MAINELY MURDERS BOOKSTORE
1 Bourne Street, Kennebunk, ME 04043
Wednesday - Saturday, 10-5:30
Newsletter: December 2014
Special Holiday Hours
10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Christmas Week New Year's Week
Monday, Dec. 22 Monday, Dec. 29
Tuesday, Dec. 23 Tuesday, Dec. 30
Wednesday, Dec. 24 Wednesday, Dec. 31
Friday, Dec. 26
Saturday, Dec. 27
See you in the Spring!
Name the British writer who has truly mastered the holiday mystery, publishing a new Christmas
tale each year since 2003.
Hint: Many are on our shelves.
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.
Portland Dine Around
Books, food, and entertainment. They just go together. That's why we're again happy to be selling Portland Dine Around ($29.95), Maine's premier dining/entertainment rewards program.
Enjoy savings of $10 to $25 whenever two people dine out. Members can use the savings at over 300 affiliate partners from Rockport to Bethel, Portland, Kennebunk, and south. PDA 2015 has more savings than ever before on dining, movies, and entertainment! And, again this year, Mainely Murders has joined the team with a special offer.
Rex Stout, creator of Paula's favorite NYC detective Nero Wolfe, was born December 1, 1886, in Noblesville, Indiana. In his long-running series, he paired the laid-back amateur detective (the rotund, orchid-loving, beer-swilling Wolfe) with the hard-nosed private detective (Archie Goodwin). Stout, a Mystery Writers of America Grand Master, who died in 1975, remains popular to this day.
Kenneth Millar, born December 13, 1915, rose to fame writing under the name Ross Macdonald. Lew Archer (ex-cop-turned PI) was his most famous creation. A Mystery Writers of America Grand Master--as was his wife, Margaret Millar--he died in 1983.
Joe Gores, the only writer to have ever won two Edgars in one year--for best short story and best novel in 1969--was born in Rochester, Minnesota, on December 25, 1931, and died in 2011. Himself a PI, his most famous series features an automotive repo firm.
Jane Langton, born December 30, 1922, was first known for her children's books, but gained fame as a mystery writer. Her Homer Kelly books--a mainstay on our New England shelves--include the author's own pen and ink drawings.
Large Print Books
We occasionally receive large-print mysteries. While they are rarely the most recent releases, they run the gamut from contemporary to classics and from cozies to thrillers. Space constraints prevent us from putting them on our shelves, so please ask if you're interested.
Where's Our Traveling Book Bag?
Our customers and friends are everywhere--including at the University of North Texas Mayborn School of Journalism in Denton, Texas. Dean Dorothy Bland, who visited us this year, recently showed off our signature book bag outside her office. In keeping with good journalistic practices, we offer a disclaimer: Dorothy was an undergraduate student of Paula's at Arkansas State University.
We are first and foremost a mystery bookstore for readers--not collectors.
But, we do have a limited inventory of hardback, first-edition titles signed by their authors.
Whether it's a favorite author of your own or you just want to delight a friend or relative with a signed edition from his or her favorite, signed books make a great addition to a reader's collection.
A complete list is available at email@example.com (subject line: signed books).
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.
What better way to carry your books (or anything else) and at the same time demonstrate your love of mysteries than with our signature black bag.
Made of durable fabric with reinforced 20-inch handles, the bag sports our recognizable logo. ($7)
Our gift cards are available in any amount. The perfect gift for any event--birthdays, anniversaries, or "just because."
We're happy to take
mail/phone orders and will send to you or directly to the recipient.
With Thanksgiving behind us, it truly is beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here. Unlike many retailers--who have Christmas and Halloween decorations side-by-side--we hold back until the Thanksgiving turkey carcass is picked clean!
Understandably, retailers love Christmas, the make-or-break season, particularly for some booksellers. The throngs of gift buyers, many of whom would never otherwise enter their stores, cross the threshold this time of year.
At Mainely Murders, we REALLY love Christmas. Deep down inside, we're like other readers with memories of all the great mystery titles we've received over the years. ( Ann also loves the food: the homemade mincemeat and fruitcake. For Paula, it's mostly about the presents.)
Our wonderful customers come in to support us, to offer holiday greetings, and to drop off their "wish lists" should their friends or relatives ask for gift suggestions. Yes, we have a "Christmas Wish Book"; stop in and sign up. (Gift cards, available in any amount, are a favorite.)
We pull out all the stops in December; well, as much as we can in our tiny shop. We take turns baking goodies. (Most often Paula's cookies win out over Ann's fruitcake. Hence, no fruitcake this year.)
