Name the late American writer whose popular long-running series featuring a police officer in Dublin led many people to believe he was actually Irish. The pen name under which he wrote the series may have contributed to the confusion.
Email your answer to
(subject line: monthly quiz). The winner, randomly drawn from correct answers, will receive a $25 Mainely Murders gift card.
Congratulations to last month's winner, Lisa Britt of Saco, who identified Carolyn Hart as the American writer who has made a mystery bookstore, Death on Demand owned by Annie Darling, the setting for her long-running (23 books and counting!) series.
Each month we note birthdays of some of the masters of the mystery genre, with hopes that readers might read (or re-read) one of their many gems. In June, we celebrate a number of noted writers, as well as one of your favorite mystery booksellers.
George C. Chesbro, born June 4, 1940, in Washington, D.C., wrote mysteries featuring Dr. Robert Frederickson (Mongo), dwarf and former circus performer.
George Baxt, A Queer Kind of Death, The Dorothy Parker Murder Case, and others, was born June 10, 1923, in Brooklyn.
Paula Keeney, who co-founded Mainely Murders Bookstore in 2011, was born June 17, 1949, in Salem, Oregon. Although she was an avid mystery reader by the age of 10, she has no desire to write one; she just wants to read (and sell) them.
Rupert Croft-Cooke, who also wrote under the pseudonym Leo Bruce, was born June 20, 1903, in Kent.
Lawrence Block, creator of three memorable series characters--Bernie Rhodenbarr, the New York burglar/bookseller; Keller, the stamp-loving hit man; and Max Scudder, the alcoholic ex-cop--was born June 24, 1938, in Buffalo, NY.
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)
Travel In Style:
'Mainely Murders Style'
Our classic black bag is made for travel--with books or anything else. Ann shows off one at the Sherlo
ck Holmes Museum in London in February.
We know our customers love to travel--whether at home or abroad.
Show us where you've taken your Mainely Murders bag. Email (or snail mail) us a photo (jpg) and we'll share it with newsletter readers. You'll receive a Mainely Murders gift card.
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.
New Releases Available
New releases may not be our specialty, but we're delighted to specia
l order them for our customers.
Whether it's a just-published book or one that's scheduled to be out in the weeks ahead, order by mail, phone, or email. We accept Visa, MasterCard, and Discover. We ship USPS.
For Those Who Like Classics
Recently, we were able to acquire a nice run of
Douglas Clark (Scotland Yard detectives George Masters and Bill Green, 1969-1990); in several of his 10 different series (1985-present); and a long run of Jonathan Gash's Lovejoy, who loves women, antiques, and scams.
At last, it's June and summer officially arrives.
Welcome back. Faithful customers--like mother/daughter mystery lovers Eleanor and Kristin Gallagher of Lynn, Massachussets--return after a very long winter.
For us, it means that Ann's new bionic knee has healed enough that she can get out and resume book-buying trips. Warmer temps and sunny skies mean Paula can sit outside the shop and read more. (Hey, we both have our strengths in this business!)
This month, we're also introducing our first-ever book group, aptly named Mainely Murders. It seems only right that our first one focuses on Maine's contemporary lineup of crime writers. (See details below.)
Hope to see you soon.
Paula & Ann
Partners in Crime
Join Us for Conversation and More
Over the last three years, we've heard a recurring request: "When are you going to host reading groups?" We admit we've been slow off the mark. After all, where do we begin?
Well, it's summer in Maine and that's where we'll start: The Mainely Murders Summer Reading Group: June, July, August, and September--the best months of the year!
Where do we begin? The answer, we decided, is obvious--four very popular Maine mystery writers, all with a long-running series set in Maine, each written in a very different style.
Saturday, June 28: Shadows of a Down East Summer, Lea Wait
Saturday, July 26: Cover Story, Gerry Boyle
Saturday, August: 23: Mallets Aforethought, Sarah Graves
Saturday, September 27: Dark Hollow, John Connolly
The sessions will begin at 3:30 p.m. with the expectation that each will last about two hours.
We have all books in stock. However, for those who choose not to purchase, all titles are widely available in libraries.
We do ask that you will have read the book and come ready to talk about it and other mystery topics. Sign-ups are appreciated (firstname.lastname@example.org), but not required. Seats and refreshments will be available for everyone.
