and the Borders Express in the mall (which is just trying). So, every now and then, I fire up the Kevmobile and make my way to Mysteries to Die for, the small but book-packed mecca of murder and mayhem in Thousand Oaks. Author signings are always fun; genuinely low-key casual meet-and-greets that avoid the cash-register ca-ching vibe of some of the larger stores. Plus, if Lee's in the house and the author flogging their stuff is hard-boiled enough, there's always the chance of a post-signing pub crawl.
Mystery Books From Texas
For a good selection of mystery & thriller paperbacks -- as well as some nice 1st editions & ARCs, all at great prices -- visit Bill kirkpatrick's Ebay Store. If you can't find your needs there, he claims to have hundreds more that are unlisted. you can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Mystery Cellar
Offers mystery fans a comprehensive selection of books from cat mysteries to true crime, as well as mystery games, contests, a writer's desk and more. Secure shopping cart provided through Barnes & Noble. (Cats? CATS???)
Mystery Loves Company
A Baltimore-based (well, actually, Fells Point) mystery book store, run by Kathy Harig, with new and used mystery titles. A member of the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association, it doesn't have its own web site, but it is listed on the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association's Web Site and the Fells Point Web Site. They do accept orders by e-mail, though, at email@example.com, or phone 'em at 1-(800) 538-0042. You can also read a brief but interesting article about their battles with the biggies, and internet booksellers here.
Located on Kloof Street in Cape Town, South Africa, this general interest bookstore nonetheless does crime fiction right, proudly displaying inscribed photographs from authors such as Michael Palmer, Lee Child, Ken Follett, Sidney Sheldon, Jonathan and Faye Kellerman, James Rollins, Ann Rule, Stephen Leather, Clive Cusseler, David Baldacci, Wilbur Smith and Patricia Cornwell. Their stated aim is "to bring readers and authors closer together.... We try our best to give our customers and store visitors a reading experience, being able to read messages from their favourite authors while browsing our bookshelf for their next read."
San Francisco Mystery Book Store
Located at 4175 - 24th Street in San Francisco, this is the oldest mystery book store in the USA. Selling both new and used, out of print, 1st editions, vintage, pulp, etc.
Scene of the Crime Books
Located at 2464 Lakeshore Road West, Oakville, Ontario in the Great White North, Donald and Jennifer Longmuir's bookstore specializes in new and out-of-print hard cover, trade paper and paperback mysteries and crime novels. They're regular attendants at Bouchercon, Bloody Words and the Toronto Antiquarian Book Fair.
Spenser's Mystery Bookshop
Andy Thurnauer opened Spenser's way back in 1984, selling used hardcover and paperbackmysteries -- at the time, Spenser was just about the only Boston PI around, so a lot has changed since then. "We've added new publications," says Kathy Phillips, "both hard and soft, but we're still the place to come in Boston for a great selection of used mysteries, especially first editions at reasonable prices."
Top Suspense Writers
A new site for shopping mystery and crime e-books, promising all killer/no filler, by six "top suspense writers," as chosen by, well, themselves. A great idea, even if the smugness is a little grating. Authors include Max Allan Collins, Ed Gorman and Harry Shannon.
Independent Mystery Booksellers Association
Can't find a store near you? Check out this site. It's exactly what it sounds like, and you can also check out how the individual stores' bestseller lists combine on a national basis, at least for the U.S..
The Mystery Guild
Hardcover's too expensive, but you can't wait for the paperback? Then these are the guys for you. The Mystery Guild has been publishing lower-priced hardcover book-club editions for grateful mystery fans for over fifty years, and they're still at it. The club offers hundreds of mystery books, in all genres, many exclusive to the club, and the usual great introductory offer for new members (six books for 99 cents!), as well as exclusive interviews and short fiction.
Can't find that elusive 1956 Mark Savage, P.I. paperback of "Die, You Dirty Swine, Die, Die, Die, Die"? after prowling through miles of aisles of dusty, dirty used bookstores, church bazaar, yard sales and flea markets? let yer fingers do the walking. Generally, I prefer the hands-on thrill of the search for rare treasure, but how much dust can one man breathe? Try these search engines or deal with the dealers themselves. Unless, of course, you're looking for the same books I am.
