Congratulations to Suzanne Tamiesie of Lake Oswego, Oregon, who identified Sue Grafton's Kinsey Milhone--most recently Y is for Yesterday--as the California PI whose favorite work-day meals include a peanut-butter-and-pickle sandwich (at home) and Quarter Pounder with cheese, fries and Coke (on the road).
Suzanne writes, "Thanks for your great newsletter. I can enjoy Maine vicariously thanks to you."
Our readers/customers clearly know the eating tastes of Kinsey, the star of Grafton's best-selling alphabet mysteries since A is for Alibi appeared in 1981. Last month's quiz received the largest number of entries of any of our seven years of monthly contests.
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.
Anna Katherine Green
author of The Leavenworth Case
(1878), was born November 11, 1845. This classic novel, among the very first mysteries written by a woman, featured Ebenezer Gryce, a New York City police detective. She died in 1935.
, born November 24, 1900, in Boston, created one of the most famous clerical detectives, Rabbi David Small. His first book in the series, Friday The Rabbi Slept Late
(1964), won the Edgar for Best First Novel. He died in 1996.
John Dickson Carr, who also
wrote under the pseudonym Carter Dickson
was born November 30, 1906, in Pennsylvania
Best known for his locked-room mysteries, he was honored as a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America in 1963. He died in 1977.
Some of you already do this, but just a reminder that there's something you can do for mystery-loving friends--and it's absolutely free. Forward them our newsletter. And, if they enjoy it and would like their very own free subscription, tell them to sign up.
We're pleased to say that we have subscribers throughout the United States as well as many internationally.
We know there's plenty of cold, wet, icy weather ahead, but our waterproof outside sale cabinet will remain stocked (and re-stocked) during the weeks ahead.
Looking ahead to winter reading--whether you want to spend it with old favorites or, perhaps, meeting up with new (to you) authors--you'll find plenty to choose from here. All books are still $3 each or $10 for four.
With success, our bookshelf space grows 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 until 3:30. Feel free to park there on Saturday.
We like to think that Mainely Murders has an international flair--be it the authors and titles we carry or the customers we meet.
That said, we accept other modes of cash payment: the euro and the British pound (at prevailing exchange rates).
We hope it's a convenience for customers from Great Britain and Europe, or, more likely, our American customers who return from vacation with a pocket or wallet filled with "odd" currency.
We regret that our currency exchange is limited. As always, we accept the Canadian dollar from our northern friends.
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 email@example.com
Our gift cards are available in any amount. The perfect gift for the holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, or "just because."
We're happy to take mail/phone orders and will send to you or directly to the recipient.
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.
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 our 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.
As you read this, we're on our annual two-week hiatus in search of food, fun, and, if we're very lucky, a whole lot of new stock for the shop when we re-open on November 8.
We started off in Paula's favorite town--where many of our customers want to live but everyone knows doesn't exist: Three Pines. Well, except in the books by Louise Penny. We visited here last fall, too, but still haven't seen Armand Gamache or any other residents. But, we (okay, Paula) thoroughly expect to every time we turn a corner in the hamlets of Quebec's Eastern Township.
We have, of course, visited the bookstore that inspired Myrna's bookstore; the bistro that inspired Olivier and Gabri's; eaten the duck (with apologies to Ruth) for which the region is famous; and revisited the monastery and sampled its cheeses again.
But, lest anyone dare think that we've taken our eyes off the prize--more books for our customers back home--don't despair. We're now back on the search wandering the roads of Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, and Connecticut.
Attractive little not-to-be-missed restaurants, eateries, and pubs clearly outnumber the bookstores. But, we persevere.
We'll be home soon.
Paula and Ann
Partners in Crime
P.S. Upon returning from our little trip, we'll be eager to get back into bookseller mode. What better time than this month? So, throughout November, we're offering free shipping on all mail orders within the Continental U.S. Think holiday shopping or your own winter reading!
We've long suspected it, and customer input seems to agree. Many of us adopt a different style when it comes to winter reading.
Carole Anne Olson of Southwick, Massachusetts, writes: I was very interested in your readers' comments about how their reading tastes change in the winter. Mine do too. I love to snuggle in by the wood stove and read longer novels or series or trilogies because there is more time to really get into their stories. As always, I love mysteries set in any part of New England or the East Coast.
Bob Ryan of Worcester, Massachusetts, says his winter reading changes in two ways: I read more because there are no baseball games to distract me and my favorite reading spot changes from a rocker on the front porch to a La-Z-Boy in my library.
