Name the American mystery writer, who died in 2013, whose two series featured a medieval nun in Oxfordshire, England, and the leader of traveling players in 15th-century England.
Email your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org
(subject line: monthly quiz). The winner, randomly drawn from correct answers, will receive a $25 Mainely Murders gift card.
Congratulations to Genevieve Marks of Methuen, MA, who identified the authors whose books provided the basis for the following series: Jeff Lindsay, Dexter; Kerry Greenwood, Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries; Colin Watson, Murder Most English; Liza Marklund, Annika Bengtzon; and Alan Hunter, George Gently.
Reginald Hill was born April 3, 1936, in County Durham, England. His books featuring Superintendent Andrew Dalziel and Sergeant Peter Pascoe were his most famous. He also wrote under the name Patrick Ruell. Hill died in 2012.
Peter O'Donnell, born April 11, 1920, in London, was the creator of Modesty Blaise, the British agent often described as the "female James Bond." He died in 2010.
Gladys Mitchell was born in Cowley, Oxford, England, on April 19, 1901. Between 1929 and 1984, some 65 of her mysteries featuring Beatrice Lestrange Bradley, psychiatrist and consultant to the Home Office in London, were published. As Malcolm Torrie, she also wrote a series starring Timothy Herring, who runs a society for the Preservation of Buildings of Historic Interest in London. She died in 1983.
John Mortimer, creator of the character Rumpole of the Bailey, was born April 21, 1923, in London. Mortimer, who died in 2009, was himself a barrister.
Ngaio Marsh was born April 23, 1899, in Christchurch, New Zealand. Her popular series featuring Roderick Alleyn, second son of a baronet and a police inspector in London, numbered 32 books, written between 1934 and 1982. The Mystery Writers of America presented her with its Grand Master Award in 1978, four years before her death. Along with contemporaries Agatha Christie, Margery Allingham, and Dorothy Sayers, Marsh is credited with creating the ever-popular "traditional" English detective story.
Thank you for supporting Mainely Murders Bookstore
and other small independent booksellers. At a time of increased dominance by
chains and online giants,
you've shown a commitment
to those of us who are part of the local community and who consider customers to be friends and neighbors.
We take great pride in talking with our clientele, whether it's trading viewpoints on favorites or recommending new titles and authors.
Did You Know?
For every $100 spent at a locally owned business, $45 stays in the local community. For every $100 spent at a national chain, franchise store, or online, only $14 remains in the community.
What better way to carry your books (or anything else) and the same time demonstrate your love of mysteries than with our Mainely Murders' black bag.
Made of durable fabric with reinforced 20-inch handles, the bag sports our recognizable logo. ($7)
In Bruges, Belgium, we took time to toast our upcoming fourth year.
Spring's here, according to the calendar. We've returned from some wonderful winter travels. (You'll hear more about that later.) And, soon we'll be opening the doors on our fourth year.
Sometimes it seems like only yesterday that we took the plunge and opened Mainely Murders. We had our skeptics: "You're going to open a bookstore--an old-fashioned, brick-and-mortar, real-books kind of bookstore--in this day and age?" But, here we are, still having the time of our lives.
In the meantime, the many customers who have walked through our doors now seem like old friends. We're looking forward to not only hearing about what they've been reading, but their own winter travels, family, and summer plans.
Yes, life is good here at Mainely Murders, our "old-fashioned, brick-and-mortar, real-books kind of bookstore." Thanks so much for being part of it.
Hope to see you soon.
Paula & Ann
Partners in Crime
P. S. Since Ann's knee-replacement surgery will have her cutting back on the hours she spends in the shop, she's busying herself planning some bookstore events for this year. Stay tuned.
Exploring French Mysteries: From the Old to the New
Don't let the lyrics of the old song fool you; it needn't be springtime in Paris to fall in love. It happens to us every year in February. Invariably, our passion returns for writers of French mysteries.