Summertime Sunshine Sale*
Hardbacks, with Dust Jackets, Many 1st Editions
Sale limited to books in stock. No special orders.
* Outdoor Sale; Weather Permitting.
Don't Forget Dad
Father's Day is Sunday, June 15, and Mainely Murders has just what a mystery-loving dad would like. Help him catch up with a favorite mystery writer. Or, perhaps he'd enjoy an introduction to a new author.
Does Dad like a little mystery served up with his favorite baseball team? How about Murder at Fenway Park? (Or Ebbets Field or Wrigley Field, or . . .) Does he like short stories? How about Murderer's Row, a collection of baseball short stories?
Stumped for ideas? Mainely Murders gift certificates are available in any amount.
Have You Met Phyrne Fisher?
Some series are so good they can't help but inspire film adaptations. That's true of Kerry Greenwood's stories of Phyrne Fisher in 1920's Melbourne, Australia.
Everything about Phyrne is over the top--her wardrobe, her friends, her adventures. This is a woman with attitude. We love her--in the books Greenwood has written over the last 25 years and in the made-for-TV movies produced by the Australian Broadcasting System. (The latest in the series is now available in the U.S.)
Because Greenwood makes use of a delightful cast of recurring characters--including Detective Inspector Jack Robinson, the ever-faithful Dot, and, Paula's favorite, Mr. Butler, the butler--you might want to read the books in order. But, wherever you begin, be it the very first, Cocaine Blues, or the most recent, Murder and Mendelssohn, you're in for a treat. (Be warned, though, the books diverge quite a bit from the TV series.)
If our recommendation isn't enough, check out what others say about Phyrne:
Elegant, fabulously wealthy and sharp as a tack, Phryne sleuths with customary panache . . . [she is] irresistibly charming.
Phryne Fisher is gutsy and adventurous, and endowed with plenty of grey matter.
Independent, wealthy, spirited, and possessed of an uninhibited style that makes everyone move out of her way and stand gawking for a full five minutes after she walks by . . .
Phryne Fisher is a woman who gets what she wants and has the good sense to enjoy every minute of it!
"It's an honor just to be nominated . . ." How often have we heard that? Well, in the major mystery awards, it's true. But, what writer wouldn't like to add the Edgar to his or her vitae?
The Edgars, the biggest mystery prizes of all, were awarded May 1 by the Mystery Writers of America.
The major awards went to William Kent Krueger, Ordinary Grace, best novel; Jason Matthews, The Red Sparrow, best first novel; Erik Dussere, America is Elsewhere: The Noir Tradition in the Age of Consumer Culture, best critical biography; Alex Marwood, The Wicked Girls, best paperback original.
The Agatha Awards honor the traditional mystery--books typified by Agatha Christie. Loosely described as containing no explicit sex or excessive violence and usually featuring an amateur detective, they were awarded May 3 by Malice Domestic.
Top honors went to Hank Phillipi Ryan, The Wrong Girl, best contemporary novel; Charles Todd, A Question of Honor, best historical novel; Leslie Budewitz, Death al Dente, best first novel.
Our Latest Readings
To answer an often-asked question: Yes, we do read all the books we talk about in our newsletters. And, while we do come across books that we don't like, we choose not to write negative reviews. There are more than enough wonderful books out there to write about.
With the death of Tony Hillerman in 2008, mystery fans lost one of the greatest voices and, we thought, one of the most enchanting detective duos, Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee, Navajo tribal police officers in the Southwest.
About the former, we were, thankfully, wrong. In Spider Woman's Daughter, Anne Hillerman has taken over where her dad left off, continuing the story of Leaphorn and Chee, while adding her own character, Bernadette (Bernie) Manualito, also of the Navajo police, and wife of Jim Chee.
Admission: I don't generally like this new thing of writers taking over the "franchise" created by others after their death. But, Anne Hillerman is an exception. In this continuation, I can hear her dad's voice as well as her own. (Anne, along with her husband, photographer Don Strel, wrote Tony Hillerman's Landscape: On the Road with Chee and Leaphorn in 2009.)
As an afterward, Anne encourages her readers--and real Hillerman fans will need little encouragement--to go back to her father's 1988 novel, Thief of Time. There, she explains, is the seed for Spider Woman's Daughter.
If you read Anne's book, you'll definitely want to go back. I did and enjoyed it so much that I've found myself re-reading several of her dad's early books.
It's so much fun to go back and read old favorites.
