Seattle Mystery Bookshop

N e w s l e t t e r

117 Cherry St. Seattle,WA 98104  (206) 587-5737

    e-mail:     WEBSITE:

Bill Farley, Founder /J. B. Dickey, Owner/ Tammy Domike, Manager

Susan Dennis / Sandy Goodrick / Karen Duncan    



We hope you are all happily proceeding into the new year.  After a spot of bother with the WTO protests here in Seattle, we are settling down to another year of doing what we like to do best, reading and selling mysteries, old and new.  As a special gift to you, customers and subscribers to our Newsletter, we have put together this special Millennial Issue of Lists: In addition to our customary staff lists of Favorite Mysteries Read in the Last Year, we offer a cornucopia of lists. Enjoy them!    We are also delighted to bring you a retrospective look at Seattle Mystery Bookshop in the last decade by resident scholar, and shop founder, Bill Farley.

                                —Sandy Goodrick, for the Staff



The List of Lists:


Susan Dennis                                                              

J. B. Dickey                             

Karen Duncan                                                             

Sandy Goodrick

Bill Farley

Tammy Domike

1999 Shop Bestsellers

SMB’s 100 Best of the Century

Customers’ Picks.                

Seattle Mystery Bookshop:  Serving the Northwest and the Nation Since 1990, by Bill Farley





Susan Dennis:  My Top Ten for This Year...


These are in order - the best is first - but the first three are a tie.

1. Outside the Rules - Dylan Jones

2. Blue Hole - g.d. gearino

3. Messiah - Boris Starling

4. Term Limits - Vince Flynn

5. Welcome to Paradise - Laurence Shames

6. Quiet Game - Greg Iles

7. Blood Money - Rochelle Krich

8. Wild Horses - Brian Hodge

9. Gideon - Russell Andrews

10. Eleven Days - Donald Harstad

….And for the Last 10 years...


This was very difficult. I could have done the top 20 fairly easily and, as you can see, I cheated with my 'anything by' entries. And, these are all too good to rank. They are all the best.

1. Mortal Fear - Greg Iles

2. Becker's Ring - Steven Martin Cohen

3. Anything by g.d. gearino

4. Messiah - Boris Starling

5. Outside the Rules - Dylan Jones

6. The Death and Life of Bobby Z - Don Winslow

7. Bookman's Wake - John Dunning

8. Anything by Michael Connelly

9. Anything by Laurence Shames

10. Anything by Carl Hiassen


And this leaves out Caleb Carr and Jeffrey Deaver who should not be left out— oops, cheating again. And I would have loved to have room for Tenth Justice by Brad Meltzer and Divorcing Jack by Colin Bateman. Ok. That's it. I'm done.


 JB’s Best of 1999


These are in the order in which I read them during the year.

God Is a Bullet – Boston Teran

Every Dead Thing – John Connolly

The Blue Hour – T. Jefferson Parker

California Fire and Life – Don Winslow

Heartbreaker – Robert Ferrigno

The Cold Truth – Jonathan Stone

L. A. Requiem – Robert Crais

Wild Horses – Brian Hodges

Ross Macdonald (biography) – Tom Nolan

Four Corners of Night – Craig Holden – best of

     the   year

Freezer Burn – Joe R. Lansdale

Faded Coat of Blue – Owen Parry

Rough Draft – James W. Hall


        JB’s Best of the 1990s

North of Montana – April Smith

Red Sky at Night – James W. Hall

Black Hornet – James Sallis

Stone Angel – Carol O’Connell

Requiem for a Glass Heart – David Lindsey

The Concrete Blonde – Michael Connelly

Miami Purity – Vicki Hendricks

Cast in Stone – G. M.  Ford

Give Us a Kiss – Daniel Woodrell

Death and Life of Bobby Z – Don Winslow
Four Corners of Night – Craig Holden

American Tabloid – James Ellroy (could just as easily

       be My Dark Places)

In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead – James

        Lee Burke

Darkness, Take my Hand – Dennis Lehane – best

        of the decade


That list consists of books written in the 90s.  If it were to be books read in the 90s, I’d have to include Estleman’s Every Brilliant Eye and Crumley’s The Wrong Case, and Block’s When the Sacred Ginmill Closes.



