1 Bourne Street, Kennebunk, ME 04043
(207) 985-8706

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August 2019
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Mystery Quiz

Identify the Laotian doctor whose exploits during the 1970s are covered in a popular long-running series.

Send your answer to line: quiz). A prizewinner (a $25 gift card) will be randomly drawn from correct submissions.

Congratulations to   Peggy Shultz   of Catawissa, Pennsylvania, who identified the late   Phil ip Craig   and   William Tapley   as the two New England fishing buddies, who included fishing adventures in both their long-running mystery series and eventually wrote three books together featuring their characters, J.W. Jackson and Brady Coyne.

Happy Birthdays

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 gems.    

P.D. James  was born
August 3,  1920, in Oxford, England.  Adam Dalgliesh, a poetry- writing Scotland Yard inspector who appeared in 14 books from 1962 through 2008, was her most enduring character. By the time of her death in 2014,  James   and Ruth Rendell   were the most popular contemporary writers of "traditional" mystery novels. The Mystery Writers of America honored her as a Grand Master in 1999.

Swedish crime writer   Per   Wahlöö , born August 5, 1926, was best known for his collaborative work with partner   Maj Sjöwall   on a series of 10 novels about the exploits of Martin Beck, a police detective in Stockholm, published between 1965 and 1975 (1966-1976 in English). These books established Sweden as a player on the international mystery scene and greatly influenced Scandinavian crime writing. He died June 22, 1975.
Robert van Gulik , author of the Judge Dee mysteries, was born August 9, 1910, in Zutphen, H olland. His work as a Dutch diplomat in the Far East led to his interest in Chinese history and culture. He wrote 16 novels featuring Judge Dee, a magistrate in China during the Tang Dynasty (600s). He died in 1967.
Dorothy B. Hughes , one of   the first women to write hard-boiled fiction, was born August 10, 1904, in Kansas City. Named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America in 1978, she died in 1993. 
Steig Larsson , Swedish 
journalist and mystery writer, was born August 15, 1954. His famous Millennium trilogy--The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest--was published after his death in 2004.
Georgette Heyer , more often  recognized for her Regency romances than her mysteries, was born August 16, 1902, in Wimbledon, Surrey. Her 12 mysteries, written between 1935 and 1953, are often cited as perfect examples of the classic country house mysteries. Clever dialogue was her forte. She died in 1974.  

Anthony Price , born in Hertfordshire , England, on August 16, 1926, was the leading spy novel reviewer and one of the leading spy novelists of the 1970s and '80s. He won the British Crime Writers' Association's award for Best First Novel and his fourth bested   John   Le Carré 's   Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy   for Best Crime Novel in 1974. He retired in 1989 after writing 19 Dr. Audley/Col. Butler books and died on May 30, 2019.
Earl Derr Biggers   was born August 26, 1910, in Warren, Ohio. He is most remembered for his creation of the inscrutable Hawaiian detective Charlie Chan, his attempt to counteract the then-prevailing image of the "sinister Oriental." He died in 1967.

Antonia Fraser - -Lady Antonia Margaret Caroline Fraser, CH, DBE, FRSL--was born August 27, 1932, in London. In addition to writing fiction, history, and biographies, she published a nine-book mystery series featuring Jemima Shore, an investigative television journalist in London, who first appeared in   Quiet As a Nun   in 1977. The series later led to a British television series.

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Signed, Firsts

Signed, first editions have long been held in high esteem by book lovers. Many of us have our own, if limited, collections. For example, we like having a signed   Denise Mina ,   Patricia Moyes ,   Sue Grafton , or   Imogene Robertson .
While from the beginning our inventory has been focused on readers, not collectors, we occasionally, as was the case recently, come upon discoveries we like to pass along to our customers.
These are signed, mylar-covered first edition runs of some of our customers' favorite authors like   Louise Penny ,   Paul Doiron ,   Tess Gerritsen ,   Lee Child ,   David Baldacci ,   Michael Connelly , R obert Crais , and others.

Contact us for more information.