With our spring re-opening right around the corner, it's a great time to share our love of Paris with a little gift from our winter travels. Purchase a book from our French section and receive, while supplies last, a special-edition Eiffel Tower keychain.
There's a myriad of authors from which to choose, starting with the classic writers like Émile Gaboriau who wrote between 1866 and 1881; Maurice Leblanc and his Arsene Lupin tales (1907-1933); and Georges Simenon and Paris police inspector Maigret, and wife Madame Maigret, (1931-1972).
As many of you know, Paula's favorite Paris detective is Cara Black's Aimee Leduc, owner of a Paris agency specializing in corporate security. By setting each of her books in a different district (arrondissement) of the city, Black maps out contemporary Paris. No. 14 in the series, Murder in Pigalle, is her newest.
Like Black, Mark Pryor is an American who has created a highly enjoyable Paris series with his protagonist Hugo Marston, head of security at the U. S. embassy there. His books--The Bookseller, The Crypt Thief, and The Blood Promise--have appeared like clockwork each year since 2012.
Among French writers, Fred Vargas is the best and most prolific, at least among those translated into English. Starting in 2007, her books--yes, that's Frédérique!-- have scored three International Dagger Awards. The only downside of being a fan is the wait for translations. Her most recent Dagger-winning English translation, The Ghost Riders of Ordebec (2013), is one of her best, featuring Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg, Paris chief inspector.
If it's the historical you like, Claude Izner's Victor Legris series shouldn't be missed. Izner is actually the pen name of two sisters, Liliane Korb and Laurence Lefevre, booksellers on the banks of the Seine and experts in 19th-century Paris. Victor Legris, a 19th-century Paris bookseller and the series' protagonist, has appeared in six English-language translations so far, Murder on the Eiffel Tower, The Disappearance at Pere-Lachaise, The Montmartre Investigation, The Assassin in the Marais, In the Shadow of Paris, and Strangled in Paris. Five others await translation.
French diplomat Jean-Francois Parot writes Ann's favorite historical series--about Nicolas Le Floch, an investigator in the courts of Louis XV and Louis XVI. The brutality of 18th-century life is brilliantly evoked as are the dangerous intrigues at the upper levels of French government in the 11 books of the series (six translated). And the tension for readers is rising as we approach 1789. Thanks to our Quebec customer and friend Jean-Pierre for telling us about this series.
When Peter Steiner's Louis Morgon is fired by the CIA from his post as a Middle Eastern policy expert, he seeks refuge in France. From the beginning (Le Crime/A French Country Murder), Steiner has been praised by critics who talk of his masterful, highly literate, and intelligent style.
Martin O'Brien's chief inspector of homicide Daniel Jacquot is an ex-rugby player (those French love their rugby, as witness all the Six Nations Championship games on TV while we were in France!) who is one tough guy on the streets of Marseilles. O'Brien's books are also on the tough side, but compelling, well-written, and hard to put down. The seven books in the series start with Jacquot and the Waterman (2005). The most-recent is The Dying Minutes (2012).
Martin Walker, among our biggest-selling authors last year, continues his series featuring Benoît "Bruno" Courrèges, chief of police, in St. Denis in southwestern France. We liken this series to Louise Penny's portrayal of Three Pines, with Bruno and the St. Denis cast of characters. (Bruno, Chief of Police, The Dark Vineyard, Black Diamond, The Crowded Grave, The Devil's Cave, and The Resistance Man.)
If you like your mysteries steeped in food and wine, read M. L. Longworth, a Canadian native who now divides her time between Paris and the south of France. There's plenty of both--and romance on the side--in her series featuring Antoine Verlaque, the chief magistrate of Aix, and his love interest, law professor Marine Bonnet, in Aix-en-Provence. (Death at the Chateau Bremont, Murder in the Rue Dumas, and Death in the Vines.)
