Goodbye, Kate’s Mystery Books

While I can’t say I am surprised, the news that Kate’s Mystery Books in Cambridge will be closing its doors next month still saddens me greatly. Owner Kate Mattes explained her reasoning to the Porter Square Neighbors List (reprinted by Ron Newman):

Many of you have been aware that I have had the building which houses

the store on the market for awhile. I have finally sold it. I of course

have mixed feelings about this but know it is the right decision for

me. The new owners have allowed me to stay on for a while but Kate’s

Mystery Books will be closing on August 1st. Between now and then,

everything in the store will be sold at 25% off. On Saturday, August

1st, we will be having a packing party from 11-5 AND we will also have

our Annual Yard Sale (books $1 and under) at the same time.


hope you can get in in the next few weeks to say good-bye although I

won’t actually disappear. We will be having author events at different

venues and of course we will have the annual holiday party so there

will be opportunities for the mystery community to get together. You

will get notices of them from me.

It is sad though to close the

store. I hope you can join us on August 1st to celebrate the good times

we have had and to help pack everything up. I know we can do it, as we

have done it before. (Remember the bus?)

It is been a true joy

for me to have had the opportunity to me such interesting and diverse

people and i will definitely miss you.

Best, Kate

I’m glad to hear Kate won’t be disappearing from the mystery world entirely (and I suspect the holiday party this year will be filled to the brim with writers and well-wishers, wherever it is held) but the store was long on my must-visit list and exceeded every expectation when I finally did a few years ago. So raise a glass or two for me at the August 1 party – and for the community as a whole.

UPDATE: Clair Lamb has more information about the news and the August 1 book sale: “Even Kate’s not quite sure about everything she’s got; she has titles

in her back room, outside public view, that collectors dream about, and

it’s quite possible that some of these titles will be available for

sale at this event.”

UPDATE 2: The Boston Globe picks up the story after a telephone interview with Mattes: 

Mattes said that the thing that prompted the move was the death of her

brother, a book agent, about five years ago. “He was a really big part

of the store. I could just pick up the phone and call him’’ for advice.

After he died, he left a big trove of books, and Mattes was the only

one in her family who had any idea what to do with them.

“I started

thinking about things, and decided that I couldn’t do this to my sister

and her kids,’’ she said. So she started thinking about getting things

in order. One of the first things she decided to do was to try to sell

the building. That way she could potentially reopen the store in a new

location and get a place to live separate from the store, hopefully

making it easier to dispose of her property when the time came.

And more from the Globe’s print edition and the Boston Herald.