Like a lot of places, New York City doesn’t have as many bookstores as it used to have. On the other hand, the number of Starbucks outlets has increased exponentially in the last ten years. And it continues to have plenty of guys selling handbags and watches, as well as helpful folks wanting to make sure you don’t miss an opportunity to go to a comedy club.
But mystery lovers who make an effort will be rewarded. A short subway ride to Greenwich Village will bring you to the doorstep of Partners & Crime. What’s great about this bookstore is the many hand-lettered signs, helping you find the books you’ll most enjoy reading. I discovered a Kate Atkinson, When Will There be Good News?, that I am currently enjoying. Atkinson’s book interweaves several perspectives and backstories in a way that reminds me that there’s more to mysteries than clomping through a chronology in first person. (I can diss this style because that’s what I do.) Good News is out in paperback and a heck of a bargain, so go buy it. I also bought a thriller, Close-Up, by Esther Verhoef and translated from the Dutch. I read a couple of chapters in the store to be sure, and its got me hooked already. Margot’s just getting over a rough break-up when she meets a mesmerizing man… he opens new doors for her, she’s spreading her wings. Only the reader suspects he’s a killer. But is he?
Also worth visiting is Otto Penzler’s Mysterious Bookshop in Tribeca, especially when accompanied by lunch at the Kitchenette, a thrift store stop, and less than 30 minutes in line at the TKTS booth to snag two tickets to Billy Elliott at half-price. I was lured into a signed copy of Caught by Harlan Coben (always a favorite) as well as Linwood Barclay‘s Never Look Away, after reading a comparison of the two books in today’s New York Times. I’ve read both authors before and am interested in reading them back to back.
The Mysterious Bookshop’s allure is burnished by its owner, Otto Penzler, well-known on the mystery scene for decades and editor of the Best American Mystery Stories and the Best American Crime Writing series for years. So well-known is he that he was tapped to write Robert B. Parker’s obituary in Time magazine.
Both mystery bookstores are comfortable, ready for browsing, and feature comfortable chairs and nearby coffee shops. Both are stuffed to the gills with autographed books. And both are well-worth visiting, so bring your credit cards and a canvas bookbag!