Because of the water bowl outside our shop, people ask if we have a dog. Others assume a black cat must reside somewhere amidst all the books. But, alas, we have neither.
But, when we spotted this grand and glorious pair of domestic fowl and realized what they'd add to our garden plot, we knew we'd found our mascots.
Now, all they need are names for their spring debut. Submit your suggested names--one for him (black and white
) and one for her (brown
(subject line: quiz). A prizewinner will be randomly drawn from all submissions.
Congratulations to Patrick Cluff of Austin, Texas, who identified Sarah Graves, the Maine author of the popular Home Repair Is Homicide series, who followed up with another cozy featuring the same protagonist (and friends) set in Eastport.
November 9, 1832, in Saujon, France, was a writer, novelist, journalist, and pioneer of detective fiction. His best-known creation was Monsieur Lecoq, one of the earliest detectives in literature, who was said to have been a major influence on Sherlock Holmes, Arsene Lupin, and other fictional characters. He died in 1873 in Paris.
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.
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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 winter 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 email@example.com.
A Trip to Three Pines
Not every fan of author Louise Penny 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 of Three Pines.
How better to start the morning than with a Three Pines café-au-lait mug. It holds 12 ounces and is microwavable and dishwasher safe. ($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 ž" × ˝" lapel pin in the shape of those iconic green trees with silver border. ($15.)
For those who can't resist the mysterious--why else would they be at Mainely Murders?--see our popular grab bags.
Check out our selection of the colorful bags. Each ($5) contains three books from our stock, each one tied to a particular theme. Among our most popular: Passport to Murder (for the armchair traveler), Culinary Crimes (recipes can be deadly), Death By Chocolate (say it ain't so!), and Murder is Academic (our particular favorite).
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.
Writing to you this month from the road--the one that's taken us, so far, north as far as Louise Penny country, and throughout much of New Hampshire, Vermont, and western Massachusetts.
We get lots of questions about where we get our books. Many of you have seen the large British Mail bags that we receive. British sources are among our best. Shipments from other American booksellers arrive daily.
But the majority of our stock comes from our forays out on the road, largely in the Northeast.
We'll temporarily return home next week to host cop-turned-writer Bruce Coffin (see below) at the Kennebunk Free Library, Monday (November 5), at 6 p.m. We hope to see a lot of you there.
After that, we're heading back out for a final hunt for more books before our re-opening on Wednesday, Nov. 14.
Looking ahead to Thanksgiving and Christmas, we expect to have our shelves packed to the rafters (literally) for you---whether buying for yourselves or for gift giving.
Hope to see you soon: Monday, November 5 at the Kennebunk Library to meet Bruce Coffin, or Wednesday, November 14, when we re-open for the remainder of the year.
Partners in Crime
P.S. Just because you've seen Christmas merchandise since well before Halloween, don't expect that here. We've got a firm rule: one holiday at a time. Christmas begins when the turkey comes off the Thanksgiving table. But for those who can't wait to immerse themselves in Christmas mysteries, just ask. We'll let you go through the boxes.
Meet Cop-Turned-Writer Bruce Coffin
Join us Monday (November 5) at 6 p.m. at the Kennebunk Free Library, 112 Main Street, as we host cop-turned-writer Bruce Coffin as he debuts Beyond the Truth, the third in his John Byron mystery series. The book was released this week.
Following in the footsteps of Among the Shadows
and Beneath the Depths
, Beyond the Truth
finds the Portland detective facing the toughest of challenges--the investigation into the police shooting of a high school student.
Bestselling author Douglas Preston calls the book a "gripping atmospheric thriller that finds the dark side of Portland." Fellow-writer Reed Farrel Coleman concurs, calling Beyond the Truth "a superbly realistic, tense, and exciting novel."
Beyond the Truth, as well as Among the Shadows and Beneath the Depths, will be available for purchase and signing.
Counting Down the Days
If you're a fan of Louise Penny
, the number is 27.
