January 13, 2024
Eight Mystery Bookstores

Eight Mystery Bookstores

8 Bookstores the Specialize in Mystery Books

JC Gatlin

What’s better than a local bookstore? How about a local bookstore that focus exclusively on the mystery and suspense genre.

They’re out there. And these specializing bookshops have stocked their shelves with detective, cozy, crime, hardboiled, thrillers, espionage, suspense, and everything in between. In addition to selling books, they’ve creating communities where mystery lovers can connect, share their passion for the genre, and discover their next favorite author.

So, put away your magnifying glass. No need to hunt for clues. You’re now on the trail of eight mystery and suspense bookstores across the country.





(714) 743-6127



Mystery Ink Bookstore not only specializes in the mystery genre, featuring a diverse inventory from classics to current best sellers to autographed signed first editions, they specialize in mystery author events. Over the past 20+ years, they’ve hosted signings for many best-selling authors, including Michael Connelly, Jeffery Deaver, T. Jefferson Parker, Rhys Bowen, Cara Black, and many more.​

“We have numerous author talks/signings with the authors when their new novels come out which enables readers direct contact with the author,” says Mystery Ink owner Debbie Mitsch. “Readers have the chance to ask the authors questions and find out whatever they would like to know about their new books.”

Debbie provides books for many outside events including the Ladies of Intrigue Conference, the Literary Guild of Orange County, UCR-Palm Desert’s bi-yearly MFA Writers conferences and annual fundraising luncheons for several different libraries.  She is also a regular participant at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.

“I believe people love mysteries due to having a chance at escapism; being able to get lost in a book to solve the mystery and have a satisfying ending that doesn’t usually happen in real life,” Debbie adds. “I, personally, have always loved a good mystery.”

Mystery Bookstores





(410) 226-0010




Mystery Loves Company is a bookshop for “Scribes of the Shore.” With a fully stocked store and “warehouses” containing over 30,000 books, they offer an in-depth collection of mysteries, both new and gently used in hardback and paperback.

“Neil Gaimen said a town without a bookstore is not a town. I believe  that towns should have a bookstore as their nexus,” says Kathy Harig, bookseller and owner of Mystery Loves Company. Originally founded in Baltimore in 1991, the shop moved to the 360-year-old waterfront village of Oxford in 2006. Still, it remains the only bookstore specializing in mysteries in the Baltimore-Washington area and from New Jersey to Florida. “Because there is no other independent bookstore, we sell everything. But our heart is in mysteries,” Kathy says.  

They frequently host author signings and sponsor special mystery events. “We believe in supporting local authors,  nurturing them,  as well as bringing in the bestselling mystery authors when we can,” Kathy adds. “Our author events often partner with local inns, restaurants, libraries, historical societies,  churches,  community colleges and writers groups.”

In addition to publishing a monthly email newsletter of events, recommendations and new mystery titles, they can create mystery gift baskets with books, and related items, mugs and other goodies. “Our mission is to match the person to just the right mystery,” Kathy says. “I love what I do.”

Mystery Bookstores





(612) 824-9984



Uncle Edgar’s Mystery Bookstore (along with Uncle Hugo’s Sci-Fi Bookstore in the same building) just celebrated their 45th Anniversary. It’s an anniversary that was well-earned, as the shop recently re-opened after their previous location was destroyed in the 2020 riots. “After the fires burnt down the building, which was built in 1917, and we lost both stores, we rebuilt the space into one large space, so it’s now one shop stop for both mystery and sci-fi,” says owner Don Blyly.

Back in business, Uncle Edgar’s welcomes mystery readers of all stages, well-read to just getting started. Even though there’s two sides to the business, the Uncle Edgars staff knows the mystery market, according to Don, and can make recommendations for any mystery reader.

The store has a storied past, so to speak. After launching the successful sci-fi bookstore in 1974, Don saw an opportunity to expand. “People thought Uncle Hugo’s was a great concept but kept asking if we’d do the same thing for mysteries,” he explains. “I tried to talk some other people into that idea with no luck, so when a space opened up next door to us, I went ahead and took it and started the mystery store. The sci-fi store took off, but it took about three years for the mystery store to even break even, but we hung in there. Sci-Fi had local groups for us to get the word out when the store opened and we had to rely on word of mouth for the mystery side.”

Mystery Bookstores

Princeton, New Jersey




(609) 688-9840




Located just a short walk from Princeton University, The Cloak & Dagger is in a 100-year-old Colonial-revival home renovated to reflect an English style library. “(It’s) the atmosphere of a small ‘library setting’ like one would find in an English manor home, or dare we say, like a drawing room in an Agatha Christie mystery,” says proprietor Jerry Lenaz.

The Cloak & Dagger stock primarily new mystery paperbacks that cover all mystery genres, along with mystery gifts and collectibles, mystery audiobooks, videos, puzzles and games. “There’s nothing like a good mystery to tickle your puzzle-solving grey cells,” Jerry adds. “Matching wits with Hercule Poirot, Sherlock, Flavia de Luce, Ian Rutledge of Scotland Yard, Inspector Gamache from Quebec and, well the list goes on– is one of the greatest forms of aphrodisiac available. Sure great works of literature have a heady appeal. But a solid mystery that keeps you turning pages until the denouement moment where the perpetrator is revealed is such fun.”

