The Mysterious Bookshop

Just in time for Xmas, an original holiday story set right here at the Mysterious Bookshop!  Note that y_r friendly blogger made all this up, no actual persons, books, or incidents are contained in the story or should be inferred.


'Tis The Season To Be Dead!

She shouldn’t of done it. That’s what started the whole mess. Well, not only that she done it, but that she kinda threw it in my face. I mean, why did she come in here in the first place?  That’s what I can’t figure out.  If she didn’t want--what?  Oh.  Well, I’ll try. The beginning, huh?  Got to go back a ways for that, I guess.

I’d been at Mysterious since almost the beginning back in ‘79.  It just didn’t feel the same after we moved downtown in 2005.  Change is always hard, isn’t it?  But something was different.  Maybe it was the way the city and the world changed, too.  People were more touchy and less willing to listen.  What?  Sure, I’m just as bad!  I’m human too, you know.  Now where was I?  You’re making me lose my place.

So anyway I saw people come and go and all the time it was just me and Otto. I started in the shipping room after the guy who was there got busted for dealing. At least that was the rumor; he just stopped coming in one day and that’s what everyone said.  So I did that for a while and then I went up to the sales floor when Joanne left, ‘cause I read more than everyone else put together.  And not just mysteries, either.  I like books on classical music and sports and birding and a whole lot of stuff.  Ever since I can remember I just read and read all the time. Never did watch too much TV, there’s just too much crap out there.  But I never missed Perry Mason.  Did you ever see it?  Raymond Burr was just terrific in that part.  I heard he read for Tragg the homicide guy but the producers or somebody decided he would be a good Mason and they were right.

So I was at the front desk for a few years and then I was Oscar’s assistant for a while but that didn’t last long. Why?  I think it was because we were too similar.  We had no patience for nonsense and that included each others.

Back I went to the sales floor.  That was ok.  I liked it there. People were always asking what to read and I liked turning them on to new authors and new genres. Most of our customers were regulars and had been shopping with us for a long time. Being in downtown Fun City, we got a lot of visitors and tourists and between them and our regulars it got so everyone that came in or called fell into one of the two categories.  See, the crime fiction business is a funny one--folks ask us all the time, ‘What should I read? Tell me what to read!’  So we’d all make sure to at least have a handle on what was new and hot as well as the vintage stuff so we could point folks in the right direction as far as something they might like.  And very rarely did anyone come into the shop and complain about a title or author that we’d recommended.  In fact, I don’t think anyone ever told me that I’d pushed a dud on them.  Until one night just before Christmas.  A woman came in right before closing which we all hate but which comes with the territory.  As usual I was thinking about supper and my easy chair but on the surface I was polite.  This lady seemed perfectly reasonable, smiled, said hello, and reached into her bag and withdrew a book and hurled it at me with all her might.  And her aim was pretty good, she clocked me right in the nose. I caught the book as it fell and noticed that it was the new one from Fowler Hawthorne, who wrote swashbuckling spy stories with himself as the thinly disguised protagonist.  But no matter who the author was, I was dripping blood and hopping mad and for once I lost my cool with a customer.  ‘What the hell did you do that for?’

‘You can’t sell this!’

‘Say what!?’ I honked.

‘This story is all about me and I never gave my permission!  Burn all copies immediately!’


Well, now, what the heck is this all about?  Tune in next week for the next installment of 'Tis The Season To Be Dead!

And while we're waiting, we have several holiday-themed mysteries on hand, perhaps you saw our gift ideas email recently?  Drop a line or drop in if you'd like some thoughts on what to give those on your list! 

Questions/Comments/Cookies and Milk by the fireplace?

Written by Ian Kern — December 01, 2017

Specializing in Mystery Fiction and all its subgenres, including Detective, Crime, Hardboiled, Thrillers, Espionage, and Suspense.

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

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