Sunday, January 15, 2023

Sleuth’s Sedate Shuttering

Rap Sheet contributor Kevin Burton Smith alerts me to the sad news that Toronto, Ontario’s “mighty Sleuth of Baker Street, one of the world’s great mystery bookstores, is closing.” As Marian Misters and J.D. Singh, who assumed ownership of that business in 1982, explain in the latest (and last) edition of their store newsletter,
Forty years of owing and running Sleuth has been forty years of great fun and, fortunately, the bookstore has done well enough to allow us a comfortable retirement. We are also very much aware that it’s thanks to the thousands of our loyal customers, over all these decades, who have supported us so generously that we can consider this next chapter. That our decision to close will not go over well with some of you, is something else we’re very much aware of. Spending forty years doing something we love has been a great pleasure, but the time has come for other things.
The pair make clear that they’re flexible as to when exactly they’ll shut the doors of their beloved shop for good. “We’ll stop ordering new releases and stop re-stocking backlist. Essentially, we will now work towards disposing of the inventory and, sooner or later, proceed to put the building up for sale. While we’re around, we’ll continue taking special orders for any book you might want. Feel free to ask and we’ll get it. This’ll give you a chance to use up whatever gift certificates or account credits that you might have. Of course, we’ll issue refunds for any unused balances if you’d rather.”

I’m sorry now that I never had the opportunity to visit Sleuth of Baker Street at one of its evolving locations. It sounds like it provide a wonderful, warm, and understanding environment for all who entered there. Bill Selnes, who writes the Mysteries and More from Saskatchewan blog, and has long been a regular patron of the shop, once wrote: “Walking into Sleuth is to enter a mystery lovers’ paradise. Floor displays, table displays and four walls are filled with books. Around the counter J.D. and/or Marian welcome all customers. For many years joining the greeting were the cats with Paddington the last of the group. A dog, Percy, has replaced the cats. It is a special place. When I enter the store my body relaxes and I am at home.”

I offer Misters and Singh my best wishes for their retirement—whenever it may finally begin.

READ MORE:Marian Misters, Bookseller and Award Winner,” by Bill Selnes (Mysteries and More from Saskatchewan).


Anonymous said...

I only ever got to visit the Sleuths store once. I shamelessly eavesdropped as Mr. Singh made recommendations to a regular customer. So grateful to him for mentioning Liza Cody, whose work I doubt I would have ever discovered otherwise.

Anonymous said...

I was a long time client until my mobility was reduced. The store was a haven fo book lovers and the proprietors were the soul of civility. It was delightful and I’ve missed for years. Got some great recommendations from the duo. Pierre Klein