4175 24th St. (at Diamond), 282-7444
Rex Stout's fictional detective — the rotund, erudite, and perpetually ill-tempered hero of some 70 stories and novels — is thoroughly represented (along with his smart-mouthed chronicler and aide-de-camp, Archie Goodwin) at the S.F. Mystery Book Store, a well-lit, low-ceilinged, meanderingly organized bibliotheca deep in the sinister recesses of Noe Valley. A quirky sensibility lurks behind this emporium of literary mayhem: There are shrines to Jim Thompson and Arthur Conan Doyle, and tables dedicated to personal recommendations and Edgar Award winners. First-edition and out-of-print volumes are organized alongside new books, reference works, and pulps dating back to the Depression. Wolfe, meanwhile, takes up two bookshelves all by his beer-swilling, orchid-cultivating self.