Name the British writer who, having left school at 15 because all he wanted to do was ride horses, turned his experience as a steeplechase jockey into a career authoring some 40 international bestsellers.
Send your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org
(subject line: quiz). A prizewinner (a $25 gift card) will be randomly drawn from correct submissions.
Congratulations to Diane Walli
of Corcoran, Minnesota, who identified the late
as the author who called her character Kinsey Millhone "a stripped-down version of me" but "thinner, younger, and braver."
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.
, born June 4,
1955, in the Kingdom of Fife, Scotland, was a reporter and is the author of four mystery series, featuring Lindsay Gordon, Kate Brannigan, Karen Pirie, and Dr. Tony Hill/Carol Jordan. Great success came when the last was turned into the BBC TV show Wire in the Blood
, who along
, is credited with
with the tough-gal PI, was born in Ames, Iowa, on June 8, 1947.
Her PI, V.I. Warshawski, first appeared in
, an MWA Grand Master, was also instrumental in founding Sisters in Crime in 1986.
1953, in San Diego, says she knew at a young age that she wanted to write stories like those in her favorite Nancy Drew books. But, first, she became a physician. Today, a perennial bestselling author, she resides here in
Dorothy L. Sayers
June 13, 1893, was the creator of Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane. With
, she is considered one of the founders of the classic English cozy. All her 15 mysteries were published between 1923 and 1939. Thereafter, she occupied herself with plays, nonfiction, and translations. She died in 1957.
, born June
17, 1954, in Footscray, Australia, is a lawyer and writer of numerous novels, but it was her Phryne Fisher mysteries that brought her worldwide fame after the Australian TV show Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries
MWA Grand Master
, born June 24, 1938,
in Buffalo, New York, is the creator of one of the great characters of crime fiction, Bernie Rhodenbarr, "the burglar who . . ."
, screenwriter and
master of the spy novel, was born June 28, 1909, in London.
A Coffin for Dimitrios
is often cited as one of the best all-time spy novels and features his typical amateur, inadvertent hero. A Mystery Writers of America Grand Master (1975), he died in 1998.
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.
Thank you for supporting
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
We'll contact you to confirm your order, availability of titles, and method of payment. Unless otherwise requested, we ship USPS media mail.
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.
You've got to love June. Summer "officially" begins. The first local produce is showing up at the farmers' market. Baseball season is heating up (see below). Favorite authors
are releasing new titles.
We're hoping for a dry, warm summer, enabling us to display more books outside--carts filled with mysteries about gardens, food, cats/dogs, crafts, and other cozy capers. With shop space at a premium, our outdoor sale cabinet is filled with new inventory.
We look forward to seeing you soon.
Partners in Crime
P.S. A word to the wise, Sunday, June 16, is Father's Day. Surprise him with a just-released thriller. And, Dad, like any mystery reader, would love a Mainely Murders gift card.
Play Ball With Us!
You Might Win $1,000
We love baseball. And, apparently other readers (and authors) do, too.
Check out this summer's special selection of
baseball-themed mysteries, where you'll find titles like Strike Three, You're Dead; Hanging Curve; Dead Pull Hitter; and, always a favorite, Murder at Fenway Park.
Throughout June (while supplies last) each book will come with a Maine State lottery baseball scratch-off ticket. (Top prize is $1,000.)
Even if you don't win the top prize, you can have the feeling of a day out at the old ball park.
Our New 221B Baker Street
Sherlock Holmes has moved. If you've been in recently, you know that we've relocated Holmes (and friends) from inside the shop to our 221B Baker Street alcove.
There, you'll find not only Holmes, but also a myriad of books inspired by
Arthur Conan Doyle's
creation and those mystery authors who preceded him.
Harvey and Genevieve Marks of Metheun, Massachusetts, never leave home without packing their Mainely Murders book bag. "Our book bag just loves traveling with us," Gen wrote.
This winter, they embarked on a cruise down the Rhine River, where they visited the cathedral in Cologne, shown here.
What We're Reading
Culinary Mysteries (Paula)
I've long had a taste for mysteries with a culinary flavor.
Not necessarily the outpouring of American cozies about crime-solving cooks, caterers, bakers, and chocolatiers, infused with more cooking tips and recipes than crime solving. (Although I've read my share of those.)
I'm talking about the wonderful character- and place-driven mysteries in which the enjoyment of food and wine is a delectable complement to the story itself.
They are almost exclusive stories set in France and Italy, where distinctive food--and its
acquisition, preparation, and consumption--seems the very center of the culture. It's almost as if eating well is a birthright of the French and Italians.
Benoît "Bruno" Courrèges, chief of police in fictional St. Denis,
who, along with his friend and neighbors, reside in the food and wine infused French countryside.
, whose Inspector
Guido Brunetti effortlessly patrols the café-rich streets of Venice to then return home to the mouth-watering meals of wife Paulo.
Sicilian detective Salvo Montalbano, whose mid-day meals are supplied by his favorite restaurateur and those at night by his cook/housekeeper, is another great example of the pairing of food and mystery.
It's no surprise that two of these three series have resulted in cookbooks. I've been cooking from A Taste of Venice: At Table with Brunetti for years. The other, which I dream of coming out in English, is Bruno's Cookbook (Bruno's Kochbuch
), so far available only in German, filled with recipes (and photos) of food directly from the kitchen of
and his wife Julia Watson in their French village in the Perigord.