Speaking of food, wine, and mysteries, Alexander Campion, an American ex-pat, reverses the roles--she's the detective and he's her "Watson"--in his engaging series. Capucine LeTellier is a Paris police detective specializing in white-collar crime; her husband, Alexandre, a portly food critic, finds that the restaurant business can be deadly. (The Grave Gourmet, Crime Fraiche, Killer Critique, and Death of a Chef.)
And let us not forget Peter Mayle's mysteries, some of which focus on food (The Vintage Caper and A Good Year) and others which just talk about it (Chasing Cezanne and Anything Considered). Light and fun.
And that, of course, is just a sampling. The list is endless: Jean-Claude Izzo (The Marseilles Trilogy); Adrian Magson (a Paris detective sent to a small northern town as punishment in the 1960s); Peter May's odd Enzo Macleod series about a Scottish biologist who solves cold cases; J. Robert Jane's Sûreté/Gestapo World War II detective team; some of Alan Furst's interwar/wartime spy books; Michelle Wan's series combining wild orchids, food, travel, and engaging characters; and on and on.
The Maine Crime Wave
Walk into our shop, and you'll quickly realize that we're very big supporters of Maine crime writers.
If you think you've got the stuff to be one, consider attending the Maine Crime Wave, Saturday, April 19, at the Glickman Library at the University of Southern Maine in Portland. The daylong conference, sponsored by the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance, will include a keynote address from best-selling author Tess Gerritsen, panel discussions, theme-specific workshops, manuscript critiques, and book-signings.
Some of our favorite authors are scheduled to take part. In addition to Gerritsen, guest writers and workshop hosts include Gerry Boyle, Paul Doiron, Julia Spencer-Fleming, Kate Flora, and Kaitlyn
Dunnett/Kathy Lynn Emerson.
Details about the conference, including cost, registration, and schedule, are available at www.mainewriters.org.
Paula will probably see you there. Ann should be rehabbing her knee instead.
We Love Barbara Ross
(And So Do Others)
We told you so!
When Barbara Ross (part-time Mainer) debuted her Maine Clambake mystery last year, we told you it was a real keeper. We were right.
Barbara's Clammed Up is one of the five finalists for the Agatha Award for the best contemporary novel for 2013. The awards are presented each year by Malice Domestic, in recognition of the best writing in the style of "traditional mysteries," loosely defined as containing no explicit sex or gratuitous violence.
Barbara is in great company on the nominee list, joining fellow Mainely Murders favorites: Through the Evil Days, Julia Spencer-Fleming (another Mainer); Pagan Spring, G. M. Malliet; How the Light Gets In, Louise Penny; and The Wrong Girl, Hank Phillippi Ryan (fellow New Englander).
Results won't be announced until May 3, but it's clearly been a breakout year for Barbara, also an Agatha nominee for her story, "Bread Baby," in Stone Cold: Best New England Crime Stories 2014, in the short story category.
Boiled Over--No. 2 in the series featuring Julia Snowden and her family's clambake business in fictional Busman's Harbor, Maine--will be released in May.
. . . and the Nominees Are
Be it movies (Oscar's), stage productions (Tony's), or other entertainment venues, many of us greet announcements of nominees with a "How many have I seen?" Mysteries are no different.
The Edgars, the biggest mystery prizes of all, will be awarded May 1 by the Mystery Writers of America. For those who want to play the "How many have I read" game, the nominees for several of the major categories are:
Sandrine's Case, Thomas H. Cook
The Humans, Matt Haig
Ordinary Grace, William Kent Krueger
How the Light Gets In, Louise Penny
Standing in Another Man's Grave, Ian Rankin
Until She Comes Home, Lori Roy
Best First Novel
The Resurrectionist, Matthew Guinn
Ghostman, Roger Hobbs
Rage Against the Dying, Becky Masterman
Red Sparrow, Jason Matthews
Reconstructing Amelia, Kimberly McCreight
Best Paperback Original
The Guilty One, Lisa Ballantyne
Almost Criminal, E. R. Brown
Joe Victim, Paul Cleave
Joyland, Stephen King
The Wicked Girls, Alex Marwood
Brilliance, Marcus Sakey
Best Critical Biography
Maigret, Simenon and France: Social Dimensions of the Novels and Stories, Bill Alder
America Is Elsewhere: The Noir Tradition in the Age of Consumer Culture, Erik Dussere
Pimping Fictions: African American Crime Literature and the Untold Story of Black Pulp Publishing, Justin Gifford
Ian Fleming, Andrew Lycett
Middlebrow Feminism in Classic British Detective Fiction, Melissa Schaub
|Maine Book Awards
In Maine, where writers abound, it's not surprising
that we like giving them awards. Next month, the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance presents its own.
