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

See you in the Spring!

Newsletter:   March 2015


                            
In This Issue

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Newsletter Archives
Previous issues can be
 viewed on our 

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MONTHLY QUIZ

Name the author of whimsical "who-dun-its" who was best known for two popular series--one featuring a college botany professor and his colleagues at a fictitious Massachusetts agricultural college and the other about an art critic and his socially connected wife (and her family) in Boston.

 

E-mail your answer to info@mainelymurders.com (subject line: monthly quiz). The winner, randomly drawn from correct respondents, will receive a $25 Mainely Murders gift card.


 
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Happy March

 Birthdays

 

Mickey Spillane, creator of the PI Mike Hammer series, was born March 9, 1918, in Brooklyn. Designated a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America in 1996, he died in 2006.

 

Elizabeth Linington--who also wrote under the name of Dell Shannon and Lesley Egan, among others--was born March 11, 1921, in Aurora, Illinois. Several times an Edgar finalist, she died in 1988.

 

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Signed Editions 

 

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 our website (www/mainelymurders.com)  for a complete 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.

 

Whether it's a favorite author of your own or you just want to delight a friend or relative with a signed edition from his or her favorite, signed books make a great addition to a reader's collection.

 

 

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Thank you!

 

Thank you for supporting Mainely Murders Bookstore and other small independent booksellers. At a time when you have other choicesyou'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

 

 

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Show Your 

Mysterious Side

 

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)

 

 

  

Gift Cards

 

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.

 

 

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Bonjour,

 

While our friends back home have suffered through what we hear has been a dreadful winter, we're haivng a wonderful stay here in Paris.

 

While our routine of market visits, daily tarte selection, walks in various neighborhoods, bookstores, lunches out, and concerts at the American Church absorbs a fair amount of time, we've taken some fun tours of places like Roland Garros (think French Open tennis) and old iron markets in the Les Halles area, and gone to the excellent Magnum exposition of Paris pictures at l'Hotel de Ville (not a hostelry, but the Paris City Hall), and visited the Paris Police museum (best know some French) and the Rodin Museum, which we must always visit to see Ann's favorite statue (after David), the Burgers of Calais leaving the city to surrender with the ropes around their necks, ready to be hanged. Left to go for sure are the Musee D'Orsay, which never gets old; the Louvre, which we missed last year; and the Picasso Museum, which is finally open again after undergoing a multi-year renovation

 

We've just returned from a week in the most beautiful of Spanish cities, Barcelona. More about that next month.

 

But the books...

 

We've certainly added to our knowledge and stock of French mystery authors, at least those translated or written by English speakers. And, we've had great insight into which American writers (French translations) have captured fans here. In truth, the biggest sellers in the U.S. and Canada are the most visible here. (Think the bookshelves at any airport.) More noir authors like Elmore Leonard are pretty popular, but the most popular, at the moment, are Michael Connelly and Harlan Coben.

 

One mystery type that doesn't translate (no pun intended) over here are modern-day "cozies," which isn't too surprising, given that French readers tend to think genre literature, in general, is a bit frivolous. Indeed, we were told by more than one bookseller that the American mysteries that sell best "are those that aren't too difficult"--short sentences, brief paragraphs, with minimal narrative.


Vacations (even working ones) are synonymous with reading, and we've been doing a lot of that. Below, we've offered up a few French-themed books. By the way, a big shout out to the American Library in Paris (www.americanlibraryinParis.com). We joined when we first arrived, and have taken advantage of its nice mystery, magazine, and newspaper selection and pleasant space for reading. Like our apartment, it is within a couple blocks of the Eiffel Tower.

 

Now that it's March, can spring be far off? (Keeping in mind that we live in Maine.) Still, late this month, we'll leave Paris and head for home. Time for our (blood) red doors to open for our fifth year in late April.

 

Our April newsletter will announce our opening date. In the meantime, we've got only three more weeks here in Paris. So much to see and do, meals to eat, books to find, but so little time. 

 

Au Revoir,

 

Paula & Ann

Partners in Crime 


 

    
 

While in Paris we have been

eyeing new book delivery vehicles.