Karen’s Favorites: Read in 1999

Black-Headed Pins – Constance and Gwenyth Little

Publish and Be Murdered – Ruth Dudley Edwards

Blood Money – Thomas Perry

Kissed a Sad Goodbye – Deborah Crombie

The Music Box Murders – Larry Karp

Murder with Peacocks – Donna Andrews

Arms and the Women – Reginald Hill

The Marx Sisters – Barry Maitland

The Quiet Game – Greg Iles

A Place of Safety – Caroline Graham


Karen’s Best of the 1990s


The Black Echo – Michael Connelly

The Bookman’s Wake – John Dunning

The Beekeeper’s Apprentice – Laurie R. King

She Walks These Hills – Sharyn McCrumb

What’s the Worst that Could Happen? – Donald E. 


Brother Cadfael’s Penance – Ellis Peters

Arms and the Women – Reginald Hill

A Place of Safety – Caroline Graham

So Shall You Reap – Marilyn Wallace

Hour of the Hunter – J.A. Jance


Sandy’s Favorites Read in 1999

Robert Barnard, The Corpse at the Haworth Tandoori

John Buchan, The 39 Steps

Robert Crais, L. A. Requiem

Peter Dickinson, The Glass-Sided Ants’ Nest

Ruth Dudley Edwards, Publish and Be Murdered

Thomas Harris, Silence of the Lambs

Michael Innes, Appleby’s Answer

Mary Kelly, The Spoilt Kill

Patricia Moyes, Murder Fantastical

Janet Neel, Death Among the Dons

Sandy’s  Best Ten of the Nineties


Jen Banbury, Like a Hole in the Head (1998)

Alan Beechey, An Embarrassment of Corpses (1997)

Lee Child, Killing Floor (1997)

Michael Connelly, Black Ice (1992)

Robert Crais, L. A. Requiem (1999)

John Dunning, Booked to Die (1992)

Ruth Dudley Edwards, The School of English Murder (1990)

Dick Francis, To the Hilt (1996)

Hazel Holt, The Cruellest Month (1991)

Dennis Lehane, A Drink Before the War (1996)

Iain Pears, Death and Restoration (1996)



Bill's Best Books Read in 1999,
in the order read.

The Ballad of Frankie Silver, Sharyn McCrumb
Mr. White's Confession, Robert Clark
Loot, Aaron Elkins
California Fire & Life, Don Winslow
The Cold Truth, Jonathan Stone
Big Trouble, Dave Barry
Kiss of the Bees, J. A. Jance
Void Moon, Michael Connelly
Faded Coat of Blue, Owen Parry
Sick Puppy, Carl Hiaasen

Bill's Best of the Decade.


  I supplied such a list in the Winter 1998-99 issue of the Newsletter. All 10 of my 1999 favorites could argue for a place on that list, but instead I'd rather give a little more attention to the Century. So here is a list of 10 (well, 13) Great Mysteries Before 1990 which did not appear on the shop's 100 Best Mysteries of the Century list. In alphabetical order by author.

K. C. Constantine, Sunshine Enemies
Lindsey Davis, Silver Pigs
Jon A. Jackson, Grootka
Tom Kakonis, Criss Cross
Jonathan Kellerman, When the Bough Breaks
Harry Kemelman, Friday the Rabbi Slept Late
Margaret Millar, The Murder of Miranda
Marcia Muller, Edwin of the Iron Shoes
Frederick Nolan, Brass Target (AKA The

    Algonquin Project)
Frank Parrish, Bait on the Hook
Craig Rice, The Right Murder
Rex Stout, A Right to Die
Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Murder

Tammy’s 1999 Best Reads 


Silent Snow – Steve Thayer

Freezer Burn –  Joe R. Lansdale

Shooting  At Midnight –  Greg Rucka

California Fire & Life –  Don Winslow

Easy Money –  Jenny Siler

Lost Glass Plates of Wilfred Eng –  Tom Orton

Sick Puppy –  Carl Hiaasen

First Avenue –  Lowen Clausen

Rough Draft –  James W. Hall

Anonymous Rex –  Eric Garcia


Tammy’s Best Reads of the Decade


Only the first 2 are in order...

#1 Blood Work – M. Connelly- because there is no greater thrill than your name on a page, even if you are just one of the kidneys.

#2 Mangrove Squeeze –  L. Shames- because DUH a free trip to Key West will get you on my list…

Who in Hell is Wanda Fuca? -  G. M. Ford

Breakheart Hill –  Thomas H. Cook

Gone, Baby, Gone –  Dennis Lehane

Give Us a Kiss –  Daniel Woodrell

Indian Killer –  Sherman Alexie

Death & Life of Bobby Z  - Don Winslow

Organ Grinders –  Bill Fitzhugh

Like a Hole in the Head –  Jen Banbury

Death & the Language of Happiness –  John Straley

Ten-Ounce Siesta –   Norman Partridge


     What! No Mosley Ellroy Crais Haywood Hall Perry White Hayter Neely Hess Friedman…. Can I rewrite that list again before press-time?


