Identify the writer who, after beginning her career with historical romances, has found her greatest success authoring a now (as of last month) 21-book series featuring a midwife and policeman in New York City.
Send your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org (subject line: quiz). Winner will be randomly drawn from correct entries.
Congratulations to Frank Pacowski of Delmar, New York, who identified James Hayman's Mike McCabe as the ex-NYPD homicide officer who trades the Big Apple for life in Portland as a detective sergeant, partly to escape a dark past and partly to give his teenage daughter a life away from big-city violence.
Each month we note birthdays of some of the greats of mystery writing in hopes that you might choose to read (or re-read) one of their works.
, born June 4,
1955, in the Kingdom of Fife, Scotland, was a reporter and is the author of three mystery series, featuring Lindsay Gordon, Kate Brannigan, and Dr. Tony Hill/Carol Jordan. Great success came when the last was turned into the BBC TV show Wire in the Blood.
Sara Paretsky, who along with Sue Grafton and
Marcia Muller, is credited with revolutionizing
mysteries 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, an MWA Grand Master, was also instrumental in founding Sisters in Crime in 1986.
June 12, 1953, in San Diego, says she knew at a young age that she wanted to write stories like those in her favorite Nancy Drew books. But, first, she became a physician. Today, a perennial bestselling author with her Rizzoli and Isles mysteries, she resides here in
Dorothy L. Sayers, born June 13, 1893, was the creator of Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane. She died in 1957.
, born June
17, 1954, in Footscray, Australia, is a lawyer and writer of numerous novels, but it was her Phryne Fisher mysteries that brought her worldwide fame after the Australian TV show Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries
MWA Grand Master Lawrence Block
, born June 24, 1938, in Buffalo, New York, is 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. A Coffin for Dimitrios is often cited as one of the best all-time spy novels and features his typical amateur, inadvertent hero. A Mystery Writers of America Grand Master (1975), he died in 1998.
Some of you already do this, but just a reminder that there's something that you can do for other mystery readers--and it's free.
Forward them our newsletter. If they enjoy it and would like their very own free subscription, tell them to sign up by emailing us at email@example.com. We're pleased to have subscribers throughout the United States as well as many internationally.
Our gift cards are available in any amount. They're always the perfect gift for the holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, or "just because."
We're happy to take mail/phone orders and will send the card either to you or directly to the recipient.
Outdoor Sale Cabinet
We can't begin to fit our entire inventory on the shelves inside our shop. Solution: our outdoor sale cabinet filled with dozens of great reads--
including former bestsellers.
At only $3 each or $10 for four, the price can't be beat. Books are added daily. Whether you're looking for some new (to you) authors, eyeing some old favorites, or even stocking up your own bookshelves for summer guests, you'll have plenty from which to choose.
With success, our bookshelf space grows ever tighter. So, too, does parking for customers.
You're welcome to park in our driveway. Street parking is available, as is space in the lot across Bourne Street.
While our 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 after 3:30 p.m. or on Saturday.
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).
Remember, if you've taken your Mainely Murders bag on a trip, let us know. Send your photo (jpg) and details to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for supporting
Mainely Murders 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.
To Shop Local
* Spend $100 locally and $68 of that stays in your community. Spend the same $100 at a national chain; only $43 stays in your community.
* Local businesses create higher-paying jobs for your neighbors.
* More of your taxes are reinvested in your community.
* Buying local means less packaging, less transportation, and a smaller carbon footprint.
* Shopping in a local business district means less infrastructure, less maintenance, and more money to beautify your community.
* Local retailers are your friends and neighbors--support them and they'll support you.
* Local businesses donate to charities at more than twice the rate of national chains.
* More independents means more choice, more diversity, and a more unique community.
When the temperature soared to nearly 90 degrees
on last month's opening day, we took it as a sign: business will be hot at Mainely Murders in 2018.
If the glorious weather wasn't enough, there was the first-time visitor showing up with breakfast coffee cake from our favorite Boulangerie, a frequent customer arriving with news that he'd just signed a two-book publishing contract, and all those people who stopped by to welcome us back. ("The winters are very long when you're not here," said one mystery reader. Ann thinks our powers do not extend to shortening winters. Doubter.)
June is already looking good. New releases are planned by some of our favorite authors: Ann's Mick Herron and Stuart MacBride; Paula's Cara Black, Laurie R. King, and Martin Walker. And, as always, our stock of older titles is growing.
Hoping to see you soon.
