News from Mainely Murders Bookstore
From: Mainely Murders Bookstore <>
Subject: News from Mainely Murders Bookstore
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1 Bourne Street, Kennebunk, ME 04043
(207) 985-8706

Reopening in April 2014

Newsletter:  March 2014
In This Issue
Our Best Sellers
Coming Soon
If Only We Had More....



Newsletter Archives:
Previous issues can be
 viewed on our 



Now that you've watched all the mystery video series listed in the last newsletter, can you list the authors whose books provided the basis for the following series:



Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries;

Murder Most English;

Annika Bengtzon;

George Gently


Email your answers to 

(subject line: monthly quiz). The winner, randomly drawn from correct answers, will receive a $25 Mainely

Murders gift card.




Happy March



Mickey Spillanecreator of the popular PI Mike Hammer series, was born March 9, 1918, in Brooklyn. Spillane created some great dialogue for his hero. In his very first book he shoots his lover in the stomach and watches her die. When she asks, "How could you?" his answer is a brief, "It was easy."


Also from the classics shelf, Elizabeth Linington, born March 11, 1921, in Aurora, Illinois. While she wrote under her own name about the Wilcox Avenue Police Station in Hollywood, she is best known by her pseudonym Dell Shannon as the creator of Lt. Luis Mendoza of the LAPD. Three of her early books were Edgar finalists.





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.



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 logo. ($7)









. . . from Paris, of course.        


It's still three weeks until it's officially springtime in Paris, but rest assured the City of Light has much to offer no matter when you visit. Don't get us started on the museums, churches, neighborhoods, restaurants . . . .


For the bibliophile, Paris is a delight. It's still a city where small, independent bookstores flourish. In recent years, some of the better-known English-language used bookstores--including Village Voice, Tea and Tattered Pages, The Red Wheelbarrow--have disappeared. Fortunately, Shakespeare and Company, the Left Bank favorite of most English speaking visitors, as well as Galignani, on Rue de Rivoli, billed as the oldest English-language bookshop on the Continent, remain. Many local shops also carry a smattering of English titles.


When it comes to mystery and detective fiction, Paris, alas, has no equivalent to Mainely Murders. (We are, however, open to offers.) 

French translations of most of the big-name American and British writers, both contemporary and classics, as well as the most popular Scandinavians fill the shelves of what are called policier. As for the French tradition of mystery writing--think George Simenon, in reality a Belgian, creator of the Inspector Maigret series--we see little that rivals the output of other countries. However, we scan the shelves for names we hope someday soon will receive attention from translators.


Any look at the Paris literary tradition would be incomplete without visiting the iconic green bookstalls (bouquinestes) that have lined the banks of the Seine since the time of the Renaissance. Truthfully, we've never made any great discoveries there, but that hasn't stopped us "shopping" the sidewalk emporiums. (In recent years, some of the dealers have made postcards and souvenirs a staple of their wares. But thankfully, for those of us who can't imagine Paris without them, the bouquinestes are required to limit space of non-book merchandise to only a fraction of that of books.)


Outside our window, from which we gaze at the Eiffel Tower less than two blocks away, another day in Paris awaits.


Au revoir,


Paula & Ann

Partners in Crime



Our Best Sellers


Rarely does a week go by that we don't hear the question, "What are your best sellers?" For a shop like Mainely Murders that specializes in used books, we interpret that as meaning our best-selling authors.


Our crystal ball hasn't yet told us who will lead the sales figures in 2014, but here's a breakdown of our top-selling authors for 2013.




Many, if not all, of the writers in the American category are formally listed as "fiction" in bookstores and libraries. Somehow, most popular mystery writers become "novelists" when they get a huge following. Guess they've become better writers . . .  


In any case, they sell, often like mad. All have very popular series characters (in the case of Patterson more than one). Indeed, only Harlan Coben and James Patterson produce many non-series books.


*  Lee Child

*  Harlan Coben

*  Vince Flynn

*  James Patterson

*  Louise Penny 

*  Kathy Reichs

*  Daniel Silva


American Classics


American classics may not be as popular as British, but they are consistent sellers for us. Most of those on our list fall into the PI category, America's biggest contribution to the mystery genre.


*  Dashiell Hammett

*  John D. Macdonald

*  Robert B. Parker

*  Richard Stark/Donald Westlake

*  Rex Stout


Only the Stark books represent America's darker 

contribution, noir. While Stark is not on the level of Jim Thompson, Cornell Woolrich, James M. Cain, and the like, at least his books have been reprinted enough to be moderately plentiful. Because the dark, some would say twisted, aspect of these books is not to everyone's taste, noirs are often hard to find.




Some wonderful mystery writers call Maine home, and we sell a lot of them. After all, we are Mainely Murders! During the summer months, many a vacationer or visitor heads directly to that section, in search of a "good old-fashion Maine murder." In 2013, our top-selling Maine authors were:


*  Gerry Boyle

*  Paul Doiron

*  Tess Gerritsen

*  Sarah Graves

*  David Rosenfelt


In addition to these five current authors, two others topped last year's list: the late Dutch writer Janwillem van de Wetering, who spent much of his life in Maine and who set two of his Amsterdam police procedurals here; and J.S. Borthwick (b. 1923), who has not had an addition to her 13-book Sarah Deane/Alex McKenzie series since 2007.


New England


Regional (non-Maine) writers are also popular among our customers. Last year, the top sellers were:


*  Dennis Lehane

*  Archer Mayer

*  Katherine Hall Page


Completing our top five were Jane Langton

(b. 1922), whose 18th book in her series featuring ex-cop/Harvard professor Homer Kelly, was published in 2005; and the late Philip Craig, who penned more than 20 titles starring J.W. Jackson, an ex-Boston cop on Martha's Vineyard.




