/ The Seattle Traveler
Seattle — By Mary Jo Manzanares on April 10, 2010 at 3:08 pm
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It’s a Mystery at this Book Store

Whether you’re a fan of mysteries, or haven’t really got a clue about the genre, you’ll find something to love and take home with you at Seattle Mystery Books.  Located in the Pioneer Square area, the bookstore focuses on mystery books and authors and stocks both hard covers and paperbacks, new and used.

Sherlock Holmes silhouette The store is affiliated with the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association, and defines a mystery as a literary structure that is a work of fiction, yet also includes crime (frequently a murder but could be other crimes), a detective (police, private, or amateur), an investigative process, and the discovery and unveiling of the guilty party. Within the mystery genre, there are several classifications breaking it down even further:

  • Whodunit: Typically used to describe tradition mysteries from the 20’s and 30’s.
  • Crime: Generally deals with an urban crime and the implications of it. In some of the more recent novels, the story is told from the standpoint of the “criminal.” Many times you know “whodunit,” you just don’t know how the larger issues get resolved.
  • Cozy: The “crime” is committed “offstage.” That is, you know it occurred, but you don’t get all the ugly details. Agatha Christie is probably the best known in this classification.
  • Hard-boiled: Real life stuff, generally in an urban locale, and frequently involving a private detective. This is also the stuff of which movies are made, i.e., The Maltese Falcon.
  • Soft-boiled: Realism with a touch of humor, and lots of optimism.
  • Thrillers: Heavy emphasis on the plot, which has plenty of action. The “hero” or “heroine” frequently comes into peril, and has to reach deep within to find a way out of the predicament, i.e., James Bond.
  • Suspense: Somewhat similar to thrillers, but more psychological threats of harm rather than physical fear a la Hitchcock.
  • The Caper: Centers around the commission of a crime, and involves lots of humor. Readers frequently root for the “bad” guys.

Stop by Seattle Mystery Books and pick up something by your favorite author, or talk to the personable staff and get a recommendation for something new. You’ll likely discover a new author who will keep you up reading until long after midnight.

Seattle Mystery Books hosts author readings and signings on an ongoing basis, and the upcoming list is quite impressive!  They also have a blog where you can keep track of special events, new releases, and the occasional guest post from mystery authors.  You can also find Seattle Mystery Books on Twitter and Facebook.

Location: 117 Cherry Street, Pioneer Square (map)

Hours: Monday – Saturday, 10 am – 5 pm; Sunday, noon – 5 pm

Photo credit: SXC

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  • I had no idea there was such a thriving “mystery” niche scene. I love the mystery bookstore in Houston so I’ll definitely visit this one!

  • I’m a big fan of the mystery genre, especially psychological and legal thrillers. I can get hooked and find myself up all night trying to finish a book! This is a great bookstore.

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