|Suzanne and Paul Orchard, owners|
HALLIE EPHRON: If wishes were fishes… I’d retire to Corte Madera, California, a quiet residential neighborhood, a ferry ride from San Francisco and home to the world class Book Passage
bookstore. Go there and you’re likely to find Cara Black, Rhys Bowen(!), and and David Korbett schmoozing. They have a fabulous annual Mystery Writers Conference. One of the first times I was there they had a book signing for Bill Clinton and the line was out into the parking lot for signatures. Owners Elaine and Bill Petrocelli and their daughter Kathryn Petrocelli make those of us who write and read crime fiction feel right at home.
DEBORAH CROMBIE: I've only been once to Prairie Lights bookstore in Iowa City, Iowa, but I loved this store! It has a great history, a great staff, and is the kind of general bookstore I could spend hours in every day. And it has a coffee shop, for writing in. Iowa City came as a complete surprise to me. It's a university town with a tree-lined pedestrianized center and beautiful neighborhoods filled with the Arts and Crafts houses I adore. I think this would be a great place to live--although I might find the Iowa winters took a bit of adjusting...
RHYS BOWEN: Like Lucy I'm lucky to live in two places with great bookstores. I'm a hop skip and jump from Book Passage in Corte Madera, I've taught classes and run book groups there. As Hallie said, their list of speakers is mind blowing. And my winters are now spent near the Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale. They are strictly mystery, but again with all the big name speakers and an event every night. Barbara Peters, the owner, is a petite dynamo who interviews her guests rather than let them drone on. The result is always a lively discussion. Barbara puts out a monthly newsletter of recommendations. And they have a giant mailing list to send books all over the world. What's more Scottsdale in the winter is just about perfect with loads of cultural and outdoor activities, classes for older folks and good dining.
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: I love Boston, and with the Cape nearby and history everywhere and incredible culture, it’s a perfect city for all ages. Do we have to move? We’re thriving right now in nearby Newton. It’s ten minutes away--a diverse and cozy but cosmopolitan suburb comprised of eight separate villages, each with a square and lots to explore. Two fantastic independent bookstores (on opposite sides of the city) can provide every book you could imagine. And each has a brilliant and knowledgeable staff. Newtonville Books is a warmly inviting nook of a shop, with one room devoted to the cream of the crop of new release-especially literary fiction) and old favorites (used and new shelved together!) and another whole room devoted to kids. We can hardly pry our grandson away. New England Mobile Book Fair is huge–almost a warehouse. Here, you could get happily lost in a world of the very latest bestsellers as well as all those books you meant to buy but didn’t. We can never leave either without purchasing way too many books and making new friends. Both stores–are stellar!
(And a bookstore extra: you’ll never keep me away from Concord Bookshop, in nearby historic Concord, where you can walk the same streets as Emerson, Thoreau, Alcott and Hawthorne. (Patricia Cornwell lives there, too.) Another treasure!
If I had to move from New England? My Midwestern roots might take Ann Arbor, home of Aunt Agatha’s Bookstore. The bustle and the vibrancy of a college town with lovely tree-lined streets, fascinating homes, arts festivals galore, and…football. And mystery fans especially will flock to the inimitable Aunt Agatha’s, where owners Robin and Jamie Agnew will wow you with their knowledge, enthusiasm, and shelves of crime fiction treasures.
JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Agreed, Hank - we're blessed with an abundance of fabulous bookstores in New England. I live in rural Maine - I can literally hear the rooster across the road crowing as I type this! But within a half hour drive, I can visit Longfellow Books, Letterpress Books and Sherman's Bookstore in Portland, Nonesuch in Biddeford and South Portland and the Book Burrow in Kennebunk. If I want to take a pleasant drive for an hour or so - maybe get a nice lunch while I'm out? - I can reach the wonderful RiverRun Bookstore in Portsmouth, NH, the delightful White Birch Books in North Conway, NH, and the heavy-hitting Maine Coast Books in Damariscotta. (All this stores are near wonderful restaurants, and I know, because I've eaten there after appearances!)So you all now know you should visit Maine, yes?
If I had to move away, though? Well, if I could stay in New England, I'd relocate to South Hadley, Mass, where the Odyssey Bookshop sits practically across the commons from Mount Holyoke. I love that area of the Bay State - rural, with gem-like small towns that are home to some of the country's most distinguished small colleges. The Odyssey itself is one of those everything bookstores; you can get obscure poetry, the latest big thriller, and Orange Award nominees straight from Great Britain. The staff is cheerful and knowledgeable, and there are lots of nooks and crannies and chairs. Plus, they get an amazing list of authors to appear (including our friend Cara Black, who will be there July 8th!)
If Ross and I were retiring somewhere warm, I'd head for San Diego and Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore. I love mystery, thrillers, science fiction and fantasy, and Mysterious Galaxy is THE specialty store. It hits all my buttons, with a fantastically knowledgeable staff who make eye-opening recommendations. I've only appeared there twice, but both times I walked away with new authors in my bag. Since sooner or later, they host everyone in the mystery-writing world, I'd get a steady stream of friends coming to visit. Plus, it's a half hour from the beach! Pretty sweet.
SUSAN ELIA MACNEAL: I'm going to choose Houston, because of Murder By the Book. OK, I've only been to Houston once, and it was a pretty short trip, but I LOVED it! The book store (of course), the amazing store staff (shout-out to John and Sally!), the BBQ, the hot sauce. Have I ever mentioned my obsession with hot sauce? Well, Texas has some great stuff... After growing up in Buffalo and living in New York City, I think the warm winters in Houston might be perfection. Plus the Museum of Fine Arts, the Butterfly Center, the Space Center....