I am a fickle person. Easily swayed. I fall in and out of love with astonishing rapidity.
And I have a new favorite.
The Black Orchid bookshop is the baby of Bonnie and Joe, two Rex Stout fans with the encyclopedic brains of mystery fans and hearts of purest gold. Bonnie used to sell books; Joe was her customer and the two minds met. They started Black Orchid as a labour of love, and financial ruin and great personal fulfillment swiftly followed. Now they order BLTs and fries on Saturday afternoons and chat happily with fans all day long.
Aesthetically, their bookstore is wonderful shabby chaos and (sometimes they can't find the phone when it rings). The top floor has all the new hardcovers and mass-market and trade paperbacks. If you go down a windey deathtrap of a staircase, a basement cluttered with musty secondhand paperbacks awaits. It's so fun; it's like being in the basement of your favorite grandma (or a beloved Spinster Aunt). They have a creepy rocker with a fake crow a la Poe stuck on it; just push that out of the way, get down on your knees and dig for five dollar paperbacks.
I walked out of there with two Joan Hess paperbacks and a new best friend. I can't wait to get their newsletter in the mail -- also I love the fact that they snail mail that out instead of emailing it. Their website has been down since 1997. For which I applaud them.