As you know, Mainely Murders is real. The world of mystery fiction, however, features several not-so-real bookstores. Name three mystery bookstores that figure prominently in contemporary detective fiction and the creator (author) of each.
E-mail your answer to email@example.com (subject line: monthly quiz). The winner, randomly drawn from correct respondents, will receive a $25 Mainely Murders gift card.
Congratulations to Kathy Meyerson of Poughkeepsie, New York, who correctly identified Mary Daheim as the writer of American cozies who has used the entire (yes, all 26 letters) alphabet in the titles in a long-running series. She started her series featuring Emma Lord, small-town newspaper editor in Alpine, Washington, in 1992 with The Alpine Advocate and reached the end of the alphabet last month with The Alpine Zen.
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.
George Chesbro, born June 4, 1940, in Washington, D.C., wrote mysteries featuring Dr. Robert Frederickson (Mongo) dwarf and circus performer. He also wrote under the name of David Cross. He died in 2008.
Ken Follett, bestselling Welsh spy novelist, best known for his Edgar winning Eye of the Needle, was born June 5, 1949. In 2013, the Mystery Writers of America honored him as a Grand Master.
Sara Paretsky, who along with Sue Grafton and Marcia Muller, is credited with revolutionizing the mystery world with the tough-gal PI, was born in Ames, Iowa, on June 8, 1947. Her PI, V.I. Warshawski, first appeared in Double Indemnity (1982). Paretsky was also instrumental in founding Sisters in Crime in 1986.
Patricia Cornwell, born June 9, 1956, in Miami, was the first writer to bring forensics (and the medical examiner) into the forefront of mystery fiction. Kay Scarpetta, the medical examiner in Richmond, Virginia, first appeared in Postmortem (1982). She received the Grand Master designation in 2011 by the Mystery Writers of America.
Dorothy L. Sayers, born June 13, 1893, was the creator of Lord Peter Wimsey and Dorothy Vane. She died in 1957.
Lawrence Block, born June 24, 1938, in Buffalo, New York, was the creator of one of the great characters of crime fiction, Bernie Rhodenbarr, "the burglar who . . ."
Eric Ambler, screenwriter and master of the spy novel, was born June 28, 1909, in London, England. A Coffin for Dimitrios, is often cited as one of the best all-time spy novels and features in his typical amateur, inadvertent hero. A Mystery Writers of America Grand Master (1975), he died in 1998.
We occasionally receive large-print mysteries. While they are rarely the most recent releases, they run the gamut from contemporary to classics, from cozies to thrillers. Space constraints prevent us from putting many on our shelves, so please ask if you're interested.
We are first and foremost a mystery bookstore for readers--not collectors. But, we do have a limited inventory of books signed by their authors. Go to www.mainelymurders.com
for a recently updated list.
All signed books, unless otherwise noted, are hardback, first edition titles in very good to fine condition. Prices do NOT include cost of shipping, which is via U.S.P.S.
Members of Portland Dine Around, Maine's premier dining/entertainment rewards program, enjoy a savings every time they shop at Mainely Murders.
Show your 2015 membership card and you're entitled to a special offer: buy two books and receive 50 percent off a third book of equal or lesser value.
Portland Dine Around--with over 300 affiliate partners from Rockport to Bethel, Portland, Kennebunk, and south--is valid through December, and still available here.
With success, our bookshelf space grows tighter. So, too, does parking for our customers.
You're welcome to park in the driveway. Street parking is available, as is space in the lot across Bourne Street.
While our next door neighbor, the Kennebunk, Kennebunkport, and Wells Water District, has been great about our customers parking in its lot, we know that spaces there are at a premium during the week. Feel free to park there on Saturdays.
Thank you for supporting Mainely Murders Bookstore and other small independent booksellers. At a time when you have other choices, 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)
|The Mainely Murders book bag is on the road (er, water) again--this time to Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands, with Karen Woodbury of Portland. |
Our gift cards are available in any amount. The perfect gift for birthdays, anniversaries, or "just because."
We're happy to take mail/phone orders and will send to you or directly to the recipient.
It's June and activity is picking up here at Mainely Murders.
Our local customers have fit us into their schedules,
The New Gloucester "Bookies"--Celia, Ann, Bonnie, Ellie, Liz, and Charlotte--recently stopped by for some book talk.
while trying to catch up with lawn and gardening chores after a very long winter. Summer residents, as well as visitors, have started arriving. And, book groups (like the New Gloucester
"Bookies," pictured here) have stopped in.
Our own spring book-buying trips (Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut) have added a couple thousand volumes to our
inventory--making it even more important to remind customers: "If you don't see it on our shelves, ask!"
As we announced in May, we're highlighting Maine crime writers this summer. Now through September 15, purchase any book (new or used, hardback or paper) by a Maine crime writer and you'll be entered into our Maine mystery writers contest. No restrictions on how often you can enter; one entry for each book purchased. The winner will be announced October 1.
And speaking of Maine writers, several have just released (or will in the next month) new books. Gerry Boyle's long-awaited Jack McMorrow #10 (Once Burned) is here, as is Barbara Ross' Maine Clambake Mystery #3 (Musseled Out). Among June releases is Paul Doiron's Mike Bowditch #6 (The Precipice).