Most lamented of the decade: Two of my favorite series ended in 1995, Robert Campbell’s LA-LA Land and Timothy Hallinan’s Simeon Grist. They are missed.







1 - Breach of Duty - J. A. Jance  

2 - Last Ditch - G. M. Ford     

3 - Outlaw Mountain - J. A. Jance  

4 - First Avenue - Lowen Clausen

5 - Loot - Aaron Elkins              

6 - Liberty Falling - Nevada Barr                 

7 - Prayers for Rain - Dennis Lehane

8 - First Victim - Ridley Pearson

9 - LA Requiem - Robert Crais               

10 - Hunter's Moon - Dana Stabenow         

11 - Angels Flight - Michael Connelly              

12 - Heartwood - James Lee Burke        

13 - O is for Outlaw - Sue Grafton            

14 - California Fire and Life - Don Winslow                      

15 - Mr. White's Confession - Robert Clark               

16 - Hard Time - Sara Paretsky                      

17 - Easy Money - Jenny Siler                

18 - Walkin' the Dog - Walter Mosley             

19 - Murder on the Yukon Quest - Sue Henry  

20 - So Sure of Death - Dana Stabenow         

21 - Big Trouble - Dave Barry               

22 - The Lamorna Wink - Martha Grimes

23 - The Music Box Murders - Larry Karp                

24 - Hush Money - Robert B. Parker         

25 - Hannibal - Thomas Harris              



1 - Who in Hell is Wanda Fuca? - G. M. Ford     

2 - Sins of Betrayal - Valerie Wilcox 

3 - Slow Burn - G. M. Ford     

4 - The End of the Dream - Ann Rule    

5 - The Alpine Legacy - Mary Daheim           

6 - Breach of Duty - J. A. Jance  

7 - Legs Benedict - Mary Daheim           

8 - Hour of the Hunter - J. A. Jance  

9 - The Alpine Kindred - Mary Daheim           

10 - Cruel Sanctuary - Brad Reynolds

11 - Until Proven Guilty - J. A. Jance  

12 - Catfish Cafe - Earl Emerson          

13 - Killing Floor - Lee Child   

14 - Four Corners of Night - Craig Holden

15 - A Drink Before the War - Dennis Lehane

16 - Deadly Harvest - Brad Reynolds         

17 - The Death & Life of Bobby Z - Don Winslow          

18 - Crime Wave - James Ellroy

19 - Rattlesnake Crossing - J. A. Jance  

20 - Sins of Silence - Valerie Wilcox 

21 - N is for Noose - Sue Grafton

22 - The Pied Piper - Ridley Pearson

23 - Cast in Stone - G. M. Ford     

24 - Miss Zukas in Death’s Shadow - Jo Dereske           

25 - A Cool Breeze on the Underground - Don Winslow




   This was our contribution to a discussion of the topic on Emma-L, the internet digest for mystery bookshops. It includes the nominations of five staff members (JB, Bill, Tammy, Sandy and Karen).


Allingham, Margery. Death of a Ghost
Barnard, Robert. The Case of the Missing Brontλ
Bateman, Colin. Divorcing Jack
Berkley, Anthony. The Poisoned Chocolates Case
Block, Lawrence. The Burglar Who Liked to
Quote Kipling
"            "
               When the Sacred Ginmill Closes
Bowen, Peter. Coyote Wind
Browne, Howard. Halo in Brass
Burke, James Lee. In the Electric Mist with
Confederate Dead
"             "           "    The Neon Rain
Cain, Paul. Fast One
Campbell, Robert. In La-La Land We Trust
Carkeet, David. Double Negative
Caudwell, Sarah. Thus Was Adonis Murdered
Chandler, Raymond. The Big Sleep
"                    "             The Long Goodbye
Child, Lee. Killing Floor
Christie, Agatha. The Moving Finger
"                "           The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
         Murder on the Orient Express
Collins, Max Allan. True Detective
Connelly, Michael. The Black Echo
"                 "            The Concrete Blonde
"                 "            The Last Coyote