 

Test Your Mystery Knowledge

 

Spring is just around the corner, time to clear out those wintertime mental cobwebs. How many of the following authors (in the left column) can you match with the pen names (in the right column) they've sometimes used--without checking online?

 


 

See answers below.
 

 

What We're Reading

 

Claude Izner (Paula)

 

Sitting here in our apartment on the Left Bank,  I have to remind myself that it's Paris, 2015, not the Paris of Claude Izner's wonderful series depicting the turn-of-the-century City of Light.

 

I started with the first, Murder on the Eiffel Tower. "The brand new shiny Eiffel Tower is the pride and joy of the 1889 World Exposition. But one sunny afternoon, as visitors are crowding the viewing platforms, a woman collapses and dies on this great Paris landmark. . ."

 

Izner's colorful descriptions make me feel like I'm there. Well, I am, give or take 126 years. Our apartment here in Paris is literally in the shadow of the grand tower, only a block away.

 

The books--so far, six have been translated into English--follow the exploits of Victor Legris, a late 19th century bookseller, who happens to be there on the tower the day of the woman's death. Appalled by the newspaper coverage of the incident, he's determined to find out what really happened.

 

The Disappearance at Pere-Lachaise--book No. 2 featuring the famous burial ground--is just as evocative of the period. (Two blocks from our apartment I can catch the #69 bus and be there in 30 minutes, albeit a century late.)

 

The other titles that make up the series--The
Montmartre Investigation
, The Assassin in the Marais, In the Shadow of Paris, and Strangled in Paris--are equally fascinating and fun reads. Several more await translation.

 

I should point out that Izner is actually the pseudonym of two sisters, Liliane Korb and Laurence Lefévre, both experts on 19-century Paris and secondhand booksellers on the banks of the Seine. 


Cara Black (Paula)


 
What Izner's historical series does--evoking the spirit of late19-century City of Light--Cara Black does in spades for contemporary Paris.

 

Black has shepherded readers through the avenues (not to mention back streets and alleys) of Paris since introducing PI Aimee Leduc in Murder in the Marais (1999).  Book No. 15, Murder on the Champs de Mars, comes out this month.

 

Paris is no ordinary city. Aimee Leduc is no ordinary PI. She's young, stylish, gutsy, fearless, with a weakness for bad boys--in short, a danger-seeking missile. Daughter of a police detective killed on the job, she knows the danger; hence, her ever-present resolve to stick to high-tech, non-criminal investigations.

 

Still, more often than not, Aimee finds herself digging up wartime secrets, investigating illegal immigration, unmasking corrupt government officials, tracking down dirty police, or penetrating a terrorist cell.

 

From the beginning, Black's series has had a gritty, edgy feel, taking the reader to the darkest places in the City of Light.

 

Peter May (Ann)

 

Best known for his popular Lewis Trilogy starring Fin Macleod, one of his earlier series features Enzo Macleod, a French forensic science professor and Scotsman/Italian determined to solve seven French unsolved and presumably unsolvable murders. (His quest, in fact, is the result of a bet with a friend.)

 

This Macleod is not especially humble, and he generally fails to endear himself to those in authority. But he is funny, and often kind.

 

With the first five books recently reissued in Britain and the sixth and final book in progress, it is now possible to find the books without spending a fortune and enjoy our hero's journey through various parts of France.

 

In the first, Extraordinary People/Dry Bones, and third, Blacklight Blue, he starts and ends in Paris after visits to the countryside. In The Critic/A Vintage Murder (second), the death of a powerful wine reviewer takes Enzo into the countryside as does Blowback (fifth), about the death of a famed French restaurateur. Freeze Frame (fourth) is set on an island off the coast of Brittany.

 

In no case do very many people want the case solved, rather the reverse. And the attempted murders are quite inventive, as in being run over by an automated grape picker. Still, while Enzo is older, he's not quite ready to go. And he does want to solve these cases.

 

A fun series with a complex hero. 

 

Allan Massie (Ann)

 

The actions of French officials under German occupation remain controversial to this day. Is an official carrying out his duties a collaborator or a loyal Frenchman, trying as best he can to serve his fellow citizens? It's this question that's the focus of the four books of Massie's Bordeaux series starring police Superintendent Lannes.