Yes, 27 days until the release of Kingdom of the Blind
, the 14th title in her bestselling series.
We'll have books in stock on Wednesday, November 28. Always a bestseller here--Penny's books have topped our sales for four consecutive years--we greatly appreciate pre-orders. We know that with each new title the books garner ever more fans.
Birthday Photo Op
We love our customers. And when they ask us to pose for a picture to commemorate their visit, we can't refuse. For Dent Lynch
of Churchton, Maryland, it was a special occasion.
"Thanks for sharing my 75th birthday with me last week, " he wrote after his September visit.
Paula, who loves birthdays, other people's as well as her own, wrote back: "Come back next June and you can share my 70th."
It's weeks away, but Small Business Saturday (the Saturday after Thanksgiving, this year November 24) is the kickoff to the Christmas season and a time to support small, local retailers.
Mainely Murders, like other small businesses, greatly appreciates your support. Visit us that day for refreshments, a raffle, and free gift wrapping.
What We're Reading
"What are you reading now?" It's a frequent question we hear. (It's right up there with "Have you read every book in the store?") So, each month, we each select an author (or title) from our reading the previous month.
Archer Mayor (Paula)
It's no coincidence that I've been reading Archer Mayor. We've been in Vermont--the setting for the author's 29 Joe Gunther books--for several days during our fall getaway.
Because a strong sense of place is a requirement of the books I read, selecting one of Mayor's colorful Vermont police procedurals was a natural.
In addition to painting a vivid picture of his home
has, beginning with Open Season
(1988), skillfully developed the characters of the novel, particularly Gunther himself. As a fan of character-driven stories, I've found it fascinating to watch the characters and their relationships evolve over the years.
Reading the series in order isn't a requirement--over the years I've probably jumped around numerous times--but it's in this way that the richness of the characters' lives is really revealed. That's the beauty of a longtime series.
In police procedurals, even as character driven as these, the realism factor can't be ignored. Fortunately, Mayor knows his stuff, much of which comes from his real-life credentials, which have included detective, medical examiner, and volunteer fireman/EMT.
It's not easy keeping a series vibrant and engaging--for the reader as well as the author--over a long period. We've all experienced the disappointment of a series that long ago lost its steam. Mayor--and Joe Gunther--are still as fresh as ever.
He reminds me of William Kent Krueger: a very talented storyteller. I can think of no better compliment.
Ragnar Jónasson's The Darkness (Ann)
After blasting though two seasons of TV's No Offence, where a Manchester-based murder squad is led by foul-mouthed, duplicitous, driven Viv and the crimes are horrific, The Darkness seemed the perfect change of pace. After all, the book takes place in Iceland. We're talking maybe two murders a year. Horrific is rarely part of the crime description
In Ragnar Jónasson's
new series starring Hulda Hermannsdottir, 65-year-old Hulda is facing retirement at the end of the year--except her boss moved the date up to two weeks from when she was told and tells her to work on a cold case, any cold case, doubtless hoping she will just quit.
There's no quitting in Hulda, who is bound by rules. There's little concern for others either as she chooses to work on a case of suicide that was presumed to be solved. It quickly becomes clear that the old, abrasive, rigid detective has few supporters at work. So, of course, she investigates without telling others what she's doing.
The case itself is complicated because the death is that of a young woman who spoke almost no English and lived in a crowded hostel for asylum seekers outside of Reykjavik. It's hard even to find staff or residents who remember her. Hulda is undaunted.
The story of her dogged investigation is interspersed with old and more recent flashbacks, which explain both Hulda and parts of the case. It's a clever and surprising tale.
A sampling of November releases. Find more at www.stopyourekillingme.com and https://www.cozy-mystery.com/blog/soon-to-be-released-mysteries.
