The Mysterious Bookshop

Want to give someone you know a real thrill?  Send them a postcard!  Yes, write a personal message on a card, stamp it, and pop it into a letter box!

‘But why?’ Is the cry?  Why bother to do that when we have texting and email and smoke signals and passenger pigeons and----oh, wait, passenger pigeons have been extinct for one hundred and two years.  Where was I?  Ah, the postcard. Cards without images date back to 1840 in Britain (possibly as a joke) and picture postcards were introduced in 1870 in France commemorating the Franco-Prussian war. Bowing in 1873 in the US, the picture postcard is a fun, succinct way to send an unexpected message and give someone a pleasant surprise.  Checking your emails?  Big deal.  Checking your mailbox and finding something cool?  Sweet.

Here at Mysterious we have postcards featuring covers of vintage mystery paperbacks. Cost: a measly dollar.  Postage? An even measlier thirty-five cents.

Just right for your friend or loved one who doesn’t ‘do’ the internet!

Mind you, each of the images on these cards is an actual book that was written by someone and published, presumably, by someone else.  So stop by and pick up a few of these and brighten someone’s day with a personal, handwritten message!  Here's a small sample:



The femme fatale!  Good when she's bad, bad when she's good, but always dangerous!  Note the typical use of provocative cover poses, which may or may not have relevance to the actual story.  Of course, with competition for rack space so keen, the paperback publishers tried to outdo one another with their lurid, colorful cover images, the better to catch the prospective readers' eye.

Money is the root of all evil.  Or is it the lack of money?  Either way, dressing and undressing ladies, germane to the plot or no, was always a popular motif, as was the never ending battle for the filthy lucre.


Are women of a certain age more susceptible to suggestion?  More prone to fall in with miscreants?  Liable to be miscreants themselves?  No?  Well, good! Younger man/older woman themes were common in pulpy fiction. 


Alternative lifestyles, while not mainstream as is often the case today, were certainly written about during the gilded age of vintage paperbacks. Indeed, there was an entire subgenre of lesbian paperback fiction:

Take a look at our reference section; there's quite a bit about women authors and characters as well as various research works on various aspects of mystery fiction.

Why not make someone's day and pick up a few postcards to send?  Plenty in stock, drop by or call 212.587.1011 between 11-7 daily except Sundays.  Simply ask and we'll find a good book, just to your taste, that you can read while at the post office!

Questions/Comments/Inverted Jenny Stamps?

Written by Ian Kern — March 28, 2016


We are devoted to all things mysterious, from hard-boiled hardcovers to pulpy paperbacks, suspected signings and whispers around town.

Located at 58 Warren St in New York City, we are open Monday-Saturday from 11am-7pm. 212.587.1011

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