Mystery Bookstores

New York City, New York




(212) 587-1011



Opened in 1979, The Mysterious Bookshop is the oldest mystery fiction specialty store in America. “Our store has that classic, old-time bookshop feel with floor to ceiling bookshelves and cozy atmosphere,” explains store manager, Ryan Lee Gilbert. “There’s nothing like it any longer.

Mysterious Bookshop stocks new mystery hardcovers, paperbacks, and periodicals, as well as features a superb collection of signed modern first editions, rare/collectible hardcovers and Sherlockiana. “Our staff is made up of mystery and true crime readers, and they love talking about the genre, not just in books but also films and TV shows. People come in looking for recommendations and our staff can always suggest something,” says Ryan.

The shop’s unique “Bibliomystery” series features novellas by some of the biggest authors in the genre, written exclusively for their store. Updates to this series, along with book clubs, signings and events are included int their weekly newsletter.  “We hosts a lot of author events throughout the year, giving readers the chance to meet their favorite authors,” adds Ryan. “Plus we have eight different monthly book clubs that are subgenre specific. Members get a 1st edition hardback copy of the book being read.”

Mystery Bookstores

Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania




(717) 795-7470




Mechanicsburg Mystery Bookshop has been operating for over 32 years, selling new and used books, as well as book accessories, t-shirts, hats, movies, puzzles, gift baskets, gift boxes, and gift bags. “I thought it would be great to have a bookshop that was focused on a wide range of mysteries. And I was very fortunate to be able to do just that, with the style of books that are very dear to my heart,” says owner Debbie Beamer, who has been a fan of mysteries ever since she read her first Nancy Drew book.

Debbie and her team have a goal to introduce customers to new and exciting authors every day and provide events for the community to expand their literature knowledge.

“We host a variety of events throughout the year, maintaining the pace of one a month with the help of our dedicated volunteers and staff,” Debbie says. “Some of our events include: our annual Murder As You Like It Mystery Conference in August, our newly added annual Cozy Mystery Fete in October, and our annual Author Showcase around November/December. We also host three monthly book discussion groups and our P.R.O.M.M. evening events on scheduled Wednesdays. Along with Book Release Launches, individual author events, and drop-by signings, we try to keep a very active author presence for our loyal customers.”

Mystery Bookstores

Oakmont, Pennsylvania




(412) 828-4877




Located just 20 minutes east of downtown Pittsburgh, Mystery Lovers Bookshop has been an independent bookstore specializing in the mystery genre for 33 years. “We have some readers that have been coming to us for that long,” says store owner, Tara Goldberg-DeLeo. They carry over 6,000 titles, including thrillers, noir, suspense, and cozies, too. “People come here to find popular mystery titles along with UK imports, established series, and some of the classics,” adds Tara.

Founders Mary Alice Gorman and Richard Goldman were nominated for a Bookseller of the Year Award by Publishers Weekly, received the Bookseller of the Year Award from Berkley Books, and recognition for Excellence in the Arts from Pittsburgh Magazine. In 2010, Mystery Lovers Bookshop received the Raven Award from the Mystery Writers of America in recognition of their contribution to the world of mystery writing.  The store was voted as Pittsburgh Magazine’s Best of the Burgh Independent Bookstore in 2019.

“Mystery readers are a loyal group and once they find a character, or setting they love, they stick with them through everything,” Tara says.

Mystery Bookstores

Madison, Wisconsin




(608) 283-9332




Next to the Monroe Street Branch library, Mystery to Me specializes in mystery & suspense to differentiate themselves from other local bookstores. They like to call themselves “a general bookstore with a specific name.”

“Our mystery section is very carefully curated and provides depths to series,” says Joanne Berg, owner of Mystery To Me Bookstore. “We like to introduce debut mystery authors as well as classical mystery stories to our customers.”

Other than a great selection of books, Mystery to Me hosts a wide variety of author and book-related events. “We’re active with many local reading groups,” adds Joanne. “We support and participate in the Wisconsin Book Festival, we actively engage in the Madison Reading Project to get hands into the books of young kids, and we bring in authors from around the globe (virtually and in-person).”

Even though their store stocks all types of book genres, the mystery genre is still their favorite. “I’m always amazed when people say ‘I’ve never read a mystery…’ I like to take the opportunity to talk with them about all of the different aspects of what makes a mystery,” Joanne concludes. “After all, isn’t every book a mystery if you don’t know how it ends?”

Mystery Bookstores

About the Author

JC Gatlin is an award-winning mystery-suspense author with Millford House Press, the fiction imprint for Sunbury Press. His newest book, Darkness Hides, was published in April 2021, and his 2019 mystery H_NGM_N: Murder is the Word won “Gold – Top Mystery or Crime Fiction” at the Florida Royal Palm Literary Awards. Prior to that, he wrote three Indie mystery-suspense novels set in Florida, including 21 Dares, which went to Number One on Amazon’s Top Mystery Suspense and Top Young Adult charts. JC lives in Tampa, Florida and is a member of the Florida Writers Association and a board member of the Florida Writers Foundation, which gives grants to schools and libraries for literacy programs.

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