Lee's House of Mystery
93 Mount Vernon Road

A distinctive, rambling old brick-red Victorian manor near the waterfront houses one of Shadowgard's most popular and well-known specialty shops, an independent bookseller that has catered to mystery buffs, horror nuts and spy thriller fans for the last thirty years. Owned and operated by one Marlin Lee, a senior member of the Shadowgard Chamber of Commerce and a well-known fixture about town, the shop sells everything from lurid paperback novels and splashy hardcovers, to first editions and autographed copies of more enduring tales, to puzzles and kits for mystery weekends. Its interior space is full of comfortable nooks and crannies, overstuffed chairs and soft lighting, catering to the careful browser rather than the 'get it and go' customer. Of course, Lee himself is only too happy to track down specific items for customers in a hurry, but most of his customer base is perfectly content to wander the store for hours, flipping through books and contemplating anything and everything that catches their fancy.

In addition to the various mysteries and thrillers, Lee's House of Mystery offers a small selection of occult texts, most of which are kept behind the counter -- Lee will only sell them to people he feels he can trust, and he's very careful with the more dangerous tomes. Lee's collection is nothing compared to the selection offered by such shops as Glastonbury Books, but at the same time, Lee tends to offer a greater number of rare and out-of-print texts that may be difficult to find elsewhere. The casual neopagan will find very little of interest in this shop, but more serious occult students have learned to check in with the proprietor at least once a month.

The store is also infamous in town for the exclusive Halloween parties it hosts each year. The process begins in mid-September, when engraved invitations are delivered to Marlin Lee's most loyal customers and beloved friends; then the shop itself closes for the last two weeks of October, during which time the whole structure is converted into a massive haunted house which much be navigated to reach a grand banquet held in the attic. The food offered at the party inevitably includes truly esoteric delicacies from all corners of the world, such that Lee's guests continually rave about the menu and the firms allowed to cater the event, but Lee routinely swears them to secrecy regarding the specific happenings of the party, so details are hard to come by. Most of his guests know better than to tattle, as the penalty for such a breach of Lee's trust is a lifetime ban from all future Halloween parties. The invitations are, needless to say, highly coveted items in the town of Shadowgard, and more than a few townspeople have tried to ingratiate themselves in the weeks leading up to their distribution -- not that such efforts have ever succeeded. Marlin Lee is highly selective when it comes to his friends and his houseguests.