The "Brits" ruled last year--among both contemporary and classic/classic-style authors. And, they took us all over the map.




Our top British writers in this category share one thing: a very strong sense of place. Each has a wonderful ability to transport the reader to a very specific location. For those of us who have visited these places, it's like going home.


*  Kate Atkinson (Edinburgh)

*  Tana French (Dublin)

*  Elly Griffiths (Norfolk)

*  P.D. James (London)

*  Peter Lovesey (London, Bath, West Sussex)

*  Ruth Rendell (Sussex and more)


British Classic Style


Day in and day out, British books sell. British classics sell exceptionally well. Sometimes the sales are due to our recommendations (Josephine Tey comes to mind here), but most often customers simply want to return to old favorites or fill in blanks in their own collection or their local library's.


It helps, of course, that these books are clever, well-written, and often funny. And except for Tey, there are lots of them. Lots to hunt for, lots to look forward to. And through TV and movies, it's a familiar world. No longer real perhaps, but familiar. 


*   Catherine Aird

*   Margery Allingham

*   Robert Barnard

*   Agatha Christie

*   Reginald Hill

*   Patricia Moyes

*   Josephine Tey



European (Non-Nordic) and Asian


Our biggest sellers in this (somewhat strange) category beg the question: "Customers really do listen to Paula's recommendations?" Our top sellers were her "2013 favorites" pick and all evince a very strong sense of place: 


*  Cara Black (Paris)

*  Andrea Camilleri (Sicily)

*  Donna Leon (Venice)

*  Martin Walker (rural France)

*  Oiu Xiaolong (Shanghai)



Ann asks: "Can anyone see what I have to deal with?"




English mysteries in translation have always been popular in Nordic countries, so it's only fair that now Nordic mysteries in translation should be so popular in English-speaking countries. This despite the fact that the crime rate is significantly lower than either Britain or the U.S.


The picture of Nordic life is perhaps not as idealized or demonized as that in the American press. In the Scandinavia of mysteries, the inadequate integration of immigrants is often a key feature in the story as is its sometimes dark political past. And, of course, bodies litter the landscape--as they so seldom do in real life.


*  Anne Holt

*  Arnaldur Indridason

*  Camilla Lackberg

*  Henning Mankell

*  Jo Nesbo

*  Helene Tursten




Cozies, the gentler side of the mystery genre, are enormously popular. From Victorian housekeepers to innkeepers, to cantankerous spinsters, these amateur detectives can be witty and clever.  Our biggest sellers last year:


*  Emily Brightwell

*  Laura Childs

*  Carola Dunn

*  Hazel Holt

*  Kate Kingsbury

*  Leslie Meier

*  Ann Purser


The strength of these books is that crimes are not gory or ugly. They let you escape from the everyday world most of us inhabit. Nice people win and bad people lose. It's an excellent vision.




By and large the really popular historical series Alan Furst cover the Victorian era to the present, often with a focus on wars and the impact of wars on those who survived. The exceptions, Tremayne and Jecks, feature respectively a 7th-century Irish lawgiving sister and a 14th-century Knight Templar who returns to England on the extermination of his order.


*  Alan Furst

*  Michael Jecks

*  Philip Kerr

*  Anne Perry

*  Charles Todd

*  Peter Tremayne


The historical accuracy of these books is of a pretty high order. (That matters to Dr. Ann, Ph.D in history.) Jecks in particular is very well regarded. Furst is very strong--and gives a brilliant picture of the interwar period in particular. But, of course, the real issue is the mysteries, and they are good.     





Coming Soon


As mystery readers, we're always looking ahead to the latest books by our favorite authors. The following are upcoming releases by some Mainely Murders favorites. Find more at


March Releases


Murder at Pigalle, Cara Black (Aimee Leduc #14)

Stone Cold, C.J. Box (Joe Pickett #24)

Steeped in Evil, Laura Childs (Tea Shop #15)

The Outcast Dead, Elly Griffiths (Ruth Galloway #6)

Death on Blackheath, Anne Perry (Thomas and Charlotte Pitt #29)

Children of the Revolution, Peter Robinson (Inspector Banks #21)

Bone Deep, Randy Wayne White (Doc Ford #21)


April Releases


Death Comes Quickly, Susan Wittig Albert (China Bayles #22)

Aunt Dimity and the Wishing Well, Nancy Atherton (Aunt Dimity #19)

Destroyer Angel, Nevada Barr (Anna Pigeon #18)

The Wolf in Winter, John Connolly (Charlie Parker #12)

By Its Cover, Donna Leon (Guido Brunetti #23)




If Only We Had More....


A three-month break gives us lots of time to think about the books we sell, the books we'd like to sell, and those books, alas, that are just so very hard to obtain.


We know we could sell a lot of books we like personally--if only we could find more. Sometimes they are classic books by authors like Christianna Brand and Richard Stark; other authors are simply not so well known, authors like Mari Jungstedt, Caro Ramsay, and Marco Vichi.


Sometimes the book shortage is due to passage of time. Christianna Brand has been dead for almost 30 years and reprints of her books are few. Mari Jungstedt and Marco Vichi are not often published in translation in America. Caro Ramsay just never quite caught on, perhaps because her books are dark and complex. But if we had more . . .


That being said, we thought you might like to know some of the authors always on our "shopping list," whether in Europe or back home.  


*  Michael David Anthony 

*  Christianna Brand

*  Margaret Coel

*  Elly Griffiths

*  Mari Jungstedt

*  Mark Pryor

*  Caro Ramsay

*  Richard Stark (Donald Westlake)

*  Marco Vichi

*  Martin Walker




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