The Opening of the Mystery Bookstore
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The Opening of the Mystery Bookstore

mystery bookstore.JPGThere must be something in the air lately, because it has been a weird few weeks for Torontoist and everyone we know. And a series of vaguely ominous occurrences (which included the spontaneous locking of our oven in the middle of cooking dinner – 36 hours later and we still haven’t been able to nudge it open) came to a head on Saturday night when we were innocently heading down Bathurst Street towards pie when we passed The Mystery Bookshop and noticed something unusual. Miracle of miracles, oddity of oddities, the lights were on and people were inside. Naturally, our fatally feline curiousity lured us in.
inside mystery bk 1.JPGSupersleuth that we are, we’d done our homework (and by ‘homework’ we mean ‘chat idly while chowing down on pie a few weeks ago’), and we had previously learned from the lovely and ever-helpful Kyla that the Mystery Bookstore (which is not the place’s real name – their sign fell down ages ago and has just never been replaced) is owned by an odd fellow named Miles with a strong Brooklyn accent. He appears to have a devoted following of elderly ladies who periodically shop from him by appointment only. Where he gets his wares is unclear (“With great difficulty,” is the cryptic answer we received when we asked), as is why his store is almost never open (“Other obligations,” he says, and doesn’t elaborate).
inside mystery bk 2.JPGInstead of answering our questions or giving any indication of what anything might cost, Miles prefers instead to ply us with hat after hat after we express admiration for a particularly kicky cloche. The cluttered view from the outside doesn’t lie, and we have to pick our way carefully through disorganized piles of dusty clothing and housewares – it’s as though we’ve wandered into some eternal indoor yard sale and it may, Brigadoon-like, be 100 years in the future when we finally emerge again.
strawsmiley.jpgThe mystery of the Mystery Bookstore is far from solved. Indeed, going inside (which may well have been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity) has served only to heighten our curiousity and bewilderment. Seriously, what is going on here? Why are there piles and piles of dusty crap all over the place? What are these devoted ladies buying? Who would make a smiley face out of a straw hat? Isn’t it extraordinarily expensive to use a prime Annex storefront as, essentially, a storage room? And how much did he want for that cute blue hat?