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Diane Kudisch

Shelves of Mystery

with Diane from San Francisco, CA

How long have you been collecting these items?
The SF Mystery Book Store has been here since 1974, but I’ve owned it for eight, having been interested in the mystery, crime and suspense genre for a long time. SF Mystery Books is the oldest store of its kind in the country. The previous one was in New York City. It just closed in 2007.
What are your favorite specialty items in your collection?
Some of my favorites are the ones I get overseas in Britain, such as the Nicolas Blake or the Phillip McDonald mysteries. These are classic British authors from the 30s and 40s, when the mystery genre was in its heyday.
Did any of these items come from family?
Yes, lots of the oldest books come from people who call up and say, “My grandfather died and he had a whole stack of Perry Masons”, or something like that, and they bring them by. Many of the old items are family collections that find a good home here.
Do any of the items have special meaning to you?
Lots of them do, but here’s an Agatha Christie first edition called “Appointment With Death”. It’s in great condition. It’s worth a lot. $200 is the price on it.
Do you find that other collectors that come here want to pay a lot?
Actually, the markdowns go fast. With this economy, people don’t want to go to the book store and pay full price for a book.
Is there a book that you think has special significance to San Francisco?
There is one mystery novel called “Frisco Bound”, written in 1896. I just sold it for $20.
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