Hope to see you soon.
Paula & Ann
Partners in Crime
Food, Drink, and Mysteries
Saturday, June 20
Join us all day Summer's Eve as we celebrate the beginning of another Maine summer.
Drop by anytime during the day for conversation and snacks and drinks appropriate to the hour.
Have some fresh artisanal bread from Kennebunk's wonderful new Boulangerie, French jam, and coffee; crackers and local cheeses, pastries from Boulangerie, and sodas, local beers, and wine.
Remembering Ruth Rendell
Ruth Rendell's death last month reminds us that we're without another of the great British mystery writers who brought serious recognition to a slighted genre. Rendell's death follows that of P.D. James' last year and Reginald Hill's in 2012.
Social consciousness. Psychological insight. Superb writing. And, thankfully, some really wonderful mysteries.
Rendell accomplished this in scores of books, starting with her first in 1964 featuring Sussex police inspector Reginald Wexford (From Doon to Death), a series with 25 books, and with an even greater number of stand-alone psychological thrillers (37). The 14 books she produced under the pen-name Barbara Vine were just as impressive.
Perhaps it's only natural that we're always looking for the "next great . . ." Indeed, we've already heard speculation about those some are destined to become the new Rendell (or James or Hill or . . . ) For now, we're content to continue to enjoy the originals. We hope others will continue to do so, too.
It's Summer (Almost) in Maine
Nothing says it's summer in Maine (albeit a short one) like lobsters, clams, and mussels--and we've got it covered. Thanks, that is, to Barbara Ross and her delightful (though deadly) Maine Clambake series.
Premiering in 2013 with Clammed Up and followed by Boiled Over (2014), the series is set in fictional Busman's Harbor, where Julia Snowden has returned home to run the Snowden Family Clambake Company. Musseled Out, book #3, was released last month.
If you're not already a fan--we couldn't get the first two quickly enough to satisfy demand--here's a super trifecta: The Maine Clambake Series gift basket. The wicker basket includes Clammed Up, Boiled Over, and Musseled Out (individually signed by Barb).
Summer hostess gift? A special Maine mystery memory for yourself?
Jack McMorrow Is Back: New & Old
If ever there was evidence of a "book God," it's appeared--in the form of Islandport Press.
Last year, the Yarmouth publisher announced it was preparing to re-issue Gerry Boyle's Jack McMorrow series, a longtime favorite of ours--both Gerry and Jack. So far, the first four (Deadline, Bloodline, Lifeline, and Potshot) have appeared.
Ever since we opened our doors, the McMorrow series has been among our biggest sellers.
But now, even better, Jack is back. After five years, McMorrow #10, Once Burned. We won't spoil it by giving away too much, but suffice it to say, it was worth the wait. Along with Jack, there's his wife Roxanne, daughter Sophie, and best friend Clair--and a lot of people we hope to never meet in a place we hope to never go, a town in Maine called Sanctuary.
William Cohen, Mystery Writer
Glance at our shelves of Maine mystery writers, and you might do a double take at one name. But, yes, it's him.
William S. Cohen--United States Congressman (Maine's 2nd District, 1973-1979), Maine's United States Senator (1979-1997), and Secretary of Defense (1997-2001)--is, indeed, a tried and true mystery writer.
The Bangor native's newest political thriller, Collision, is his sixth, and his first since Blink of an Eye in 2011. This one might be his most ambitious yet, and one that calls for every bit of his insider's knowledge.
When Sean Falcone, former National Security Adviser to the president, attacks a gunman during a mass killing at an elite Washington law firm and the second shooter flees with a laptop containing vital information about an asteroid being mined by an American billionaire and his secret Russian partner, he's plunged into a Washington mystery involving the White House, NASA, corrupt senators, an international crime lord, and the possible destruction of all humankind.
Previous books: The Double Man, One-Eyed Kings, Murder in the Senate, Dragon Fire, and Blink of an Eye.
He's a Real 'Ace'
People sometimes ask if we're surprised by the books customers buy. Not really; what does surprise us are the books (and authors) people don't buy.
Case in point: Ace Atkins. We both think he's a fantastic writer. No doubt he's done an admirable job of filling the too-big-to-fill shoes of Robert B. Parker and his Spencer series. (His fourth one, Robert B. Parker's Kickback was released last month.) But his own stories--virtually all set in his native South--have an almost lyrical quality to them. And, they're edgy and dark.
His best writing--and that which has drawn the most acclaim--is his five-book (so far!) series featuring Quinn Colson, a U.S. Army Ranger who returned home from Afghanistan to rural northeast Mississippi. His first two books in the series (The Ranger and The Lost Ones) were Edgar finalists (no higher praise), and those following--including The Redeemers, set for release next month--are equally good.
We have a theory why Atkins, a former Pulitzer Prize-nominated newspaper crime reporter, has so few followers among our customers. He's too Southern. Not just Southern, but one who writes about the not-so-nice/not-so-pretty rural backwater South--and that's a place where most of us don't want to go.
