Next time you find yourself strolling down Fifth Avenue (that’s The Other Fifth Avenue, as I call it) in my town, Olympia, Washington, and the longing for a page-turning mystery hits you, pop into Whodunit? Books. Linda Dewberry, owner and ever-present reader’s advisor, will match you up with whatever kind of mystery you are in the mood for.
Whodunit? Books has been in business 13 years, and was named Mystery Book Store of the Year by the Pacific Northwest Mystery Writers of America, a six state organization. This shop has the Vinyl Cafe’s “We may not be big but we’re small,” ethos. Linda is friendly and helpful, drawing in downtown walkers and state employees on their lunch hour who have just a sliver of time in their day and are not in the mood to battle the big book store. There are times when bookseekers don’t want to wade through the swamp of non-fiction and Nooks, the quicksand of bargain books, the jungle of self-help. If you want to browse the whodunits without bushwacking through the cookbooks, this friendly little store is for you (Personally I would not be opposed to a Whodunit? and Who Cooked it? Mystery/Cookbook store with pastries, and I may not be alone in that).
The store’s side sections include New Titles, Recommended, Used and Northwest Authors. The center of the store houses books along the spectrum from Lite to Literary. Linda told me that many of her patrons enjoy travel, so she makes sure that international police procedurals are always in stock. She has a good memory for her customers’ tastes and makes every effort to match them up with books that will suit them.
She introduced me to Elly Griffiths, a British author whose sleuth, Ruth Galloway, is a forensic archeologist. The series includes five books so far and I can’t wait to dive in.