Paula and Ann
Partners in Crime.
Secrets Await Readers
On This Maine Island
Maine author Lea Wait, a favorite here, has captured hoards of fans with her two series--the Antiques Prints and Mainely Needlepoint mysteries.
Writing under a new persona, Cornelia Kidd, she introduces a new Maine Murder series June 12 with the release of Death and a Pot of Chowder.
Maine's Quarry Island is a tight-knit community built on a foundation of family, tradition, and hard work. But even on this small island, there are secrets.
"A wicked good mystery brimming with family secrets, authentic characters, a rustic Maine island setting, and plenty of good food," says fellow Maine writer B.B. Haywood. "You can practically smell the salt air and taste the lobster rolls."
Traveling Book Bag
and Gen Marks
Massachusetts--the most enthusiastic of travelers--recently returned from "an AWESOME (their capital letters!) river cruise." Ah, "the tulips of Northern Holland," they said.
With their Mainely Murders bag always nearby on their travels, Harvey and Gen visited the Keukenhof Gardens, where seven million bulbs are planted each year.
Don't Forget Dad
Sunday, June 17, is Father's Day. We've got it on good authority that Dad is very likely a mystery reader. He says the newest book by his favorite author would be nice. But, just in case he can't wait that long, he suggests a gift card.
A Trip to Three Pines
Not every Louise Penny fan can travel to the Quebec settings of her best-selling series. But, that doesn't mean we can't all enjoy magical Three Pines.
See our special offerings inspired by Armand Gamache and his friends (and now-neighbors) of Three Pines.
How better to start the morning than with a Three Pines café-au-lait mug. It holds 12 ounces, is microwavable and dishwasher safe, and comes in two styles: Viva Gamache! and, from Ruth's book of poetry, I'm F.I.N.E. ($25.)
Louise Penny has provided a lovely perpetual calendar. Each page of this charming 5" by 17" calendar pictures the author, her home, or things that inspire her writing. ($22.)
Lastly, show your affection for Three Pines with a ¾" × ½" lapel pin in the shape of those iconic green trees with silver border. ($15.)
Back By Popular Demand
For those who can't resist the mysterious--why else would they be at Mainely Murders?--our popular grab bags are back.
Check out our selection of the colorful bags. Each ($5) contains three books from our stock, tied to a particular theme. Among our most popular: Passport to Murder (for the armchair traveler), Culinary Crimes (recipes can be deadly), Legal Eagles (courtroom drama), and Murder is Academic (our particular favorite). And we have been working to find new topics like Scotland Forever and An Irish Welcome.
Traveling Book Bag
Our customers like to see the world. Some, like Cheryl Wallace of Portland, do so without leaving the U.S.
While on a business trip at the Disney Yacht Club Resort, Cheryl checked out the different countries before visiting a few at Disney World.
What We're Reading
Following My Favorite Detectives:
Reading takes us to places we've never been. For me, that means inspiring me to travel to places that I first only read about in mysteries.
By the time Paris became our "winter home," the
city was already familiar to me via Cara Black's
Aimee Leduc series. Thanks to Donna Leon
, I could have captained the vaporetto down the Grand Canal in Venice, so thoroughly was I steeped in that city before our first trip there.
This winter my enjoyment of the Jean-Luc Bannalec's books--Death in Pont-Aven (aka Death in Brittany) and Murder on Brittany Shores--fed my desire to visit Brittany. Before we'd even departed from home, I'd checked out train schedules and hotel availability.
We journeyed four hours from Paris to Quimper for an all-too-brief exploration of the region. (We're already making plans to return.)
In Bannalec's books, when Commissaire Georges Dupin is relocated from his beloved Paris to rural Brittany--and a posting in the small town of Concarneau--he's convinced he's been relegated to the edge of the world. (Indeed, Concarneau is in the department of Finistere, i.e., end of the earth.)
Always one to head out in search of my favorite fictional detectives, I was off to Concarneau, accompanied, of course, by Ann, who's become accustomed to my "whims" (as I to hers).
Just as Commissaire Dupin comes to appreciate and love this tiny quarter of northwest France,
I, too, was smitten. Indeed, soon after arriving back home, I was able to immerse myself in Bannalec's
just-released third Brittany title, The Fleur de Sel Murders.
Do yourself a favor. If you haven't already been introduced to this engaging series, start now. While I suggest you start with the earlier books, No. 3 pretty much guarantees another real-life visit for us to Finistere.