Our Mainely Murders book bag loves to travel.
Thanks to Karen Plattes
and Maureen Schnellmann
of Kennebunk, who recently visited "Bruno country" of Southwestern France.
"We missed Bruno and Isabelle, but saw many wonderful places in Perigeaux, Sarlat, and throughout the Dordogne," they wrote. "Luckily no dead bodies!"
At Bouchercon 2017
The world of crime fiction holds a number of conferences each year, but Bouchercon is considered by many the "biggest of the big."
The World Mystery Convention, held last month in Toronto, honors the late Anthony Boucher, the distinguished mystery fiction critic, editor, and author. It brings together readers, writers, publishers, editors, agents, booksellers, and other lovers of crime fiction for four days of education, entertainment, and fun!
Our "Special Correspondent" Bruce Coffin was one of the Maine authors in attendance. While we asked Bruce to be there as our "eyes and ears" on the mystery world, we couldn't help but notice that the ex-Portland police-detective-turned-mystery-writer gravitated to fellow law enforcement officers.
What We're Reading
John Connolly's Charlie Parker [Paula]
My interest in the supernatural is minimal. Why is it then that I can't wait to get my hands on each book in John Connolly's Charlie Parker series--the most recent, A Game of Ghosts?
Connolly, the Irishman who came by his Maine connection (Portland and its environs plays a part in nearly every book) quite honestly when he lived here back in the day. Parker, his iconic hero, is a native.
Connolly has been credited with virtually inventing the supernatural noir of today. I don't know about that; I don't read that stuff. But, I do read Connolly. And, he defines for me the grab-you-by-the-throat writer who keeps you coming back for more.
Early on--I started at the beginning with his 1999 series debut, Every Dead Thing--I don't recall the paranormal aspect. I was pulled in by the story of this ex-NYC cop bent on revenging the murders of his wife and child. But, with each title Connolly has blended the thriller and the supernatural with a touch that befits a writer of his stature. And, he's done so without alienating the most important of all readers: ME.
Too much of the supernatural creeps me out. It also feels like the crime writer is cheating. Not so with Connolly. He deftly combines the two.
A Game of Ghosts, the fifteenth Parker title, opens in the midst of dark, cold winter in Portland when Charlie gets a call that his new job is to track down Jaycob Eklund, a missing fellow PI.
Parker's employer, Edgar Ross, an agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, has his own reasons for finding Eklund, no ordinary investigator. Eklund is obsessively tracking a series of homicides and disappearances, each linked to reports of hauntings. Now Parker is drawn into his quarry's world, a realm in which the monstrous Mother rules a crumbling criminal empire, in which men strike bargains with angels, and in which the innocent and guilty alike are pawns in a game of ghosts . . .
Doesn't sound like me, does it? But, knowing that John Connolly is at the helm, I knew it would be a great read before I opened the cover.
Barbara Cleverly's Joe Sandilands [Ann]
I've always liked the Joe Sandilands mysteries, especially the four early books that take place in India in 1922.
After World War I ended, the British grip on India started slipping. The well-educated Indian elite had taken the lessons they learned in British schools, often in England, to heart and did not care for the careless superiority of the British administrators. Gandhi was rallying the masses to the cause of self-rule.
So at the very highest level Indian crimes often had political implications. Hence the temporary secondment of Scotland Yard Commissioner Joseph Sandilands to the Raj. Wives of British officers dying oddly. A traveller to the summertime capital of India, Simla, shot dead by a sniper. A border area seething after a prince is killed and European hostages taken. Two heirs of a friendly Maharajah die in seeming accidents. A well-bred, educated detective with a good war record is just the answer.
Murderabelia/Craig Robertson [Ann]
It's hard to stay away from the dark side, once you've had a taste. This book, of course, is not about me but about those who collect mementos of crimes and criminals. That's obviously on the far side of dark, too dark for me.
Indeed, it's not a taste that is met by eBay, although in fact some milder mementos--potholders with a picture of Jeffrey Dahmer, for instance--can be found there. Instead, the really grim stuff is sold on the dark web, where access is limited and all sorts of illegal tastes are serviced.
In this, the sixth book in the Rachel Narey/Tony Winter series, Narey is finally a police sergeant and Winter is now a newspaper, rather than police, photographer.
One of Winter's photos of a very staged murder, set up so that passengers on a dawn train out of Queen Street Station in Glasgow had a perfect view of the naked body hanging from an overpass railing, suggests that pieces of the victim's clothing are missing.
