Miskatonic University Press

Sellers and Newel

literature reviews rex.stout

Last week I went down to my favourite used bookstore: Sellers and Newel, on College Street in Little Italy here in Toronto. It’s run by mystery writer, editor and expert Peter Sellers, who I think I first met in 2004 at Bouchercon XXXV. He and the late Kerry Schooley edited three noir anthologies published by Insomniac Press: Iced, Hard-Boiled Love and Revenge. (Kerry was also a poet and sang the blues under the monicker Slim Volumes.)

Just over eight years ago, Sellers opened up the bookstore using his own enormous personal collection as the starting stock. It’s a heck of a job, running a used bookstore these days, but he made a success of it and the store is doing very well. It’s a lovely place. There are concerts twice a month, too.

I pop into the store when I’m in the neighbourhood, and Sellers is the first person I’ll ask when I’m on the hunt for something old. Right now I’m buying Rex Stout books, particularly the Nero Wolfe series. In 2016 and 2017 I worked my way through almost all the Wolfe mysteries (getting them from libraries, sometimes through interlibrary loan) and enjoyed them enormously. Now I want to reread them, so I’m going to buy them. They are very rereadable.

I emailed Peter to say I wanted to buy all the Rex Stouts he had. He set them aside, I went down, and I came back with this stack:

Stack of Rex Stout novels
Stack of Rex Stout novels

The only ones I didn’t buy were two hardcover firsts that were going for reasonable prices but more than I wanted to spend right now (but next time, maybe). The President Vanishes is a standalone thriller and The Hand in the Glove is a Dol Bonner mystery; all the rest are Nero Wolfe stories. The Progress of Julius is, as you can see, by Daphne du Maurier; I’m working through her books too.

If you’re in Toronto and want to visit a very fine used bookstore, head down to Sellers and Newel. Strike up a chat with Peter or whoever else is at the desk. If you’re not in Hogtown, email if there’s something you want, and you’ll get a quick reply. It’s worth getting on the mailing list for the occasional update about interesting titles for sale.