Seattle Mystery Bookshop

Logo courtesy of Seattle Mystery Bookshop

Seattle, Washington has long been known as a reader's town. Some may mistake that reason to be that it is the home of Amazon's headquarters, but that would be a small view on a city with a rich literary culture. From the Elliot Bay Bookstore to Left Bank Books and the glorious Seattle Public Library, the local reader scene in Seattle is a vital part of the community. One part of the scene that is of particular interest is Seattle Mystery Bookshop.

Located on Cherry Street, just down from the Cherry Street Coffee House, Seattle Mystery Bookshop has been a treasured part of the city ever since they opened in 1990. The shop is full of nooks and crannies waiting to be explored, books you'll be hard pressed to find elsewhere, and warm, knowledgeable service. I got to chat with Bookseller, Fran Fuller about what makes Seattle Mystery Bookshop such a vital part of the Seattle scene.

"Seattle is a readers town. We have a lot of indie bookstores here. We are so lucky.” According to Fuller, Founder, Bill Farley had moved from Philadelphia out of the desire to bring a specialized shop like this to the Emerald City. Seattle welcomed his shop with open arms.

A little-known fact about Seattle Mystery Bookshop is that in the days just prior to their opening a hopeful reader walked in off the street wanting to purchase a signed book. Unfortunately, the founder and original owner Bill Farley didn't have the change. As it happened, mystery author, JA Jance was visiting the shop to discuss her books. She was able to make change for Farley, thus beginning the strong relationship between Seattle Mystery Bookshop and Jance that endures today.

Beyond their illustrious beginning, they stock a staggering array of mysteries, so whether your bent is towards suspense, locked room or graphic novel mysteries, there is something for everyone looking to solve a puzzle. They also carry a healthy selection of YA novels that aren't necessarily mysteries, such as Garth Nix's new release, Goldenhand. The staff and owners of the shop believe that it is important to encourage teens to read and want to make sure to give them something they will love.

Beyond the page, Seattle Mystery Bookshop is known for those little extras. They have spent decades cultivating relationships with the writers they carry, which trickles down to the customers in the form of signed books and author events.

Speaking of author events, they don't stick to the regular format of a reading from a podium followed by a quick signing. Readers enjoy real face-time with authors for a more personal experience. They throw parties for customers to come and enjoy themselves while they meet and chat up their favorite writers.

As far as book clubs go, they don't run their own, but they do the next best thing. They refer and connect readers looking for a club to one that suits their taste making them sort of the of the book industry.

So, how does Seattle Mystery Bookshop standout?

According to Fuller, "We do our best not to fall on our faces. We are very personable with readers and supportive. We take care of our product and treat books with care. We listen to the customers and use our intuition to recommend books. We also go out of our way to support authors as artists. We humanize writers for their readers and invest in our readers."

This is the kind of customer experience that readers crave.

Whether you live in the Emerald City or beyond, be sure to check out Seattle Mystery Bookshop here.


I have been immersed in the magazine world since 2009, getting my start as the Food Editor for the...



on Instagram!