While no one does food/mystery pairing better than
, there are other contemporary authors who come to mind. I particularly enjoy
Provencal series featuring
Antoine Verlaque, the chief magistrate of Aix-en-Provence, and law professor Marine Bonnet. The couple's wonderful exchanges, often about food, put them on my list of favorite "partners in crime."
And, of course, if I were looking to the past, I'd put
Maigret books and
Nero Wolfe novels in the mix.
Clearly, when crime solving is on the menu, I can't resist.
: Transcription (Ann)
After years on what I consider to be "the dark side" (writing literary fiction),
has returned to her mystery roots, first with last year's Transcription and now with this year's new Jackson Brodie, Big Sky.
Transcription is narrated by Juliet Armstrong, whose early wartime experiences in MI5 switch back and forth with her work in the early 1950s for the BBC (home to many ex-MI5 people). In both instances her work is limited severely by her passivity and the gender roles of which she is fully conscious.
A recent orphan, she is recruited as typist by MI5. She spends most of her early war years transcribing the activities and delusions of low-level fascist sympathizers, though the tedium of her work is briefly broken by a few episodes of activity and terror. Her real life is after work as she parties with a fellow cynic, a rich MI5 typist.
Though she wants to be more than a typist, she never is until she joins the BBC.
The problem for Miss Armstrong is that her brief period of activity returns to haunt her after the war. For what reason she knows not, but she knows enough to recognize that she is being followed and that fellow wartime colleagues are avoiding her.
This is not your regular spy novel. Her work and that of most of her comrades is routine and boring, often with no clear result. People, including the fascist sympathizers, lie for no clear reason. Lives, like that of Miss Armstrong, are led with no clear purpose.
If you're looking for relentless action, you can skip this book. If you're looking for excellent writing and a picture of many people's lives during the war, this is the book to read.
It doesn't appear on the town map, but Mainely Murders now has its very own street sign, courtesy of Charlie and Cheryl Wallace of Portland.
If you can tell a successful restaurant by one look at the parking, so, too, can you do the same for bookstores. As more people have found us, so, too, have parking problems, especially during the summer months. Please feel free to park in our driveway, public lots around town, or street side. (Do not block residential driveways.)
The parking lot adjacent to the shop is NOT available for customer parking, but rather for KKWWD employees, who often come and go during the day. We ask that you please respect our very nice neighbors. (The lot, however, is available on Saturday.)
Susan Wittig Albert
, A Plain Vanilla Murder [China Bayles #27]
, Aunt Dimity and the Heart of Gold [Aunt Dimity #24]
, Big Sky [Jackson Brody #5]
, Their Little Secret [Tom Thorne #16]
, Murder in Bel-Air [Aimee Leduc #19]
[Jack McMorrow #12]
Rita Mae Brown
, Whiskers in the Box [Mrs. Murphy #28]
, A Web of Silk [Ursula Blanchard #16]
, The Book Supremacy [Bibliophile #13]
Jeanne M. Dams
, A Dagger Before Me [Dorothy Martin #21]
, Clause & Effect [Deadly Edits #2]
, This Storm [L.A. Quartet #2]
Maurizio de Giovanni
, Pizzofalcone [Bastards of Pizzofalcone #3]
, A Patchwork of Clues [Queen Bees Quilt Shop #1]
, Joe Country [Slough House #6]
, Simply Dead [Will Rees #7]
, Conviction [NS]
, The Last Guest House [NS]
, The Burning Chambers [NS]
, Death in the East [Sam Wyndham #4]
, Grab a Snake by the Tail [Mario Conde #8]
, Unsolved [
, The Sussex Murder [Country Guides #5]
The Body in the Castle Well
[Bruno, Chief of Police #14]
, Skin Game
[Teddy Fay #3]
Writers have long known that readers enjoy mysteries served with a side of one of their other interests. Hence, the popularity of whodunits with themes of cooking, crafting, and pets.
While Jeanette DeBlois
of Sanford is a voracious reader of all kinds of mysteries, the retired New Jersey teacher-turned-part-time collectibles dealer here in Maine says she's particularly fond of
Jane K. Cleland's
series featuring an antiques expert in coastal New Hampshire.
While each of
books is an easy, fun read, at the same time she makes it very clear that this isn't the genteel business of pretty tea cups and china dolls that it's sometimes portrayed.
Antiques can be a cutthroat business. Just look at
titles starting with Consigned to Death and including a dozen other similarly ominous ones like Deadly Appraisal, Killer Keepsakes, Lethal Treasures, and Antique Blues.
has my admiration. If you've spent much time at an antiques shop, auction house, or even a flea market you can't help thinking: "This place has all the ingredients of a great mystery."
As a "regular" auction attendee--and even a small-time dealer at a local group shop--I sometimes can't help but look around and think that I should be writing a mystery.
Fortunately, I don't need to try.
, a New Hampshire dealer and appraiser before becoming a full-time writer, has done a first-rate job turning her inside knowledge into a killer series.
When series star Josie Prescott left her job at a prestigious NYC auction house to start her own appraisal business on the New Hampshire seacoast, she thought she'd left the cutthroat side of the antique business behind.
She was wrong. And that was just the author's first book, Consigned to Death.
Eleven books later--having worked her way through vintage clothing, maritime antiques, dolls, vintage jewelry, collectable toys, miniatures, Tiffany glass, and every other keepsake and collectable you can imagine--
continues to show that this isn't a business for the faint of heart.
Stolen goods, faked provenances, illicit deals, sketchy appraisals, counterfeit merchandise. It's all here.
Just keep that in mind the next time you attend your innocent, little local auction.