We encourage special orders, carry more new releases, stock up on favorites, and add ancillary items, like special-edition holiday gift baskets, bright yellow crime scene tape, and our signature Mainely Murders book bags. And, we're happy to accept mail orders. (We'll even gift-wrap for you.)
We hope to see many of you over the weeks ahead--whether you're here shopping or sharing a holiday greeting.
Paula & Ann
Partners in Crime
P.S. Already our planned end-of-month schedule feels exhausting. Our next newsletter will be February 1, 2015.
|P. D. James Remembered
It was with great sadness that we acknowledge the November 27 death of author P. D. James
at her home in Oxford, England. She was 94.
James launched her writing career (Cover Her Face) at the age of 42, a career that would earn her both critical and popular acclaim, bringing a new level of sophistication to the British mystery. Her most enduring characters were Scotland Yard's Adam Dalgliesh and the resourceful PI Cordelia Gray.
Our Scotland Report
For those interested in our recent trip to Scotland--and couldn't make it by the shop to sample the shortbread we brought back--Ann offers up a "What We Did On Our Scottish Vacation" report:
We mostly had braw days in the 50s with little or no rain, so we were able to see Glasgow, Edinburgh, and the central highlands in all their glory.
We walked, visited museums and the city chambers, ate at Charles Rennie Mackintosh's Willow Tea Room, had several fish-and-chips meals, devoured hundreds (so it seemed) of scones, tried pints of various beers (Ann) and a few single malts (Ann), turned Paula into a haggis convert (deep-fried battered haggis balls anyone?), kissed the Glasgow Clydesdales (Paula), and on our last night ate salmon, venison, and haggis and clapshot with whiskey sauce in a traditional Scottish restaurant.
We also got to hear the Glasgow voices. Paula and Linda, our friend who was there at the same time, perhaps having a bit more trouble understanding what those voices were saying.
But enough about trivialities. We had luck with the books. We brought (lugged?) back 92, of which 32 were set in Scotland. The Oxfam bookshops were good, but often priced out of our range. The various charity shops, which have books as part of their stock as Goodwill does here, were more productive.
The very best, however, was the bookstore at the Barras, the downtown weekend market (mostly indoor, given the usual weather in Glasgow) with a slightly dodgy reputation that may or may not be real any longer. (OK, maybe there were newspaper headlines about £14 million in illegal goods sold during the last few years.) This shop was probably our luggage downfall, but it was great good fun and the owner had fascinating stories.
We found many new Scottish authors, most of whom, alas, are not published in the U.S. But at least we know to look out for them. A few, like Tony Black and Gordon Ferris, are represented in the books we brought back.
Gift Ideas: Recent Releases
Several of our best-selling authors (Louise Penny, Lee Child, John Connolly, Tana French) have new books out in time for holiday giving. Agatha Christie, whose book sales still outnumber any other, gets on the list of new releases with Sophie Hannah's "new" Hercule Poirot.
The Monogram Murders: A New Hercule Poirot Mystery by Sophie Hannah ($25.99)
Since the publication of her first novel in 1920, more than 2 billion copies of Agatha Christie's books have been sold. Now, for the first time, the Christie estate has approved a novel featuring her most beloved creation, Hercule Poirot.
Poirot's quiet supper in a London coffeehouse is interrupted when a young woman confides to him that she is about to be murdered. She is terrified--but begs Poirot not to find or punish her killer. Once she is dead, she insists, justice will have been done . . .
The Long Way Home by Louise Penny ($27.99)
The latest book in Penny's award-winning series--judged the "best yet" by some of our customers.
Happily retired to the village of Three Pines, Armand Gamache, former Chief Inspector of Homicide with the Sûreté du Québec, has found a peace he'd only dreamed possible--a place he can't imagine ever leaving again. Then, his friend and fellow Three Pines resident, Clara, asks for help. Her artist-husband Peter has failed to come home, as promised, on the first anniversary of their separation.
The Secret Place by Tana French ($27.95)
This Dublin Murder Squad series began with Edgar-Award winning In The Woods, and has grown better with each new title. The Secret Place, book #5, is another gripping addition.
The photo on a card shows a boy who was found murdered, a year ago, on the grounds of a girls' boarding school in suburban Dublin. The caption reads, I KNOW WHO KILLED HIM. When Detective Stephen Moran is given the card by a student at St. Kilda's School, he thinks he's found a way to get his foot into the Dublin Murder Squad. He may soon be regretting what he asked for.
