The purpose of this series is to support San Francisco bookstores and neighborhoods. This is a week for exceptions, it seems (Friday’s Film Pairing will be lists of best crime films and TV Shows rather than a suggestion for a double feature). Less than a year ago, the San Francisco Mystery Book Store, one of the oldest shops in the country specializing in mysteries, closed its doors, leaving a city used as a setting for hundreds if not thousands of crime films and books, without a single bookstore specializing in crime fiction. So, we’re asking the charming city of San Mateo to share “M” is For Mystery with its neighbor to the North. This is also the beginning of a series stories about San Francisco bookstores that target special interests — you know what I mean.
“M” is For Mystery is a familiar destination for addicted crime fiction readers throughout Bay Area. It has a huge inventory of popular new and used books — including a broad selection of British mysteries and imported paperbacks. The downtown San Mateo store is also a regular stop for best selling authors. Even if you miss one of the many readings and book signing events, you’ll be able to find autographed copies and signed first editions from highly respected authors. You can even order a signed copy before the book is released. A chance glance at the bookstore’s web site, shows you can pre-purchase signed copies of not-yet-released books by such authors as Lawrence Block, Rita Mae Brown, Michael Connelly, Sue Grafton, Val McDermid and George Pelecanos.
Whether you are a serious collector or enthusiastic fan of mysteries, this is a must stop. You are likely to find things you didn’t know existed. Not to diminish the charm of the bookstore, but a visit to San Mateo is worthwhile all on its own, especially along Third and Fourth Avenues — great restaurants, antique shops and other retail. However, there is clearly another major destination — Draeger’s Supermarket, one most incredible food stores in the Bay Area. Nero Wolfe would approve. If you are both an avid mystery reader and a foodie, an afternoon or evening in San Mateo could be heaven.
86 East Third Avenue, San Mateo, (650) 401-8077, www.mformystery.com