April 2023


1 Bourne Street, Kennebunk, ME 04043



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.

Reginald Hill was born on April 3, 1936, in County Durham, England. His best-known books featured Superintendent Andrew Dalziel and Sergeant Peter Pascoe. He also wrote under the name Patrick Ruell. He died in 2012.

Tom Clancy was born on April 12, 1947, in Baltimore and died there, a loyal son of the city, in 2013. At age 37, after a number of years in the insurance business, his book The Hunt for Red October was published and transformed military thrillers with its detailed and accurate technical descriptions. It also led Clancy to write 18 books that sold 100 million-plus copies.

Alistair MacLean, the Scottish author of more than 25 novels, was born on April 21, 1922, in Glasgow. His most famous novel was Guns of Navarone, written in 1957. He died in 1987.

Ngaio Marsh was born April 23, 1899, in Christchurch, New Zealand. Her popular series featuring Roderick Alleyn, second son of a baronet and a police inspector in London, numbered 32 books, written between 1934 and 1982. The Mystery Writers of America presented her with its Grand Master Award in 1978, four years before her death. Along with Agatha Christie, Margery Allingham, and Dorothy Sayers, Marsh is credited with creating the ever-popular "traditional" English detective story.

Sue Grafton, born April 24, 1940, in Louisville, Kentucky, was best known for her Kinsey Milhone "alphabet mysteries" (1982-2017). Writing TV screenplays honed her plotting and characterization skills and led to the almost instant success of the Kinsey series. She received the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America in 2009. Her death in 2017 forever ended the alphabet with the letter "Y."

Dorothy Salisbury Davis, born April 25, 1916, in Chicago, wrote more about motivation, morality, and manners than she did violence during her half-century career. In addition to writing 17 novels, she was named an MWA Grand Master in 1985 and was a founding member of Sisters in Crime. She died in 2014. 


In the Beginning...

How often we've heard it: "I was totally hooked by the opening line." It's happened to all of us. 

Sometimes, however, we forget just how splendid that first line is, until, if you’re like some of us, you go back and re-read a book or series. 

When Stephen Spotswood’s latest title featuring the crime-solving duo of Willowjean (“Will”) Parker and Lillian Pentecost, Secrets Typed in Blood, appeared over the winter, we enjoyed it so much, we decided to re-read his series debut, Fortune Favors the Dead. 

And, there is was, that opening line that initially captured us:

“The first time I met Lillian Pentecost, I nearly caved in her skull with a piece of lead pipe.”

How important to you are those first few words? Do you have a memorable opening from mystery/detective fiction? Share it at info@mainelymurders.com (subject line: opening lines).


Maine Has Bookstores for Everyone

Maine has something for everyone—including bookstores. You already know that our specialty is mysteries. And, we think we do that better than anyone.

But if mysteries aren’t your only interest, there are plenty of other wonderful used and antiquarian bookstores from which to choose.

Whether you’re vacationing from away or you’re out exploring your home state, we invite you to check out members of the Maine Antiquarian Booksellers Association. A free pamphletconveniently organized by location throughout the stateis available here.


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.  



Winter Well!


It’s April, and officially spring. Okay, maybe it depends on where you live, but it certainly is here in Paris.

You know what they say about “Paris in the springtime.” Well, it’s true. Our favorite gardens—Jardin des Tuileries, Jardin du Luxembourg, Jardin des Plantes—are already splendid. But, in truth, we’ve enjoyed our walks there ever since our arrival in January.

Unlike previous years, when we left Paris for various excursions elsewhere, we’ve been here in the city almost exclusively. Other travels—definitely Scotland!—are planned for fall. Stay tuned.

No doubt, you’ve been wondering, so here it is. We will be re-opening later this spring—date to be announced—for our official swan song. Throughout the summer, we’ll host a few special events. 

In the meantime, we hope you’ll begin planning a visit to say goodbye and to help us find homes for some wonderful books.

See you soon back in Maine.

Au Revoir,

Ann and Paula

Partners in Crime


Our April Picks

Standing in the Shadows, Peter Robinson 

A new Inspector Alan Banks release is always cause for celebration. But this one, of course, is bittersweet—knowing that Standing in the Shadows, the 28th in the series, was author Peter Robinson’s last before his death last fall.

The story opens in November 1980 when a student returns home from a university lecture to find his house crawling with police. His ex-girlfriend has been found murdered. Although he’s a prime suspect, the case quickly goes cold.

Decades later, in November 2019, an archaeologist unearths a skeleton that turns out to be far more contemporary than the Roman remains she is seeking. Detective Superintendent Alan Banks and his team are called in to investigate. 


The Last Remains, Elly Griffiths

Since her 2009 debut in Crossing Places, Ruth Galloway, forensic archaeologist near Norfolk, England, has been a favorite among readers. Alas, all good things come to an end, and The Last Remains appears to be so for this popular series.

When builders renovating a café in King’s Lynn find a human skeleton, Ruth, now head of archaeology at the University of North Norfolk, agrees to take a look. Almost at once, she determines the bones are modern, and soon identified as the remains of a young female student who went missing in the 1990s while on an archaeology course nearby. 

With DCI Harry Nelson heading the investigation, suspicion quickly falls on those who were part of the course, principally the woman’s Cambridge tutor as well as another course member, Ruth’s friend Cathbad.

Discovering a tangled web of relationships among the members of the group, Nelson and his team appear to be making progress in the investigation—until Cathbad disappears.

The hunt is on, first to find Ruth’s dear friend, and then to exonerate him.


The Body by the Sea, Jean-Luc Bannalec

Concarneau, Commissaire Georges Dupin’s adopted home, is as picturesque as any place on earth. And, historically, Brittany’s small seaside town, with its three harbors, has shown how perfectly positioned it is to protect its inhabitants from enemy attacks.