Personal by Lee Child ($28)
Child's fast-moving, action-packed thrillers are
consistently bestsellers. In Personal, Jack Reacher returns in his 19th suspenseful adventure.
You can leave the army, but the army doesn't leave you. Not always. Not completely, notes Jack Reacher--and sure enough, the retired military cop is soon pulled back into service. This time, for the U.S. State Department and the CIA.
The Wolf in Winter by John Connolly ($26)
Book #12 in the Charlie Parker series is as well written, suspenseful, and, sometimes, disturbing as his previous ones. Like many of Connolly's books, there's a bit of the supernatural in The Wolf in Winter. Indeed, he's made a reputation as one who successfully blends the supernatural and the thriller.
Charlie Parker is again back in Maine (Prosperous, Maine, to be exact).
The community of Prosperous has always thrived when others have suffered. Its inhabitants are wealthy, its children's future secure. It shuns outsiders. It guards its own.
But the death of a homeless man and the disappearance of his daughter draw the haunted, lethal PI Charlie Parker to Prosperous. Parker is a dangerous man, driven by compassion, by rage, and by the desire for vengeance. In him the town and its protectors sense a threat graver than any they've ever faced, and in the comfortable, sheltered inhabitants of a small Maine town, Parker encounters his most vicious opponents yet.
Books To Die For, edited by John Connolly and Declan Burke ($29.99)
Not sure of what to buy the mystery reader on your list? Once again, we believe Books To Die For is a wonderful choice for any fan of the mystery genre. Featuring personal essays from 120 of the world's best crime writers on the mysteries and thrillers that they most admire, it belongs on the bookshelf of any mystery fan.
The editors, celebrated mystery writers themselves, have selected a veritable all-star cast--both as contributors and subjects. Each contributor pays a tribute to one mystery that means the most to them, explaining why that book, as well as its author, affects them and how it has influenced their own writing. An essential guide for all mystery readers.
Some questions have come up lately--and with some frequency--that might be interesting to others.
Q: I know you don't have a return/credit policy. But since I don't keep most of the books I've read, can I just give them back to you?
A: Funny you should ask. We frequently receive such "donations" from our customers. When we suggest that they donate their unwanted books to their library or other nonprofit group--after all, we really are a profit-making business, much to the surprise of our accountant--they shake their heads. We hear comments like: "I didn't even erase the prices, so just sell them again" and "I want you to do well and be here forever."
Q: May I park in your driveway when the weather's bad?
A: You may park in the driveway anytime. We thought it wasn't a good idea for us to park there, but we thought you would. We thought those of you who have temporary or permanent trouble walking would benefit. As it turns out, only a few people use it. And, FYI, no one has ever been blocked in.
What We're Reading
>Denise Mina (Paula)
Call me suspicious, but I think one of Ann's goals for our recent Scottish trip might have been to broaden my interest in Tartan writers. Sorry, Ann, I remain committed to my favorites--Ian Rankin, Val McDermid, and Denise Mina.
It continues to baffle me why Mina, a much-heralded writer in Britain, hasn't had the success in this country that Rankin and McDermid have garnered. A couple of years ago, Ann and I considered designating her our very own "best underappreciated writer." She still is.
Since 1998, when she won the New Blood Dagger for Garnethill, the first of her Garnethill Trilogy, Mina has been one of my favorites--along with that book's protagonist, Maureen O'Donnell, a most unlikely Glasgow crime fighter.
The writer is wonderfully consistent: her three series are all set in Glasgow (which, I concede after all these years, is becoming one of my favorite cities) and all "star" women.
After Garnethill's Maureen O'Donnell, Mina introduced Paddy Meehan, a reporter for the Scottish Daily News. A newspaper reporter is my idea of a perfect investigator, but, alas, the author moved on after three books--Field of Blood, 2005's best crime novel in Britain; The Dead Hour; and The Last Hour (APA, Slip of the Knife).
Fortunately, a third series came along. And, Alex Morrow, a Glasgow detective sergeant, has proven to be every bit as tough and gritty--when it comes to crime solving--as her two fictional predecessors. Still Midnight and The End of the Wasp Season, her first two, were both finalists for Britain's top crime novel. She's followed up with Gods and Beasts and the Red Road.
If you haven't yet "discovered" one of the truly best of international mystery writers, do yourself a favor. MINA is the name.
>Craig Robertson (Ann)
For love of Glasgow, I read Craig Robertson's Snapshot, the second of five books about Tony Winter, a Glasgow police photographer, and Rachel Narey, a Glasgow detective sergeant. It is, in fact, an excellent book on Glasgow (much of the action takes place in center city), the nature of obsession, and the public's willingness to accept killings as long as they are of "bad" people.
