Year after year, from Agatha Christie to Tiffany D. Jackson, mysteries continue to hook readers. And why shouldn’t they? With genres from cozy to spine-chilling and many long-running series to choose from, mystery readers can always find something new to puzzle over. Whether you’re seeking out a new author to spend your reading time with, a charming small village with an unusual amount of murders to be solved, or a classic whodunnit, finding new mystery books is a delightful challenge. But what are readers to do when they’ve been through almost everything their local store or library offers in the mystery section? Thankfully, there are the best mystery bookshops that specialize in the genre of sleuthing, with shelves upon shelves of mysteries for even the most avid reader to discover.
From beachside enclaves to cozy corner shops, these bookstores are packed full of not only mystery books but also booksellers who can help mystery lovers find their next read. Stopping into one of these shops (or browsing their online offerings) is a great way to get introduced to new reads as well as connect with other readers who share a love of mysteries and find out about author visits or upcoming releases. And for those who may not be avid mystery readers, but who are shopping for one, all of these shops offer shipping of books as well as gift cards, to make holiday gifting a breeze!
The Best Mystery Bookshops
Mystery to Me in Madison, Wisconsin
I’m biased: this is my local mystery-focused bookstore and I’ve always found amazing things there, whether it’s the latest book in a series I’m loving, something great to gift, or even the bookish products and puzzles that the shop stocks. In addition to an extensive mystery selection, the store also offers fiction and nonfiction books and children’s and YA sections, as well as a robust selection of author visits, both in-person and virtual.
The Cloak and Dagger in Princeton, New Jersey
Located in picturesque Princeton, this shop is located in a 100-year-old home that was renovated to suggest the type of library where Hercule Poirot might have found himself interrogating suspects. The shop has mystery books grouped by theme, as well as audio and video options and the ability to purchase gift cards and have them sent digitally to the recipient. The store also offers collectibles, for mystery lovers looking to spruce up their shelves.
The Mysterious Bookshop in New York City, New York
Calling itself a “mystery, crime, and espionage” bookstore, this shop in TriBeCa bills itself as the oldest mystery bookshop in the United States. The shop offers not only a great selection of crime reads and sleuth stories, but also signed editions, rare books, and even a selection of Bibliomysteries, which are novellas exclusively available at the shop. You can also sign up your mystery-loving friend or family member for one of their subscription boxes. It’s also owned by mystery editor Otto Penzler.
Once Upon a Crime in Minneapolis, Minnesota
This Minneapolis bookstore stocks mystery, and nothing but mystery, though they will happily special order non-mystery books for customers. Browsers at this store can expect to find new releases, classic series, and special offerings from local authors, as well as a variety of in-person events to attend from writers in the mystery genre.
Murder By the Book in Houston, Texas
From monthly mystery book boxes to Murder by the Book T-shirts, this shop has it all. The store has over 25,000 books on its shelves and hosts hundreds of events, including many big-name mystery writers, each year. Readers will love their selection of signed books and staff pics, and gift shoppers will appreciate that the store also sells puzzles, mugs, totes bags, and more!
Raven Book Store in Lawrence, Kansas
The Raven Book Store in Lawrence is an employee-owned bookstore that specializes in mysteries but has something to suit readers of all tastes. Like many of the stores featured here, it offers subscription boxes, online gift cards, and book-themed gifts, as well as plenty of reads for mystery lovers to discover. The store’s focus on publishing independent authors makes this a great place to pick up something unique!
Centuries & Sleuths Bookstore in Forest Park, Illinois
With the slogan “we have what you want, though you may not know you want it,” how could you not find something here? This store prides itself on knowledgeable booksellers who can help you find your perfect next read and has great, curated lists available to those browsing online. They also offer gift cards, book clubs, and author events for mystery lovers looking to chat about their favorite books.
The Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale, Arizona
The Poisoned Pen calls itself “your local bookstore, no matter where you live,” which makes it a great choice for mystery lovers around the world. The store has plenty of mystery and crime books, signed first editions, and author chats that are posted on their website for everyone to enjoy. The store is also connected to Poison Pen Press, a small publisher focused on excellence in mystery writing, and many of the Press’s books are available at the store.
Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore in San Diego, California
The Mysterious Galaxy bookstore in San Diego offers mystery books as well as science fiction, fantasy, horror, and young adult reads, making it a perfect stop for all kinds of readers. The store offers signed additions, nationwide shipping, and plenty of booksellers recommendations to help you find the perfect book.
Mystery Loves Company in Oxford, Maryland
Nestled along the shore in Talbot County, Maryland, this store sells both new and used mystery books, as well as volumes on the local area. They also can special order books, issue gift certificates, and will even create personalized gift baskets of books and bookish goodies for the mystery lover on your gifting list!
Whether you’re able to visit the best mystery bookshops in person or online, they’re sure to offer some great books and gifts for the mystery lover in your life! And if you’re looking for more bookstores to shop from anywhere, check out this roundup of indie stores that ship.