58 Warren Street, New York, NY
If you love mysteries, hardboiled detectives, noir, Sherlock Holmes, pulp novels, or police procedurals, this is your ideal shop. It’s just one room, but it’s a big room, with books shelved floor to ceiling and piled on tables and turning racks in between. With leather sofas for reading and helpful staff willing to climb ladders to get those out-of-reach gems, this specialized shop is a great place to browse and a lot of fun to visit.
When you enter, you’ll see a lot of newer hardcovers and signed copies on display near the front desk, and sometimes they have themed tables too, but the shelves along the walls are where you’ll find the real action, with new crime novels and classic hard-to-find books from writers all over the globe. The new paperbacks are on your left, and there are a bunch more hardcovers, signed, and used editions on the right, with the back wall filled with all sorts of Sherlock Holmes books and paraphernalia. They have the original tales and spin-offs, new takes by new authors, short story anthologies, and cross-over adventures, such as Holmes and Watson tackling Lovecraftian creatures and cults. Good stuff.
They also have titles from their own Mysterious Press, which republishes out-of-print classics (such as They Don’t Dance Much by James Ross, one of the best small-town noir novels I’ve ever read) and new titles in that same gritty, doomed, hardboiled spirit. Be sure to ask about these.
They don’t venture into other genres, so if mysteries aren’t what you’re looking for I’d head elsewhere. Otherwise, this shop is amazing and features crime writers from every subgenre and corner of the writing world that I can think of. Dig in, mystery lovers!
Atmosphere — One large room piled floor to ceiling with book of crime, mystery, and noir, a shop adorned with leather couches and ladders on rungs rolling along the shelves, smelling of paper and ink and a hint of dust in the loveliest way.
Quality — The books are new, used, pristine, reader-worn, but all reader ready.
Quantity — The largest collection of mystery and crime I have ever seen.
Diversity — If by diversity you look for mystery, crime, noir, AND hardboiled, then yes, this is a diverse collection.
Affordability — The new books are full price, but the used books are priced fairly, and there are plenty of affordable paperbacks, booklets, “dime” and pulp novels and you can well walk away with enough books to keep you happy and not break the bank.
Amenities — The shop contains chairs and couches for sitting, gifts and shirts for passionate fans, and there are plenty of cafes and bars nearby to sit and read your purchases.
Location — It’s in lower Manhattan, but easily accessible by a few subway stops, and pretty close to places like City Hall and the World Trade Center area.
Customer Service — The staff are working away at desks spread throughout the room, working phones or clacking away on computers, but were happy to answer questions and climb ladders for those browsing through the shop. They are knowledgeable and helpful.
Overall — This is the best shop for mysteries and crime novels that I’ve yet to find, and I imagine it will be hard to top. Floor to ceiling with signed copies, paperbacks, pulp, and pamphlets, this shop covers a wide spectrum of mystery literature. Have fun, crime fans!