Winter is just supposed to take pictures of the victims, but his fascination with the dead and the instant of their death, a fascination even he realizes is slightly off, leads him to take photographs that often reveal more than simply location of the victim or wounds. But because he isn't actually a policeman, "real policemen and women" such as Narey and his friend Addison are not really interested in his thoughts or willing to help him with information. So he isn't willing to share his possible discoveries.
Narey, on the other hand, tends to be sent to the periphery of major investigations--if not sent off, as she is here, to work on a lesser case. While Winter is often in the middle of the investigations into the assassinations of major Glasgow crime figures, at least at first, Narey is fobbed off with a prostitute killing.
The problem for the police is that the public is cheering for the assassin and doesn't care much about one less prostitute. And not making much progress on either case hardly helps anyone's mood.
Both humorous--burning cocaine leads to comic behavior by the bystanders-- and gruesome--some of the murders are fairly inventive, Snapshot is a very good cop story. Better even, than the first one I read. And after a bit you'll get used to the Glasgow slang.
A sampling of December releases. For a compete list, visit www.stopyourekillingme.com. All can be ordered directly from Mainely Murders.
Lucy Burdette, Death with All the Trimmings [Key West Food Critic #5]
Andrea Camilleri, The Brewer of Preston [Non-Series]
Laura Childs, Scorched Eggs [Cackleberry Club #6]
Barbara Cleverly, Enter Pale Death [Joe Sandilands #12]
Cleo Coyle, Once Upon a Grind [Coffeehouse #14]
Christopher Fowler, Bryant & May and the Bleeding Heart [Peculiar Crimes Unit #11]
Tess Gerritsen, Die Again [Rizzoli & Isles #11]
Susan Hill, The Soul of Discretion [Simon Serrailler #8]
Anthony Horowitz, Moriarity [Sherlock Holmes #2]
Bill James, Disclosures [Harpur and Iles #31]
Val McDermid, The Skeleton Road [Karen Pirie #2]
Ann Purser, Suspicion at Seven [Lois Meade #14]
Laura Joh Rowland, The Iris Fan [Sano Ichiro #18]
Our friend/customer/reviewer, Helen Kitzman of Madison, Connecticut, is back this month with reports on some of her latest reads.
While held in suspense during the recent Scottish
independence vote and in honor of last month's Scottish trip by our illustrious bookshop leaders, I have been reading the mysteries of a new acquaintance, C. F. (Francis) Roe. [We should note, thanks to Ann.] A GP in Perth, Dr. Jean Montrose is striving to bring up her family (two remarkably well-adjusted girls considering an aloof, often bad-tempered father and husband who expects hot food on the table and a cup of tea in bed every morning) with mysterious deaths as a constant interruption to her medical practice and hectic home life. Written by a surgeon born in Scotland, these mysteries fit the mold of the traditional "cozy" mystery, but usually end with a most unsuspected culprit.
More in the Scottish noir tradition are the mysteries of Ian Rankin and Denise Mina. I must confess that I, unlike Ann, enjoy reading Rankin more than Mina, whose female protagonists often face a stark bleakness in Glasgow that is more than the rainy weather. John Rebus, Rankin's detective in Edinburgh, resembles Peter Robinson's Alan Banks in Yorkshire as both enjoy their pints in the pub and the latest jazz on the turntable to help them maintain sanity and pursue justice in the midst of corruption on the streets and in the corridors of power.
Looking for a stocking stuffer for Christmas? Look no further than one of the holiday mystery novellas of Anne Perry, which provide additional chapters to her mystery series characters. This year's entry is
A New York Christmas.
A Scot, her mysteries are most solidly based in late Victorian London, although a more recent series moves to the battlefields of the First World War. In the Dickensian tradition, Perry builds intricate plots through highly educated characters primarily residing in the upper classes, which give them leisure to conduct brilliant dialogues that lead astray our stalwart police detectives, Thomas Pitt (and Charlotte) and William Monk (and Hester who runs a crowded clinic in the slums).
In these two lengthy but fascinating series, Perry manages to touch on all the classic social and political ills of that day (and ours): imperialism, the Established Church and religion, diplomacy, industry, illicit and forbidden sex, government, all intertwined with greed and corruption. With the help now and again of a few powerful friends, our detectives solve the mysteries and restore the broken bonds of society once more. Need I say that I await eagerly each new installment?
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.