The Advanced Book Exchange (ABE)
A wonderful search engine that allows you to wander through the catalogues of used book stores all over the world. I finally caved in and used it and found two books I've been looking for for over fifteen years. And not too expensive either (although that would depend on the individual store, and what one calls expensive). you can even search for books from this site.
Listen to these guys from Atlanta strut! "Are you serious about finding that rare or out-of-print mystery book? So are we. That's ALL we do! We are the only fully operational search service designed to give aggressive, personal service to the mystery collector. We use not one, but numerous methods to locate the book you are seeking. This is all done at no charge to you."
Alibris bills itself as The Ultimate Source of Used, Rare, and Hard-to-Find Books," and promises "the books you thought you'd never find." Formerly known as Interloc, their site also has a lot of interesting information and links on book collecting.
AddALL Used and Out of Print Search
A powerful metasearch engine that queries a dozen major used book search engines, including ABE Books, Alibris, Antiqbook, Barnesandnoble.com, Bibliofind, BookCloseOuts, BookAvenue, Gutenberg Holdings, Hamiltonbook, Powell's Books and Yourbooks. You can organize the results by Price Ascending or Descending, and also by the same with Title, Author, and Searching Site. AddALL produces a lot more hits than some of its rivals.
A book-finding service which searches thousands of booksellers to locate requested rare books.
Bills itself as "The Ultimate Source for Out-of-Print Books." This meta-search engine searches other book/web-search engines, including Advanced Book Exchange, Bibliofind, Interloc, Powells, Antiqbook, Bibliocity, and YourBooks. Granted, this makes for some repeats as many of the sellers list on mutliple sites, but it is the most comprehensive search I've found. Even Amazon and Barnes and Noble are both using Bookfinder as a resource to locate O/P books, which they then mark up and sell to their own customers.
Jim Leftwich Book Searches
Did you know that nearly 95% of all books are now out of print? Jim Leftwich ( you can also e-mail him) can find a mystery or any type of book. He will search through the holdings of more than a a thousand used, rare, and specialist bookshops. If he finds your book he will quote you a fair price and throw in a free dictionary/thesaurus for free (just mention his site).
MISSING A DUST JACKET?
Facsimile Dust Jackets
Found that one-in-a-zillion rare hardcover in a church sale or thrift bin, and blown all of a quarter for it, but it lacks a dust jacket? Let the crew at Facsimile Dust Jackets dress up your treasure, so it can proudly take its rightful place of honour on your shelf. FDJ print brilliant facsimile editions of the original covers, working from original sources. An extensive collection includes many rare crime and detective novels, ranging from Cleve F. Adams to Raoul Whitfield. Yeah, it's not the real deal, but man, do they look cool! and they've recently branched out, offering posters as well.
IF YOU REALLY MUST... MEGA ON-LINE STORES
Buy Canadian, eh? Indigo took over their competitor, Chapters, the online version of the Canadian book store chain that arose out of the merger of Coles and W.H. Smith, when Chapters got too big for their britches. Indigo (aka "Chapters/Indigo") offers competitive prices, and books from the U.K. and Canada that American dealers just don't carry.
This Canadian bookstore chain, located mostly in Quebec, now incorporating both the Garneau and Champigny chains, is the place to find "polars" (mysteries) both originally written in French and in translation from other languages. Just click on "litterature policiere" from the main menu. If you are in the US, getting books from Canada should prove much cheaper and quicker than from France. The website also includes an English section.
Barnes and Noble
This American chain call themselves the "World's Largest Bookseller Online."
These guys, also American, call themselves the "World's Largest Online Bookseller." Got the difference? I should also mention that I'm an Associate Member. Most of the books for sale on this site are through Amazon. If this bothers you, please read this...
Hey, give the little guy a shot. These guys claim they undersell Amazon by 4-10, and offer competitive shipping rates. Send 'em an e-mail cinemaclassicsnv@gmailcom at and they'll send you a free catalogue.