Reveal 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)

Remember, if you've taken your Mainely Murders bag on a trip, let us know. Send your photo (jpg) and details to
Thank you!
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. 

Mail Orders 
Just because you can't be here today, tomorrow, or even next week doesn't mean you can't get your favorite books from us. We happily accept mail, phone, or e-mail orders. You can reach us at 207-985-8706 or

We'll contact you to confirm your order, availability of titles, and method of payment. Unless otherwise requested, we ship USPS media mail.

Gift Cards
Our gift cards are available in any amount. The perfect gift for holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, or "just because."
We're happy to take mail/phone orders and will send to you or directly to the recipient.

It may be August, but as far as we're concerned it's still "high summer." Those pesky back-to-school ads be damned! There's plenty of summertime to be enjoyed.
August is heating up--no pun intended--for a big month of new releases, led by the much-anticipated   A Better Man ,   Louise Penny's   15th Armand Gamache title on the 27th.  
To counter the heat, whether  generated by new releases or  Mother Nature, join us Saturday afternoon,  August 3 , for our second annual  Classic Ice Cream Social.
Then   Gerry Boyle   and   Kate Flora --both with new releases in their Maine series--will join us at the Kennebunk Free Library Monday, August 19, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Hope to see you there.
Yes, there's still plenty happening this summer. We hope you join in the fun.
Happy reading!   

Paula and Ann
Partners in Crime  

New This Month          

Meet the Authors
Mark your calendar now for Monday, August 19, at 6 p.m. to hear Maine mystery writers   Gerry Boyle and   Kate Flora .
Gerry Boyle
The event will be held at the Kennebunk Free Library, 112 Main Street, just one block from Mainely Murders. Books will be available for purchase and signing at the event as well as in advance here.
We think   Gerry   and   Kate   are two of the very best  
Kate Flora
among Maine writers. Their long list of titles--plus the fact that each is better than the last--is testament to that.
The writers, longtime friends and mystery-writing colleagues, both have recent additions to their Maine series.
Random Act   is the 12th in   Boyle's   popular series featuring Jack McMorrow--ex-New York Timesreporter-turned-small town Maine newspaper editor-turned freelance writer.
Boyle , who himself began his writing career in newspapers, calls newspapers "the best training ground ever."
Lawyer-turned-writer (and a former Maine assistant attorney general)   Flora   is the owner of two series, with her newest,   A Child Shall Lead, the sixth in a series featuring Portland Police Department detective-sergeant Joe Burgess. She also is the author of   Finding Amy: A True Story of Murder in Maine  (with   Joseph K. Loughton ).                            
Mysteries Served a la Mode
Join us Saturday afternoon, August 3, from 3:30 to 5, for Mainely Murders' version of a Classic Ice Cream Social.
Like ice cream--whatever the flavor, with or without a cherry on top--mystery classics never go out of style. That's why they're called classics.
While you're enjoying the ice cream (cone or cup), check out writers of the past. Americans like   Raymond Chandler ,   Amanda Cross ,   Elizabeth Daly ,   Erle Stanley Gardner ,   Dashiell Hammett ,   Margaret Millar . Or for the Britophiles, consider   Margery Allingham ,   Manning Coles ,   Elizabeth Lemarchand ,   P hilip MacDonald , and   Eric Ambler .
True classics: ice cream and mysteries. They're a Mainely Murders tradition.
Summertime Traffic Up;
And All Roads Lead Here
State officials haven't yet given out their Maine traffic report, but we know we're seeing an uptick in visitors, particularly among first-time customers. Needless to say, we revel in introducing our little bookstore.
We especially thank our many loyal customers for sending (or actually bringing) family and friends this way, and this year they've had some help.
We had a real boost earlier this summer when WMTW-TV in Portland featured us on its Channel 8 News. We're convinced that we're really more charming and well-spoken than we appeared on screen, but that was no fault of anchor/newsman Steve Minich or his camerawoman. It was only later that we learned that the piece was not only shown here in Maine but was also picked up by numerous network affiliates nationwide and   You Tube   (skip the ad).  
Next came a feature article about us by Sisters in Crime/New England. In its   July Blog, writer   Marian Stanley   peppered us with questions about everything from our opening in 2011 to what we think sets us apart now from other booksellers.
Kennebunk Beach Realty's recent full-page ad in the   Portland Press Herald   included us in a feature about the best places to visit in the Kennebunks.