Cornwall: Romantic and Deadly:
Actually, I've never been to Cornwall, despite family rumors that Whetstone is a Cornish name. (My thought is we sharpened knives and such or once lived in Whetstone.) Still, it's a romantic thought.
Cornwall is, in fact, a romantic setting with its stark and often dangerous beauty, and consequently an increasingly popular setting for mysteries. While classic authors like Agatha Christie, with the imaginatively titled short story "The Cornish Mystery," and John Bude, whose first mystery was The Cornish Coast Murder, occasionally mentioned Cornwall, others through the years have based series on a Cornish setting.
The most well-known series is Rebecca Tope's
16 Theo Osborne Cornish house-sitter mysteries. Obviously Theo is the house-sitter from hell who spreads death all over Cornwall. It isn't her fault, of course, and she does kind of help solve the mystery, but still . . .
Janie Bolito's seven-book Rose Trevelyan series (cut short by the author's early death) is also popular though only ever published in Britain, thus relatively hard to find in the U.S. An artist living in Cornwall, Rose's curiosity has a tendency to complicate her quiet life. Again, would you want to be her neighbor?
Sister Joan, a nun in a semi-
enclosed Catholic order in Cornwall, stars in 11 tales. Sister Joan's immediate neighbors in her Cornish convent have little choice about moving away, but at least the neighbors of the convent get some help in having their murders solved. (Sister Joan often has some help from a local policeman.)
In fact, the more traditional solvers of murders, the police, figure in two series. John Harvey's Frank Elder series recently got a fourth (and last) title featuring this ex-cop who has retired to Cornwall. Olive Etchells has three books on DCI Bill Channon, who like Frank Elder, has been softened by his own tragedies.
Historical Cornwall features in one of Deryn Lake's
excellent 18th-century stores featuring Apothecary
John Rawlings. In Death and the Cornish Fiddler
Rawlings goes to Cornwall to attend a folk festival, during which a child disappears. On a lighter and more recent note Joanna Challis has three books starring sleuth Daphne du Maurier in the 1920s before she became famous for her Cornish novels. Carola Dunn approaches today with her four books about the inquisitive Eleanor Trewynn, who upon her retirement from an international charity set up a charity shop (no gossip there) in the 1960s. Almost immediately, a body appears--to be followed by more bodies.
So when you're planning your trip to Cornwall, you might want to read some of these books to determine what particular dangers you might find. It's not really a very large place to have so many murders.
Visitors to Mainely Murders know at a glance that we're about fictional crime. But, still a few people ask, "Where's your true crime section?"
Hence, the small section we've added, mostly hard cover or trade paper New England or historical studies.
Much of the interest we've noted in true crime has been generated by My Favorite Murder (www.myfavoritemurder.com), a podcast The Washington Post has called, "empathetic and profane, a cheerful, chatty vehicle for cautionary tales of death and dismemberment."
Last year, listeners to the podcast hosted by California creators Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff began arriving here and promptly educated us about the program downloaded by millions. They said we'd received favorable mention on the series' Facebook page. (Not being on Facebook, we'd missed that.)
This year's first podcast fan was Samantha Brown from Farmington, New Hampshire, and she filled us in. "I heard about Mainely Murders on the My Favorite Murder Facebook group.
It's been a goal of mine to visit you ever since."
Samantha isn't surprised that women far outnumber men among true crime fans. "I think it might have something to do with the fact that most crimes are perpetrated by men and many victims are women."
Her own interest is the psychology of true crime. "I have a fascination with the why. Why do people commit crimes?" By pursuing a forensic psychology degree, she says she hopes to find out.
Mark Billingham, The Killing Habit [Tom Thorne #15]
Cara Black, Murder on the Left Bank [Aimee Leduc #18]
Clive Cussler and Robin Burcell, The Gray Ghost [Sam & Remi Fargo #10]
Mary Daheim, A Case of Bier [Bed & Breakfast #31]
Linda Greenlaw, Bimini Twist, [Jane Bunker #4]
Mick Herron, London Rules [Slough House #5]
David Housewright, Like to Die [Rushmore McKenzie #15]
Cornelia Kidd, Death and a Pot of Chowder [Maine Murder #1]
Laurie R. King, Island of the Mad [Mary Russell #15]
Stuart McBride, The Blood Road [Logan McRae #11]
Martin Walker, A Taste of Vengeance [Bruno, Chief of Police #11]
Stuart Woods, Turbulence [Stone Barrington #46]