|Mystery Lovers Bookshop, Oakmont, PA|
Beware the cats (thankfully for me, hypo-allergenically paper machier or stuffed). Beware the ravens. Beware the bathroom. And beware the books you'll find in Mystery Lovers Bookshop. There is absolutely no mystery about the fact that there is no "escape" from here without an addition to your own personal library. The only mystery is how many you can fit under your arm when you leave!
Fittingly, this bookstore opened on Halloween, 27 years ago (I wonder if a romance bookstore would open on Valentine's Day? I digress). This one-level space offers mostly new books along with used books. It's definitely a niche indie with its emphasis on mysteries, crimes, and thrillers. But if that's not your thing, don't let it deter you from visiting. You'll also find lots of general fiction including recent releases and best sellers. And there's a wonderful children's section conveniently located for them near the front of the store. Trevor and Natalie are the current owners and it was so refreshing (actually, "refreshing" isn't the right word because I'm hearing this from other indies as well) to hear Trevor tell me that things are going very well since they took over the business two years ago. This was especially encouraging since the stores' business is primarily with the books. There are very few sidelines here other than some token greeting cards, jigsaw puzzles, and a few miscellaneous items for kids. The store is also active with author events both in the store and off-site depending on the anticipated crowd.
It was my good fortune on the day of my visit to not only meet Trevor, but the original owner, Richard. Richard had a great vision when he opened the store and early on embraced technology and on-line sales which was a huge part of the store's initial success. It's thanks to people like Richard and the current owners, Trevor and Natalie, that this store has persevered and survived the challenges that have been placed in front of independent bookstores. Well done, folks!
I've been to several mystery "niche" bookstores over the course of my journey. Every single one has been outstanding from the store to the people I've met. Mystery Lovers is no exception to this and when you visit here you'll enjoy a 5-star store and a 5-star experience. Go to an indie and buy a book. Bonsoir.
JUST FINISHED: The Nix, Nathan Johnson. Story of a child and his mother who are separated when he is 10 years old and never meet again until the child is an adult and the mother has committed a high profile crime. Bounces back and forth between 1968 and present time. Also, lots of historical accounts of the 1968 Democratic Convention riots in Chicago. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Recommended.
CURRENTLY READING: A Cold Day In Paradise, Steve Hamilton.
RECENTLY PURCHASED: The Passenger, Lisa Lutz. My Dark Places, James Ellroy.
|Despite the glare, this is a great front window display.|
|View looking into the store from the front entrance.|
|View looking to the right from the front entrance and a portion of the children's section.|
|New releases display will greet you shortly after entering the store.|
|These New Yorker-themed greeting cards are a few of the sidelines.|
|A nice display of best sellers and award winners.|
|I always like the staff pick displays.|
|Pittsburgh has a very active literary community and lecture series.|
|Two great places to sit and sample a book.|
|Always check out the store events schedule.|
|Look for some bargains at the used books display.|
|This is another section that isn't found in every indie, books by British authors.|
|A few of the books of local interest and by local authors.|
|Skeletal remains of customers who merely browsed but didn't purchase.|
|View looking from the back of the store toward the front entrance.|
|I like the black and white checkered floor. Part of the mysterious vibe at Mystery Lovers Bookshop!|
|A few more of the sidelines, all literary themed.|
|You'll find things here you didn't know you needed. That's one of the attractions of independent bookstores.|
|I love the bathroom, something you won't find at Amazon. The decor is continually changing.|
|With Trevor on the right, one of the fine co-owners at Mystery Lovers. Thanks for a great visit.|