And, in a state many mystery authors call home, crime writing rates a category all its own.
Last year's winner was Kate Flora's Redemption, the third book in her series featuring Joe Burgess, a crusty but big-hearted homicide cop. Burgess, previously on the job in Playing God and The Angel of Knowlton Park, is our favorite Portland detective. If you haven't met him and want to know what happens on the "mean streets" of Maine's largest city, you should.
As mystery readers, we're always looking ahead to the latest books. The following are upcoming releases by some Mainely Murders favorites. Find more at www.stopyourekillingme.com.
Death Comes Quickly, Susan Wittig Albert (China Bayles #22)
Aunt Dimity and the Wishing Well, Nancy Atherton (Aunt Dimity #19)
Destroyer Angel, Nevada Barr (Anna Pigeon #18)
The Wolf in Winter, John Connolly (Charlie Parker #12)
Deal Killer, Vicki Doudera (Darby Farr #5)
By Its Cover, Donna Leon (Guido Brunetti #23)
Our Customers Recommend
One of our customers, who asked to remain anonymous, has spent the winter reading some recently published British mysteries. Below, she offers a few she thinks other Mainely Murders customers would enjoy. Obviously, we won't have most of these for a while, but we do have others by many of these authors and can order any you might want.
Hard Going, by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles, was published in February. A retired solicitor murdered in the act of writing out a check brings the detectives of the Shepherd's Bush station in London to discover who would want to kill a well-mannered man who loved the theater and acted as a neighborhood philanthropist. This smart whodunit combines bullpen banter, interesting characterization, and painstaking detection work in search of the killer.
Dead Water, by Anne Cleeves, focuses on a detective mourning the death of his lover who tangles with an incoming supervisor to solve a pair of murders on the main island of Shetland. Sympathetic lead characters and a foggy seabound setting--rather like the Maine coast--add dimension to a well-constructed procedural.
Kilmoon, published in March, is a debut mystery for author Lisa Alber. A woman who grew up in the shadow of a photograph of an old church travels from the States to the Irish village where her parents met, in hopes of learning more about her real father. This moody novel of murder, heartbreak, revenge, and betrayal near the ruins of Our Lady of the Kilmoon shows how cruel love can be.
Irish writer Adrian McKinty's In the Morning I'll Be Gone tells the story of a disgraced cop pulled out of early retirement and a haze of hash and booze to track down a former schoolmate turned terrorist. The third volume of The Troubles Trilogy is a grim depiction of life in Northern Ireland in the 1980s, and the hero's divided loyalties mirror the fight for independence and the dream of reconciliation.
In Dead People, Ewart Hutton's half-Welsh/half-Italian cop, busted down to detective sergeant and exiled to Mid Wales, has his own theories about the skeletons exhumed on a site for a future wind farm. Even though his superiors--including his former protégé--scoff at his theories, the dogged protagonist won't quit until he learns the truth in a cop novel that provides local color and unexpected plot twists.
Mainely Murders is an independent specialty mystery bookstore devoted exclusively to suspense, crime, and detective fiction. Our stock of used recent and hard-to-find hardcover, trade paper, and mass market volumes ranges from classics and cozies to tough guys and thrillers.