But, what happens if the enemy strikes from within?

With most of his team away enjoying a holiday weekend, Dupin is on his own to investigate the death of a local doctor. 

Our favorite Brittany cop is back in the 8th title in this series that first drew us to the west coast of France several years ago.

Crime Writers Honor Walter Mosley

Walter Mosley, one of the most celebrated of American writers, has picked up yet another well-deserved honor. 

Already a Mystery Writers of America Grand Master, he’s been named the recipient of the 2023 CWA Diamond Dagger, sponsored by Great Britain’s Crime Writers' Association. The award recognizes "authors whose crime-writing careers have been marked by sustained excellence, and who have made a significant contribution to the genre."

In announcing the award, the organization called Mosley, the writer of more than 60 books translated into 25 languages, "one of the most versatile and admired writers in America,” adding that he "brought a cast of crime fiction characters into the American canon with his first novel, Devil in a Blue Dress, featuring private detective, Easy Rawlins." 

What We’ve Been Reading (Paula)

The Killing Room, Christobel Kent

As a reader who puts “sense of place” at the top of my list in selecting books, I can easily lose myself in the books of Christobel Kent, whose books featuring Sandro Cellini, ex-cop-turned-PI, are set in one of my favorite cities, Florence, Italy.

The fifth book in the series, is no exception. Like its predecessors, Florence itself is among the main characters. If you’ve been there, you feel like you’re back in this beautiful city; if you haven’t, Kent’s descriptions will make you want to go. But, maybe minus the murders.

In The Killing Room (2014), Cellini has taken on the role of head of security of the very tony Palazzo San Giorgio, where an old torture chamber hidden in the bowels of the building is just one of the secrets the investigator discovers. The rest involve its very rich residents, secretive staff, and murder.

What We’ve Been Reading (Ann)

The Twyford Code, Janice Hallett

None of Janice Hallett’s books follow the conventional narrative pattern. Her first, The Appeal, was told via texts and emails. The Twyford Code, her second, ups the ante; it’s told via transcriptions of audio tapes. It’s also laugh-aloud funny. 

Steve Smith, the man recording the audio tapes, is dyslectic and unable to write so he tapes his thoughts and activities. Alas, the program that translates his audio tapes into written text is not especially good. Thus, “missiles” is actually the name of one of the central characters, Miss Isles. Swearing, as our hero is inclined to do, is written as s[EXPLICT]t. And people from his life pop up without much explanation since he, of course, knows who they are.

Edith Twyford, long dead herself, was the author of six children’s books that have fallen out of favor due to the considerable prejudices she held. But 40 years ago Smith’s beloved teacher Miss Isles had read one of her books to her class of six inner city Londoners with learning disabilities and taken them on a field trip to Edith Twyford’s house and suggested there was a treasure. She then disappeared.

Our hero, if one can use the term for a man who has spent most of his life as a criminal and many years in prison where he finally learned to read, once acquired one of Twyford’s books with all sorts of writing in the margins. Now, out on parole with nothing much to do, he decides to solve the code, a code he is convinced will lead him to buried treasure.

Remembering Christopher Fowler

British author Christopher Fowler, best known among mystery readers for his books featuring Arthur Bryant and John May, detectives in London’s Peculiar Crimes Unit, died March 3. He was 69.

The Peculiar Crimes Unit made its debut in 2003 with Full Dark House, introducing an irascible but brilliant crime-fighting duo solving cases from World War II to the present—each a “peculiar” case in their own peculiar way.

The newest book featuring our heroes is the non-fiction Bryant & May: Peculiar London (2022), a tongue-in-cheek travel guide. The city’s oldest-serving detectives take readers on a most peculiar tour of the city and some of its best-kept secrets.

Our Traveling Book Bag

Jeanette DeBlois of Sanford knows how to travel. She fills her Mainely Murders book bag with specially-selected titles she saves for her annual trip and heads for Hawaii.

While there, she and her cousin (and fellow Mainely Murders customer) Jeanne Broussard of Sulphur, Louisiana, checked out an organic sunflower field owned by a biofuel company in Wailuku, Maui, and open to the public.

Coming in April

For our many customers who are also patrons of local libraries, please feel free to pass along this list, albeit an abbreviated one, to your librarians.

Jean-Luc Bannalec, Body by the Sea [Brittany #8]

Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke, Where Are the Children Now? [Sequel to Where Are the Children?]

Elly Griffiths, The Final Remains [Ruth Galloway #15]

C.S. Harris, Who Cries for the Lost [Sebastian St. Cyr #18]

Michael Jecks, Portrait of a Murder [The Art of Murder #2]

John Lawton, Moscow Exile [Joe Wilderness #4]

Dennis Lehane, Small Mercies [NS]

Megan Miranda, The Only Survivors [NS]

Kate Morton, Homecoming [NS]

Thomas Mullen, Blind Spots [NS]

T. Jefferson Parker, The Rescue [NS]

Anne Perry, The Fourth Enemy [Daniel Pitt #6]

Peter Robinson, Standing in the Shadows [Inspector Banks #28]

Will Thomas, Heart of the Nile [Barker & Llewelyn #14]

Victoria Thompson, Murder on Bedford Street [Gaslight #26]

Antii Tuomainen, The Moose Paradox [Henri Koskinen #2]

Customers Recommend

Flavia de Luce, the wonderful creation of Canadian writer Alan Bradley, has a unique way of looking at life.

Linda Healey of Yarmouth is a fan of the 11-year-old sleuth and aspiring chemist in a small English village in the 1950s. She particularly likes this Flavia quote, so much so that she illustrated it along with Flavia’s “best friend,” her bicycle Gladys. 

Flavia made her debut in The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (2009). 

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.