Out for a Run
Distance running has always been a mystery to us. Runners tell us they do it for pleasure; we read books.
This foursome came all the way from Northbrook, Illinois, for a three-state (Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts) running-event weekend. While in Kennebunk, they stopped in for a visit.
The Coffee2Run4 team--with an eventual goal of hitting events in every state--is comprised of, left to right,   Cliff Zimmerman,   Dea Zimmerman,   Debbie Gordon, and   Stuart Gordon.


Arrivederci   Andrea Camilleri  
Andrea Camilleri , the bestselling writer who has long anchored our Italian section, died in July at the age of 93.
After spending much of his life working as a screenwriter and director,   Camilleri's   greatest fame came from the mystery-writing career he began at the age of 70.
His popular series featuring Salvo Montalbano, police inspector in the fictional Sicilian town of Vigàta, has been translated into 32 languages and sold more than 30 million copies worldwide.
The series, first translated into English in 2002, began with   The Shape of Water.
For Montalbano fans who fear that they'll never know the conclusion of this series, don't despair.   Camilleri   wrote the concluding novel in the series many years ago, placing it in the hands of his publisher for safekeeping. "When I get fed up with [Montalbano] or am not able to write any more, I'll tell the publisher: publish that book," he said at the time. "Sherlock Holmes was recovered . . . but it will not be possible to recover Montalbano. In that last book, he's really finished."
In the meantime, we still have books to enjoy. His 26th title, in English, is scheduled for release in the United States in September.

Bookworms From North Carolina
We love welcoming book clubs to our shop. And we had a great time with this Charlotte, North Carolina, group. They call themselves the Charlotte Bookworms--Yvonne Tiedemann,   Renee Kaplan,   Diana Stoddard,   Sherry Floyd,   Diane Black, and   Jennifer Nickel. (At their request, we're in there somewhere, too.)

When last we saw them, they were discussing how they'd manage to pack all their book purchases for the flight home. We suggested our strategy: leave behind some clothes; they're available anywhere.
Classic Myst eries, Big Prices