David Baldacci, Long Road to Mercy [Atlee Pine #1]
Ken Bruen, In the Galway Silence [Jack Taylor #14]
Lee Child, Past Tense [Jack Reacher #23]
Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke, You Don't Own Me [Laurie Moran #5]
Ellen Crosby, Harvest of Secrets [Wine Country #9]
Clive Cussler and Graham Brown, Sea of Greed [NUMA Files #16]
Vicki Delany, A Scandal in Scarlet [Sherlock Holmes Bookshop #4]
Sara Driscoll, Storm Rising [FBI K-9 #3]
Janet Evanovich, Look Alive at Twenty-Five [Stephanie Plum #25]
Sally Goldenbaum, How to Knit a Murder [Seaside Knitters #13]
Timothy Hallinan, Nighttown [Junior Bender #7]
John Harvey, Body and Soul [Frank Elder #4]
Anthony Horowitz, Forever and a Day [James Bond Continuation #40]
Mike Lupica, Robert B. Parker's Blood Feud [Sonny Randall continuation]
Shirley Rousseau Murphy, Cat Chase the Moon [Joel Grey #21]
James Patterson, Target: Alex Cross [Alex Cross #26]
Louise Penny, Kingdom of the Blind [Armand Gamache #14]
Anne Perry, A Christmas Revelation [Christmas mystery #16]
Alexander McCall Smith, The Colours of All the Cattle [No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency #19]
Fans of Donna Leon's long-running Venetian series have come to count on the re-appearance of Guido Brunetti--and his colleagues, family, and friends--each year since the publication of Death at La Fenice in 1992.
Like Paula, who counts Leon's
series among her all-time favorites, Marilyn Brooks
of Needham, Massachusetts, is a fan. In addition to sharing her book thoughts with Mainely Murders, Marilyn writes a wonderful mystery blog, www.marilynsmysteryreads.com
Donna Leon, The Temptation of Forgiveness
Long a tourist mecca, Venice conjures up beautiful visions of stunning architecture and elegant bridges crossing calm canals. But there's an ugly underside to the "Queen of the Adriatic," a city rife with corruption and a populace who seems to be either uncaring or else committed to the belief that nothing they do will change the situation.
Guido Brunetti, commissario at the city's Questura di Venezia, knows every canal and street in his beloved city. Sadly, nothing about Venice shocks him any longer, and he is beginning to feel that the police have become almost totally ineffective. So when Professoressa Crosera comes to him with a problem she can barely articulate, he finds himself not as sympathetic as he thinks he should be.
The professor is a member of the university's architecture department, the same college where Guido's wife Paola teaches literature. The two women are colleagues rather than friends, but Guido has met the professor before. After a great deal of hesitation, she finally asks Brunetti if it is a crime to purchase drugs. He tells her it is not, that the crime is selling them, and she seems slightly reassured. She is fearful that her teenage son is using drugs, but she has no definite proof and appears not to want to find any.
Probing more deeply, Brunetti asks her why she has come to the Questura, what she would like the police to do, and he is surprised by the simplicity of her response. "Find out whose selling him these drugs. And arrest them." And Guido thinks to himself, if only it were that easy.
Several days later Professoressa Crosera's husband is brutally attacked on the Ponte del Forner. Did it have something to do with the drugs that he and his wife believe their son is using, or is it a different matter entirely? Street crime is so rare in Venice that the former seems much more likely, but Brunetti and his colleagues are getting nowhere by focusing on that aspect of the investigation.
The Temptation of Forgiveness is Donna Leon's 27th book featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti, his family, and his fellow officers at the Questura. The incredible sense of place that is in all the novels is understandable when the reader knows that Ms. Leon lived in Venice for 30 years.
Brunetti's humanity shines through in all the books, but it is obvious that he has reached a point in his life where his optimism is greatly tempered with reality and his knowledge that many of the problems that confront the citizens of the city are beyond his ability, or that of anyone, to remedy.
The final two pages of The Temptation of Forgiveness are among the most moving I have ever read.