Atkins does go there--and unapologetically. He's found, like generations of his fellow-Southern writers, that those are the places with the best stories. In an interview he once said: "The Southern landscape offers a tremendous amount of organic soil, rich with history. You don't have to go very far to find ugly, sordid events. As a writer, that's what you really want to dig into."
If you haven't given Atkins a try, we suggest you do so. Then, we'll talk.
An Edgar for Stephen King
If you don't know if by now, Maine's own Stephen King can add another honor to his resume. Mr. Mercedes won the biggest Edgar award of all--the 2014 Best Novel.
We're happy to see King picking up the pace of his mystery output. Since 2012, he's offered up a thriller a year--actually, two in 2014 with Mr. Mercedes and Revival. His next, Finders Keepers, will be out tomorrow.
Don't Forget Dad
Mark your calendar: Sunday, June 21, is Father's Day.
If Dad's a mystery reader, think Mainely Murders. Last year's Father's Day bestseller was our special edition Murder at Fenway Park gift basket, with Troy Soos' classic baseball tale, along with a supply of peanuts and Cracker Jacks.
Our gift cards, available in any amount, are always a hit.
Counting Down to a Return to Three Pines
Armand Gamache and all his friends in Three Pines will be back in August with the release of Louise Penny's latest, The Nature of the Beast.
The author is the very first to admit--and we concur--that this is a series to be read in chronological order, starting with Still Life. If you're a fan--and many of us are!--make sure you're up to date with Armand, Clara, Ruth, Gabri, and the others in Three Pines.
All books are currently in stock: Still Life, Fatal Grace, The Cruelest Month, A Rule Against Murder, Brutal Telling, Bury Your Dead, A Trick of Light, A Beautiful Mystery, How The Light Gets In, and A Long Way Home.
A sampling of June releases. For a complete list, visit www.stopyourekillingme.com. All can be ordered from Mainely Murders.
Douglas Corleone, Robert Ludlum's The Janson Equation
Mary Daheim, Here Comes the Bribe [Bed-and-breakfast #30]
Paul Doiron, The Precipice [Mike Bowditch #6]
Carola Dunn. Superfluous Women [Daisy Dalrymple #22]
Janet Evanovich & Phoef Sutton, Wicked Charms [Lizzy and Diesel #3]
James Grippando, Cash Landing [Jack Swyteck #12]
Michael Harvey, The Governor's Wife [Michael Kelly #5]
David Housewright, Unidentified Woman #15 [Mac McKenzie #12]
Lisa Jackson, Never Die Alone [Bentz and Montoya #8]
Stephen King, Finders Keepers [NS]
Eleanor Kuhns, Death in Salem [Will Rees #4]
Al Lamanda, This Side of Midnight [John Bekker #3]
Elmore Leonard, Charlie Martz and Other Stories: The Unpublished Stories [SS]
Gayle Lynds, The Assassins [NS]
Stuart McBride, The Missing and the Dead [Logan McRae #9]
Brad Metzler, The President's Shadow [Culper Ring #3]
Mark Pryor, The Reluctant Matador [Hugo Marsden #5]
Maggie Sefton, Purl Up and Die [Kelly Flynn #13]
Daniel Silva, The English Spy [Gabriel Allon #15]
Brad Taylor, The Insider Threat [Pike Logan #8]
Ingrid Thoft, Brutality [Fina Ludlow #3]
Brad Thor, Code of Conduct [Scot Harvath #14]
Andrew Vachss, Signwave [Aftershock #3]
Note that four of these authors--Doiron, King, Lamanda, and Lynds--are Maine residents.
Our Customers Recommend
Helen Kitzman of New Haven, Connecticut, (and New Orleans) is not a big fan of winter; hence, the part-time New Orleans residency. Indeed, she says she's more than ready for summer, and is already dreaming . . .
It's time to pack the beach bag for a lovely summer at the beach, with water lapping at the toes and a cool lemonade at hand. Ah, I can see it all now, sun, lots of heat . . . Where's the suntan lotion? What to pack to read? Only lovely, delightful, frothy murder mysteries, preferably with only one very tasteful murder, witty characters, and maybe a splash of romance. What could be better?
Let's pack a Harlan Coben. Lots to choose here. I'm not a fan of the Myron Bolitar series although the dialogue is certainly clever. But baseball and sports? Not in this beach bag. Since 2000, Coben has moved into non-series suspense thrillers; I'll take one of those.
Laura Lippman, too. Forget her PI series with Tess Monaghan; it's become a bit overloaded with the PI's personal and family woes. I'll stick to Lippman's latest suspense thrillers, often focused on interwoven histories of families over the years.
Both Coben and Lippman write books perfect for the beach: a wronged narrator (usually "I") who is seeking to clear his/her name as the killer draws ever closer--a real page turner with plot mini-reveals at the end of each chapter. You can pack the latest or an earlier mystery--all are equally good. Selection is not really important, for there is no ongoing plot, thank heavens. How tiring to have to remember who did what to whom in an earlier book. Not at the beach, thank you very much!
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.