News from Mainely Murders Bookstore
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MAINELY MURDERS BOOKSTORE
1 Bourne Street, Kennebunk, ME 04043
(207) 985-8706

Reopening in April 2014

Newsletter:  January 2014
In This Issue
A New Generation of Mystery Readers
The Books We Most Enjoyed Selling
New Year's Resolutions
Resurrecting the Dead
Coming Soon

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Newsletter Archives:
Previous issues can be
 viewed on our 

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MONTHLY QUIZ
 

No quiz this issue. We've exhausted our supply of trivia--at least for the month. But, rest assured, more questions are on their way. 

 

Congratulations to Barbara Morse of Wells who correctly identified Dr. Robert Frederickson, also known as Mongo the Magnificent, a criminologist, ex-circus headliner, martial-arts expert, and private eye, who happens to be a dwarf. The Mongo series, written by George C. Chesbro (1940-2008), is a blend of mystery, suspense, science fiction, and the supernatural.

 

Barbara's correct answer--good for a $25 gift card--was randomly drawn from several correct entries.

   

 

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What We're Reading

 

Paula:

 

Liza Marklund

Jo Nesbo

Yrsa Sigurdardotter

  

* I strayed from the Scandinavians this fall. Time to get back to them. 

 

Ann:
 

Quintin Jardine

Alex Gray

Allen Guthrie

 

** My love of Scotland, and its writers, is obvious.

  
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Happy January Birthdays

   

Wilkie Collins, author of The Woman in White (1860) and The Moonstone (1868), was born in London on January 8, 1824.

 

The father of detective fiction, Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston on January 19, 1809. Although a notorious gambler, drunkard, and drug addict, Poe was a leading literary figure in 19th-century America. His The Murders in the Rue Morgue (1841) is recognized as the first detective story. Since 1946 the Edgars, awarded each year by the Mystery Writers of America, honor the best in the genre.

 

Patricia Highsmith, best known for her dark psychological mysteries, was born in Texas on January 19, 1921. The author, who spent most of her life abroad, was best known for her Strangers on the Train (1950) and later her series featuring Tom Ripley.

  

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Thank you!

 

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.

 

 Buy Local

 

 

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.

 

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Show Your 

Mysterious Side

 

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 store logo. ($7)

 

 

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                          Happy New Year 
              
Snowed out? No, it's just time for our winter hiatus.

First things first: Thank you, everyone, for a wonderful holiday season (our best yet!) and wonderful year (also, our best yet!!).

 

This is a bittersweet time of the year for us. The end of December means year's end; closing our doors, even for only three months, is a little sad. On the other hand, the next three (quiet) months will be filled with much reflection on what we did well, what we didn't do quite so well, and where we can improve in our upcoming fourth year. (If you're wondering, we keep notes.)

 

Okay, it also means travel and book-buying.  We would like to visit Scandinavia, but even the natives have cautioned us against a mid-winter trip. They suggest one frozen land is rather like another, especially if it's hard to walk around. Maybe we'll take a fall break one year for this trip.

 

Last year we divided our foreign travels between France and Italy--okay, Paris, Venice, and Florence. We like cities. This year, we'll return to Paris--does anyone ever get enough of the City of Light? Then, on to London as we haven't been in many years. It will probably be for just a few days, enough time for the train trip over and back, charity bookshops, and a few museums. With luck it won't rain all the time.

 

We're also considering a foray south to New Orleans to visit friends, eat the great food, and be warm. That is, if Ann's projected knee surgery doesn't mess us up. 

 

Paula & Ann

Partners in Crime

 

P.S. Our winter break doesn't include this newsletter. Back with you in February and March and.....  

    

                    

A New Generation of Mystery Readers

 

Mainely Murders and our wonderful customers and friends passed on their love of mysteries to the younger generation this Christmas season.

 

Throughout the pre-Christmas period, we partnered with the United States Marine Corps Reserves' Toys for Tots and asked customers, friends, and family to purchase one of our specially selected child or young adult books or games and drop it in our collection box, and we'd match it.

 

We were overjoyed with the results. The week before Christmas, Santa and his elves (along with some Marine Corps helpers) stopped in and picked up nearly $1,000 in books and games--all destined to find their way to deserving youngsters.

 

Thanks to all who participated.

 

 

 

The Books We Most Enjoyed Selling

 

Throughout the year, books sell in many ways. Customers seek out the latest release by their favorite author, they want the title mentioned on this morning's Today Show, or they come in search of a book a friend recommended.

 

Other books are meant to be "hand sold"--bookseller talk for books that, while they may not have benefit of all the hype and brouhaha, have captured the attention of those of us whose business it is to make intelligent recommendations to customers. (Well, we hope they are intelligent.) These volumes may not be the biggest sellers, but they shout out to us: "This one is special!"

 

Each year, we have several of these. They're the books that you hear us talking about. It's the book that sends us straight to a shelf when a customer asks, "What's the best book you've read lately?"

 

We've each selected our own short list of such books from the last year. We trust that no one will be surprised that our individual lists don't overlap. As most of you know, our reading tastes are as varied as that of our customers:

 

Paula: 

  • How The Light Gets In, Louise Penny.  