 

Massie, like his compatriot John Banville, is primarily a "serious" novelist who came to mysteries late in his career. But a policeman is certainly an effective vehicle for studying duty, especially a policeman with two sons of military age and friends across ethnic/religious lines, and the tendency of policeman heroes to ignore instructions from above.

 

In Death in Bordeaux, the first book, the rapid collapse of French defenses leaves many French adrift, wondering what happened and who is to blame. Bordeaux, like Paris, is occupied by the Germans, though most administrative duties, including policing, are left in the hands of the French. But not without interference, of course. So when Lannes looks into the death of a homosexual and then is warned off, he begins to think there's more than a sex crime here.

 

In the next three books the settings of the crimes are used to illustrate different stages of the occupation and of the resistance. It's a really masterful job of bringing to life a difficult time in French history. Highly recommended (for a certain segment of our readers).

 

Brief Notes (Ann)

           

While on the topic of France in the 20th century, it's worth mentioning Paul Grossman's series featuring Willi Kraus, a war hero and famous Berlin detective, who by 1933 is forced to escape Germany and become a refugee in Paris. While it's better being Jewish in Paris than in Berlin, being a refugee without the right of domicile means there's no way for Willi to work legally. So he does so illegally and gets drawn ever deeper into a world he can't really understand. Be warned: The French here are remarkably untrustworthy, but their food is very, very good. And it's fun to travel around Paris with Willi, especially after he develops a phobia about the Metro.

 

 

 

The Maine Crime Wave

 

Heads up for readers who think they might want to be writers.

 

If you think you've got the stuff to be one, consider attending the Maine Crime Wave, Saturday, April 11, at the Glickman Library at the University of Southern Maine in Portland. The daylong conference, sponsored by the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance, will include panel discussions, theme-specific workshops, manuscript critiques, and book-signings.

 

Some of our favorite authors--Gerry Boyle, Paul Doiron, Kate Flora, Kaitlyn Dunnett/Kathy Lynn Emerson--are scheduled to take part.

 

Details about the conference, including cost, registration, and schedule, are available at www.mainewriters.org.

 

 

New Releases

  

A sampling of March releases. For a complete list, visit www.stopyourekillingme.com.

Steve BerryThe Patriot Threat [Cotton Malone #10]

Cara BlackMurder on the Champ de Mars [Aimee Leduc #15]
Rhys BowenThe Edge of Dreams [Molly Murphy #14]
C.J. BoxEndangered [Joe Pickett #15]
Simon BrettThe Tomb of Turkey [Fethering #16]
Harlan CobenThe Stranger
Clive Cussler & Justin ScottThe Assassin [Isaac Bell #8]
Kathy Lynn EmersonMurder in the Queen's Wardrobe [Elizabethan #1]
Janet Evanovich & Phoef SuttonWicked Charms [Lizzy & Diesel #3]
Susanna GregoryThe Cheapside Corpse [Thomas Chaloner #10]

Rebecca M. HaleHow to Catch a Cat [Cats and Curios #6]

Cynthia Harrod-EaglesStar Fall [Bill Slider #17]

Mons Kallentoft, Spring Remains [Malin Fors #4]

Owen LaukanenThe Stolen Ones (Kirk Stevens & Carla Windermere #4]
David MorrellInspector of the Dead [Thomas DeQuincey #2]
Barbara NadelLand of the Blind [Inspector Ikmen #17]
James Patterson & Marshall KarpNYPD Red 3 [Zach Jordan & Kylie MacDonald #3] 
Michael PearceThe Mouth of the Crocodile [Mamur Zapt #18]
Anne PerryThe Angel Court Affair [Thomas & Charlotte Pitt #30]
Cynthia RiggsPoison Ivy [Martha's Vineyard #11]
Michael RobothamLife or Death
Clea SimonKittens Can Kill [Pru Marlowe #5]
Olen SteinhauerAll the Old Knives
Rebecca TopeRevenge in the Cotswolds [Thea Osborne #13]
Randy Wayne WhiteCuba Straits [Doc Ford #22]
Jacqueline Winspear, A Dangerous Place [Maise Dobbs #11]

 

 

Answers to Test Your Mystery Knowledge:


 

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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