119 Main Street, Brattleboro, VT
I previously reviewed a bookshop with a similar name in Johnstown, NY, but this one out in southeastern Vermont seems to be its own entity, and it had some cool little tricks up its sleeves. Unlike the Johnstown shop, this one actually focuses exclusively on mystery, crime, and noir titles. And being located right in the heart of downtown Brattleboro, surrounded by a plethora of cafes and shops, you can easily work this store into an adventurous afternoon of browsing.
It’s a smaller shop, but it does extend far enough back to contain event space and a few extra rows of books, plus the walls are packed the whole way back. Just to the right inside the door is a shelf entirely of new titles, recent bestsellers, and some of the bigger names in mystery and crime. To the left and along many of the rows in the back are the real meat and potatoes of the shop, with plenty of subgenres of mystery fiction to paw through. There’s also a table with sale titles near the register, and there was a small-ish true crime section too. While I hoped this would have been bigger (I was looking for a couple in particular) the fiction selection offers plenty to keep you busy.
There were some great signed editions, and some classic noir posters, magazines, anthologies, and art books in the back too. Near the black and white parquet floor (a nice touch for that throwback feel) there were some couches and chairs for relaxing or for signings. It was a nice space, and while it was quiet when I walked in, the shop filled up quickly as the afternoon wore on. If mysteries, crime, hardboiled, femme fatale, classic Hollywood, cozies, or procedural paperbacks are your thing, this shop is for you.
Atmosphere — A clean and friendly shop with nice space for events and plenty of crime and mystery titles to sift through.
Quality — The books were all in great shape, even the discounted titles.
Quantity — It’s not a huge shop, but there were enough mystery books to keep me browsing for a while.
Diversity — They deal specifically in mystery and crime, so don’t waltz in looking for the latest sci-fi or YA hit. But as far as mystery goes, they hit most of the main subgenres. Though a little more true crime would have been awesome.
Affordability — Not too bad, with the discounted titles.
Amenities — Couches and chairs, and it looked like they held some events too. Plus you’re right downtown near plenty of places to grab a bite afterward.
Location — Downtown Brattleboro, a quick drive from New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and an hour from the NY border with VT.
Customer Service — The gentleman there was police and let me browse at my leisure.
Overall — If you’re itching for the latest mystery or a crime classic, this is the shop to hit in southeastern Vermont. A pleasant space with a nice selection. If you love mysteries, you’ll find something to bring home from this one.