I'm a huge fan of the Inspector Armand Gamache,

chief inspector of the Sûreté du Québec, especially when he returns to the village of Three Pines. This newest one might be my all-time favorite. 

  • Bruno, Chief of Police, Martin Walker. 

In truth, I usually like my French mysteries served up in Paris. But, Benoît "Bruno" Courrèges, chief and the only policeman in the tiny village of St. Denis in southwestern France, has become a favorite. Bruno, Chief of Police is just the first in the series that now numbers six, with The Resistance Man set for U.S. publication in February.

  • A Taste of Venice: At the Table with Brunetti (APA  Brunetti's Cookbook), Donna Leon and Roberta Pianaro.  

Leon's wonderful series featuring Guido Brunetti, police commissario in Venice, is enticing. Brunetti and his cast of crime-solving characters at the Questura lured me there last winter, and the cooking of his wife, Paola, is just as enticing. 

  • Speaking From Among the Bones,  Alan Bradley.

People seem surprised when I recommend Bradley's books featuring Flavia de Luce, the 11-year-old sleuth and aspiring chemist in the small English hamlet of Bishop's Lacey. Is my disinterest in children that obvious?  But, Flavia is unlike any child we're ever likely to meet. I love her.

 

 

Ann: 

For academics whether dinosaurs have feathers determines if they developed from mammals or birds. In this Danish mystery the question is fairly serious as members of the biology department interested in this start to die. Really good mystery and decent discussion of the issue, and a good reminder that all academics are not wimpy. One really grim death though. 

  • The Sword of the TemplarsPaul Christopher. 

Our ex-Army Ranger hero and his niece are drawn into a fight with the bad Templars. (Templars are usually good, see Raymond Khoury.) Not exactly deep, but lots of action. And the details of foreign locales are nearly perfect. Fun. 

  • Death in August, Marco Vichi. 

It's August in Florence in the early 1960s. Lots of tourists and mosquitoes, and no air conditioning. Most natives and policemen leave if they can. Our hero has not. So when an old woman dies of an asthma attack, our left-leaning policeman and his scruffy helpers try to figure what exactly is so odd about the death and what really happened. 

  • Zoo Station, David Downing.                               

An American correspondent in Germany in 1939, has a German ex-wife and son, and a German-Jewish actress girlfriend. He tries to avoid political involvement so he can stay in Germany, but others--Soviets, Germans, British--are disinclined to leave him alone. Start of a nice series, especially for fans of Alan Furst and J. Robert Janes.

  

  

New Year's Resolutions

 

Paula:

 

If anyone keeps a scorecard on such things, I didn't
live up to my 2013 resolution--to read (re-read), in order, all 49 of Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe books. I came close, but other books kept getting in the way.

 

Still, I consider Wolfe and sidekick Archie Goodwin to be among the very best characters in all of mystery fiction. And, while I didn't make it through the entire list, I'm happy to say that I sold many--first, to some, like me, who wanted to re-visit that West 35th Street brownstone; then, to others meeting Wolfe and Archie (and Fritz and Theodore, and Saul Panzler) for the first time.

 

But, it is the time for resolutions, so here goes: This is the year that I'll read everything that strikes my fancy--even if Ann sneers at my choices.  And, yes, Rex Stout will be on the list.

 

Ann:

 

Actually, I did read all the Richard Stark Parker
books I had and could find. Then again, there are only 24. In his own way Parker is also an original American mystery character, but I will agree that amoral bank robbers who only kill people when necessary--it makes the cops more determined to find the robbers--are not to everyone's taste.

 

I would like to delve more deeply into the Tartan Noir, moving beyond Stuart MacBride, Denise Mina, Val McDermid, and Ian Rankin to a more thorough reading of Christopher Brookmyre, Alex Gray, Caro Ramsay, Quintin Jardine, and Allan Guthrie. Naturally, I hope to find some other authors in British charity shops. More darkness coming from Ann.

 

 

                        

Resurrecting the Dead

 

It's nothing new, but the recent surge in announcements about new authors writing books about old favorites has some of us scratching our heads.

 

In no particular order, we've learned of late that : British author Sophie Hannah will resurrect Agatha Christie's Hercules Poirot; William Boyd is bringing back Ian Fleming's James Bond; and Benjamin Black (John Banville) is writing a new Raymond Chandler novel.

 

Certainly, these writers are successful in their own right (although none even near the authors they are emulating, not even Banville). But, we have to ask: Must they go back to the creations of other writers? Can they ever be as good as the original? Where's this coming from? Are readers clamoring for it? Is it about authors' estates wanting more and more and more? Or just wanting to revive interest in the original books?

 

We don't have the answers. But, it's worth considering if the success of the new books in the Robert B. Parker series is a factor. (He, of course, wrote two "new" Philip Marlow books in the 1989 and 1991 following the death of Raymond Chandler). Our customers surely buy them.

 

 

 

Coming Soon

   

January Releases

 

Alan Bradley, The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches (Flavia De Luce #6)

Robert Knott, Robert B. Parker's Bull River (Virgil Cole & Everett Hitch continuation)

Charles Todd, Hunting Shadows (Ian Rutledge #16)

Stuart Woods, Standup Guy (Stone Barrington #28) 

   

  

  

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.   

  

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Mainely Murders Bookstore | 1 Bourne Street | Kennebunk | ME | 04043