The police are getting nowhere. Then Narey, alone at home because of a difficult pregnancy and bored, stumbles on an ad offering the clothing for sale. Repulsed in his effort to tell the police, Winter decides to follow up the lead. And Narey is home alone, following the trail online . . .
P.S. Robertson's books are very original. His The Last Refuge takes place in the Faroe Islands. In Place of Death follows a young urban explorer, i.e., an adventurer who visits forgotten sites, condemned building, or, in this instance, the remains of an old stream under Glasgow, who finds his way blocked by a body with its throat cut--very recently. Before long, it becomes clear that may be his fate, too.
Arnaldur Indridason, The Shadow District [Konrad #1]
Steven Axelrod, Nantucket Red Tickets [Hank Kennis #4]
Rhys Bowen, The Ghost of Christmas Past [Molly Murphy #17]
Ken Bruen, The Ghosts of Galway [Jack Taylor #13]
Lee Child, The Midnight Line [Jack Reacher #22]
Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke, Every Breath You Take [Under Suspicion #4]
Clive Cussler and Boyd Morrison, Typhoon Fury [Oregon Files #12]
Mary Daheim, A Case of Bier [Bed-and-Breakfast #31]
Krista Davis, Not a Creature Was Purring [Paws and Claws #5]
Janet Evanovich, Hardcore Twenty-Four [Stephanie Plum #24]
Con Lehane, Murder in the Manuscript Room [42nd Street Library #2]
Catherine Lloyd, Death Comes to the School [Kurland St. Mary #5]
Stuart MacBride, Now We Are Dead [DS Roberta Steel standalone]
Anne Perry, A Christmas Return [Christmas Mystery #15]
* Maine author
Several years ago when we first met Marilyn Brooks of Needham, Massachusetts, we truthfully didn't know that we shared many favorite writers. Nor did we know that she'd been blogging about her love of mysteries (www.marilynsmysteryreads.com) since 2010.
Now we do; and we're happy about both. As surprising as it may sound, Marilyn's most recent posting features an author we both enjoy--Denmark's Jussi Adler-Olson:
It's not coincidental that Copenhagen's Department Q is located in the basement of the police department's headquarters. Q is in charge of clearing "cold cases," crimes that have not been solved and are not at the top of the police agenda. Although the department's record in solving such cases is extremely high, manipulated data are showing otherwise, and its already slim budget may be further reduced. This, of course, is anathema to its head, Detective Carl Mørck, and he's fighting back with everything at his disposal.
The Scarred Woman could actually refer to several of the women in this novel. One is the social worker Anneli. When she receives a diagnosis of breast cancer, her world is turned upside down, and her anger builds as she thinks of the healthy young women who frequent her office determined to get benefits to which they are not entitled.
There's Michelle, living with her boyfriend, illegally getting financial assistance while refusing to get a job; Denise, originally named Dorrit, currently working as a prostitute; and Jazmine, receiving maternity benefits because she deliberately becomes pregnant and upon the birth of each child gives it up for adoption. So Anneli comes up with a plan to eliminate those three and possibly more.
This cast of characters is, of course, unknown thus far to Carl Mørck and his staff, but that will not last for long. Since they don't deal with current cases, they haven't had anything to do with Cophenhagen's latest murder, that of Rigmor Zimmermann in King's Garden. However, that killing has brought memories back to Marcus Jacobsen, a former police detective; it reminds him of an unsolved case that he investigated more than ten years earlier. The current police powers-that-be don't see any connection, but Marcus isn't about to let that detail stop him from trying to fit together the pieces of the puzzle.
A final "scarred woman" is Rose, who is one quarter of Department Q. She's had a difficult life, and recent events have nearly pushed her over the edge. She's disoriented, her coordination is off, and she's having what would be "senior moments" if she weren't much too young for them. Usually so meticulous at work, she's left dozens of reports unfinished, and a recently closed case has reopened memories of her traumatic childhood.
Carl has a three-person staff working with him. Rose is the only woman, and she has been with Q the longest. Second in terms of longevity is Assad, a Middle Eastern immigrant with a mysterious, slightly sinister, background. The newest and youngest member is Gordon, still on the learning curve to becoming a detective and dealing with his not-quite-hidden feelings for Rose.
The Scarred Woman is the seventh novel in the Department Q series. Jussi Adler-Olsen is Denmark's best-selling crime writer and the recipient of the 2010 Glass Key Award, the honor given to the author of the best Nordic crime novel of the year.