William MacIlvaney's Laidlaw, while taking Scottish mystery writing in a new direction, was far more mannered than I recalled. Josephine Tey's Inspector Grant series was probably very good on the British theater world before and after World War II (as Gordon Daviot,Tey was a reasonably well-known playwright) and very, very clever. Unfortunately, Tey was obviously very, very conservative socially. So putting a policeman in the real world brings him into contact with people of lower social status and gives him the opportunity to express unfortunate opinions. It's hard going sometimes, and I'm still not sure why the presence of a switchblade would lead to the assumption that the killer is Levantine.
Caroline Graham's Inspector Barnaby tales hold up much better and are humane in a way Tey's are not. And she had a clever way of relieving herself of the boredom that an ongoing character can induce. In A Ghost in the Machine, Graham pulled off a neat trick; she gave her readers another book with Chief Inspector Barnaby, which readers wanted, without making him the focus.
In this seventh--and last--Barnaby story, the critical death in little Forbes Abbot doesn't take place until Page 165 and the investigation until Page 283, that is more than halfway through the book. Until then the book follows the lives of several people in the town after the Lawson family inherits an elderly aunt's estate.
It's a charming story, and because the people and their situations are fascinating, the delay in getting to the crime is hardly noticeable. It's also the last in the Barnaby series. Graham never wrote another book. Only the DVD Barnaby et al. TV stories, which Graham did not write, live on.
>Another From Ann:
Fearful of accusations of wimpiness caused by the Caroline Graham review above, I return to more comfortable ground and recommend the Anders de la Motte's The Game Trilogy. Ask yourself how optimistic a former Swedish police officer and IT security consultant might be about the tech world. And if you have any doubts about the answer, read these three books.
HP, a Swedish slacker--a really serious slacker-- finds a sleek new cell phone on a train, a phone that invites him to play an alternative reality game. The lure of money and fame make the game thrilling, increasingly dangerous, and, naturally, addictive.
Our hero's sister, Rebecca, is the opposite, a policewoman on the Swedish Security Service bodyguard unit. Ambitious and controlled, her life moves ever closer to HP's.
In Buzz both characters find success (money for HP and advancement for Rebecca), except . . .
By the time HP and Rebecca make it to Bubble, neither know whom to trust and what constitutes the truth, even including that of their family's past.
The perfect books to prove paranoia can be the right response to technological advancement.
The following are June releases by some Mainely Murders favorite authors. Find more at www.stopyourekillingme.com.
The Bones Beneath, Mark Billingham, Tom Thorne #12
Murder in Pigalle, Cara Black, Aimée Leduc #14
Dead Heat, Allison Brennan, Lucy Kincaid #8
Nine Lives to Die, Rita Mae Brown, Mrs. Murphy #22
Angelica's Smile, Andrea Camilleri, Inspector Montalbano #17
Razing the Dead, Sheila Connolly, Museum #5
Top Secret Twenty-One, Janet Evanovich, Stephanie Plum #21
Terminal City, Linda Fairstein, Alex Cooper #16
Vertigo 42, Martha Grimes, Richard Jury #23
Any Other Name, Craig Johnson, Walt Longmire, #11
Mr. Mercedes, Stephen King
Cradle to Grave, Eleanor Kuhns, Will Rees #3
A Song for the Dying, Stuart MacBride, Ash Henderson #2
The Prime Minister's Secret Agent, Susan Elia MacNeal, Maggie Hope #4
Present Darkness, Malla Nunn, Emmanuel Cooper #4
Invisible, James Patterson & David Ellis
Yarn Over Murder, Maggie Sefton, Knitting #12
Denial of Murder, Peter Turnbull, Harry Vicary #4
The Late Scholar, Jill Paton Walsh, 1st U.S., Lord Peter Wimsey & Harriet Vane #4
Ann's mother, Clara Whetstone of Kennebunk, is, naturally, a fan of books from Mainely Murders, but she does not share her daughter's darker side, which she would attribute to Ann's father (if asked):
On Mother's Day I received, among other books, Simon Brett's Mrs. Pargeter's Point of Honour. I had not read any of the Mrs. Pargeter stories (there are six), but I liked the light touch and the humor surrounding the activities of this widow of a mastermind burglar, most of whose friends are former (for the most part) criminals. It's a change of pace from Rita Mae Brown and Galsworthy.
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.