Every collector hopes for a rare find amidst the forgotten detritus in grandmother's attic, among the $1 books outside a charity shop, or gleaned from the curbside "Free" pile the day before trash collection.
So, just in case, rest assured there's money in the rarest of books. On the auction block in March:
* A rare first edition in its original first-printing dust jacket of   Dashiell Hammett's   Red Harvest   fetched $75,000.
* The   Dain Curse ,   Hammett's   second book, was sold for $27,500.
* A signed first edition of   Raymond Chandler' s   The Big Sleep   went to a bidder for $57,500.
The books were part of the personal collection of   Otto Penzler , editor, bookseller, and founder of Mysterious Press.
What We've Been Reading
We admit that our reading has suffered the last couple of months. Big birthdays (70th for Paula and 75th for Ann) got in the way. When the numbers get that big, they merit more celebrating.
Instead of diving into new books, we both took time to re-read old favorites.
Dick Francis   (Paula)
Our June mystery question about steeplechase jockey-turned-bestselling mystery writer   Dick Francis   got me thinking about how much I enjoy blending my lifelong passion for mysteries and my love of horses.
No one has ever come close to matching   Dick Francis . His first novel,   Dead Cert, was published in 1962, followed by an internationally bestselling book in each of the next nearly 40 years.
Fast-paced, cleverly plotted, and highly believable. Those terms describe virtually all of his books. Quite simply,   Francis   was one whose success on the race track translated to the written word.
With 40-plus books to choose from, it's difficult to pick a favorite, although many critics have sought to list theirs. But, rest assured, there isn't a bad one in the bunch.
One series does stand out--indeed only one of three continuing stories. Sid Halley, an injured steeplechase jockey-turned-PI, stars in five   Francis titles, more than any other character.
But, the lack of a "career character" actually worked to the author's (and readers') advantage, allowing the stories, while all centered on horse racing, to be told from a variety of voices. Narration can come from riders, owners, and trainers--all obviously track characters--but also from others only tangentially connected to racing.
A word of warning. Horse racing is not without its share of shady characters and elicit practices, something that even a racing legend like   Francis recognized. Those who are horse lovers, and not necessarily fans of the "business" of big-time horse racing, beware.
Since his death in 2010,   Francis'   son   Felix   has picked up the reins of the series. But, the "new   Francis " seems to lack the feel of the track and its horses and people--something the original did so very well.  
Catherine Aird   (Ann)
Catherine Aird   is one of my go-to authors when I'm feeling like something in the classic British line, i.e., gentle, with an understated sense of humor (as opposed to   Colin Watson   who prefers to club you over the head with the humor in his books about his corrupt little town). They're perfect "before sleeping" books because nothing reminds me of real life.
Aird , in fact, writes the literary equivalent of   Midsomer Murders. Over the last 53 years she has left bodies all over fictional West Calleshire while writing 24 books (as of today with the publication of   Inheritance Tracks). Poor inspector Sloane works in one of the most crime-ridden areas of Britain and has a superintendent not noticeable for his flexibility.
I favor reading her earlier books--perhaps because I have them available. They take place in "typical" classic mystery locations--nunneries (her first,   The Religious Body), stately homes (retitled appropriately,   The Stately Home Murder), a manor house with new owners (A Most Contagious Game), a flower show (Passing Strange), and an old college (Murder in the Quadrangle).
I reread them endlessly, adrift in a world that never was--but such a pleasant vision.
Coming Soon

Catherine Aird ,   Inheritance Tracks   [Sloan & Crosby #25]
Donna Andrews ,   Terns of Endearment   [Meg Langslow #25]
Lorna Barrett ,   A Killer Edition   [Booktown #13]
Rhys Bowen ,   Love and Death Among the Cheetahs   [Royal Spyness #13]
C.J. Box ,   The Bitterroots   [Cassie Dewell #4]
Barbara Cleverly ,   Invitation to Die   [John Redfyre #2]
Colin Cotterill ,   The Second Biggest Nothing   [Siri Paiboun #14]
Robert Crais ,   A Dangerous Man   [Elvis Cole & Joe Pike #18]
Karin Fossum ,   The Whisperer   [Inspector Sejer #13]
Cynthia Harrod-Eagles Old Bones [Bill Slider #22]
Ellen Hart Twisted at the Root  [Jane Lawless #26]
Peter James ,   Dead At First Sight   [Roy Grace #15]
J ulia Keller The Cold Way Home   [Bell Elkins #8]
* Eleanor Kuhns ,   Simply Dead   [Will Rees #7]
Louise Penny ,   A Better Man   [Armand Gamache #15]
* Douglas Preston   and   Lincoln Child ,   Old Bones[Nora Kelly #1]
Candace Robb ,   A Conspiracy of Wolves   [Owen Archer #11]
Hank Phillippi Ryan ,   The Twice-Hanged Man   [NS]
Karin Slaughter ,   The Last Widow   [Sara Linton & Will Trent #7]
Ruth Ware ,   The Turn of the Key   [NS]
* Stuart Woods ,   Contraband   [Stone Barrington #50]
Ovidia Yu ,   The Paper Bark Tree Mystery   [Crown Colony #3]

* Maine authors or locations
Customers Recommend
It's summer in Maine and that means frolicking at the beach or lake, days on the golf course or out on the boat. Meeting up with friends at the local lobster pound.
Summer for   Charlie Wallace  of Portland means being outdoors on his deck reading. For Charlie, that can be books as varied as a   Clive Cussler   thriller or a   Barbara Ross   Maine Clambake Mystery.

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.