Cornwell, Patricia. Postmortem
Crais, Robert. L. A. Requiem
"            "         The Monkey's Raincoat
Crispin, Edmund. The Moving Toyshop
Crumley, James. The Last Good Kiss
Davidson, Lionel. The Rose of Tibet
Dexter, Colin. The Wench Is Dead
Dickinson, Peter. The Glass-Sided Ants' Nest
"                   "        The Poison Oracle
Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan. The Hound of the

Dunning, John. Booked to Die
"                "       The Bookman's Wake
Ellroy, James. The Black Dahlia
Estleman, Loren D. Every Brilliant Eye
Fearing, Kenneth. The Big Clock
Fremlin, Celia. The Hours Before Dawn
George, Elizabeth. Payment in Blood
Graham, Caroline. The Killings at Badger's Drift
Grierson, Edward. A Crime of One's Own
"                "           The Second Man
Guterson, David. Snow Falling on Cedars
Hall, James W. Mean High Tide
Hallinan, Timothy. The Four Last Things
Hammett, Dashiell. The Maltese Falcon
"                 "            Red Harvest
Hare, Cyril. An English Murder
"          "       Suicide Excepted
Harris, Thomas. The Silence of the Lambs
Hiaasen, Carl. Double Whammy
"               "      Skin Tight
Hill, Reginald. Ruling Passion
Hillerman, Tony. A Thief of Time
Huebner, Fredrick D. Picture Postcard
Hull, Richard. The Murder of My Aunt
James, P. D. An Unsuitable Job for a Woman
Kelly, Mary. The Spoilt Kill
King, Laurie R. The Beekeeper's Apprentice
Latimer, Jonathan. Solomon's Vineyard
Lehane, Dennis. Darkness, Take My Hand
Lindsey, David. Requiem for a Glass Heart
Lochte, Dick. Sleeping Dog
Lovesey, Peter. The False Inspector Dew
Macdonald, Ross. The Chill
"                   "       The Doomsters
"                   "       The Underground Man
Malone, Michael. Time's Witness
McCrumb, Sharyn. She Walks These Hills
McDonald, Gregory. Fletch
McGown, Jill. Murder at the Old Vicarage
Millar, Margaret. Rose's Last Summer
Morse, L. A. The Old Dick
Mosley, Walter. A Red Death
Moyes, Patricia. Murder Fantastical
Padgett, Abigail. Child of Silence
Parker, Robert B. Mortal Stakes
Perry, Thomas. The Butcher's Boy
"           "           Metzger's Dog
Peters, Ellis. Fallen Into the Pit
Porter, Joyce. Dover One
Rendell, Ruth. A Judgement in Stone
Rice, Craig. The Wrong Murder
Sayers, Dorothy L. Gaudy Night
"             "              Have His Carcase
"             "              Strong Poison
"             "              Unnatural Death
Stout, Rex. The Doorbell Rang
"           "     Fer-de-Lance
"           "     Some Buried Caesar
"           "     Too Many Cooks
Tey, Josephine. The Daughter of Time
"         "              The Singing Sands
Thomas, Ross. Briarpatch
Turow, Scott. Presumed Innocent
Wallace, Marilyn. So Shall You Reap
Willeford, Charles. Miami Blues
Woodrell, Daniel. Give Us a Kiss

In our last newsletter, we invited our customers to submit their nominations for Best Mystery of the Decade.  Here are some of the results:

            Daniel Woodrell - Tomato Red

            Dana Stabenow - Breakup

            Dennis Lehane - A Drink Before the War

            g.d. gearino - Counting Coup

            David Baldacci - Absolute Power

            John Dunning - Booked to Die

            Peter Blauner - Slow Motion Riot

            Laurie R. King - The Beekeeper's Apprentice

   To be honest, most readers simply blanked at the prospect of choosing only one of their favorites for nominations.  We must admit that, in so many ways, it isn't a fair game. But it has lead to some very entertaining conversation!




Seattle Mystery Bookshop:  Serving the Northwest and the Nation Since 1990

By Bill Farley


    For this special newsletter reflecting on the decade past, I've been asked to reminisce about my favorite development of the 1990's: Seattle Mystery Bookshop. So here goes…
     In the Fall of 1989, while I was working at the Whodunit? mystery bookstore in Philadelphia, Aaron Elkins came in for a book signing, and talked at some length about the need for a mystery bookstore in Seattle. He could not have known that my wife, B Jo, and I had noticed that need while vacationing in Seattle, and were already considering a move to Seattle ourselves.
     Before Whodunit?, B Jo and I had had our own general bookstore in Michigan, but working in a mystery specialty store was like a homecoming for me. I'd been reading mysteries since childhood, when I had the Hardy Boys books and my sister had the Nancy Drews. I read them both, and concluded that the Hardy boys were wimps (or whatever we called them then), while Nancy Drew had spunk. I think of her now as a precursor of McCone, Warshawsky, Milhone, etc. In adulthood I soon found the Nero Wolfe novels by Rex Stout, which remain my all-time favorites to this day. And, though I've always been an accumulator of books, Rex Stout is the only author I've been driven to collect seriously. Thank goodness for that, because my Stout collecting became as manic as book collecting can get – from one copy of each book, to a copy of each printing, of each edition, in every language… When I found myself collecting gardening books written by Rex Stout's sister (I have no interest whatsoever in gardening), I realized it was time to stop. So I no longer collect; I simply set aside for myself a copy of each new Stout reissue as it comes along. But I still treasure my photocopy of his birth certificate, and my one book personally inscribed to me by Mr. Stout (thanks to B Jo).
     My time at Whodunit? was as pleasant as life can get, but by the time Aaron Elkins came to sign, I was feeling called to have my own shop one more time, and The Seattle Mystery Bookshop it would be. I wanted it to be a place where you'd feel surrounded by books, and where you'd find the widest possible selection of mysteries. I hoped to have items for the collector, but I visualized it primarily as a reader's shop. How I expected to accomplish all of this single-handedly I have no idea, but not to worry: one of the first customers in the door was a young man named J. B. Dickey, who looked around at the dozens of unopened boxes and said, "It looks to me like you need help." I just hope that I'd been half as helpful to Art Bourgeau, proprietor of Whodunit?, as J. B. has been to me in the years since then.
     In addition to J. B., there were others to come who would help make the shop happen: Tammy Domike, who came in to sell new releases for NAL/Penguin Books to us, and has stayed on to sell lots of books for us. Sandy Goodrick, who came in as leader of a motley group called The Seattle Mystery Readers Club; she produced such a charming newsletter for the club I asked her to create one for the shop. She's doing it still, and along the way became our bookkeeper, too. Susan Dennis, good customer and computer maven, led us from learning to use a mouse to having our own website. And most recently Karen Duncan, one of the motley mystery readers of 1990, became our newest mystery bookseller. With all these talented people in my future, I understand why I had felt called to Seattle.
     In addition to staff, the support by authors has been instrumental in our success. Visualizing primarily a readers' shop, I had no idea that we would soon begin hosting a stunning list of mystery writers for signings and informal discussions, including many of the biggest names in the field. The day that Ellis Peters (ELLIS PETERS!) walked into the shop unannounced, my heart nearly stopped beating. With the growth of our signing schedule, and the growth of interest in signed mysteries generally, plus the interest and expertise of J.B. in this area, we became more of a collector's shop, without (I hope) losing our appeal to readers.
     Collectors and readers, which is to say customers, are of course the real reason the shop has been successful beyond my wildest expectations. Aaron Elkins was right, that Seattle needed a mystery bookstore, and the response of customers, almost from day one, has proved that.
     Actually, it began before day one. In June of 1990, as I was getting ready for a July 1 opening, J. A. Jance kindly stopped in to sign our initial stock of her books. While she was here, a customer wandered in and wanted to buy a signed book. I wasn't prepared yet with small bills and coins to make change, but Judy Jance proceeded to make change out of her own purse, thus completing Seattle Mystery Bookshop's first sale. (As it was a Saturday and banks weren't open, I had to go door-to-door to break the $20 bill to give Judy her change back.)
     By the end of 1998, I felt I'd accomplished what I had felt compelled to do, and I should step down (a whole year ahead of Bill Gates, heh, heh). J.B. had become the de facto decision-maker anyway, so I put a gun to his head and explained that it was time for him to buy the shop from me. In the first year of his ownership, the business has continued to grow, and I hope that owning it will continue to give him as much joy as it has given me. And I'm still around enough days to enjoy the books and to greet customers, many of whom have been coming in ever since 1990.



Mail and phone orders for these or any other books are welcome.  We often have signed copies of Northwest authors, and other authors who visit the shop.  Prices subject to change without notice.  Seattle Mystery Bookshop, 117 Cherry St., Seattle, WA 98104.  Phone:  (206) 587-5737.



The SEATTLE MYSTERY BOOKSHOP NEWS is composed and produced by Sandy Goodrick, and the online version is brought to you by Susan Dennis.