August 2023


1 Bourne Street, Kennebunk, ME 04043


[email protected]

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.

Carter Brown, born August 1, 1923, was the pseudonym of Alan Geoffrey Yates, an English-born Australian writer of detective fiction. He died in 1985, in Sydney. In 1997, he was posthumously awarded a Ned Kelly Award, Australia's leading literary award for crime writing, for his lifelong contribution to the art.

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 in 1975.


Robert van Gulik, author of the Judge Dee mysteries, was born August 9, 1910, in Zutphen, Holland. 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, Missouri. Named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America in 1978, she died in 1993.

Mary Roberts Rinehart, born August 12, 1876, in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, was often called the American Agatha Christie. She published her first mystery novel, The Circular Staircase, in 1908, which introduced the "had I but known" narrative style. She died in 1958. 


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, 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 of the

Dr. Audley/Col. Butler books and died in 2019.

Margaret Maron, born August 25, 1938, in Greensboro, North Carolina, was best known for two mystery series--the first nine books featuring Sigrid Harald, a NYPD lieutenant; the second (20 titles) with North Carolina Judge Deborah Knott. The Mystery Writers of America named Maron a Grand Master in 2013. She died in 2021. 

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.


In the Beginning...

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

Linda Baker of Lawrenceville, New Jersey, says her all-time favorite opening line is from Deanna Raybourn’s Silent in the Grave, the 2007 debut of her series featuring Lady Julia Gray, a young widow in 1880s London. 

“To say that I met Nicholas Brisbane over my husband’s dead body is not entirely accurate. Edward, it should be noted, was still twitching upon the floor.” 

How important to you are those first few words? Do you have a memorable opening from mystery/detective fiction? Share it at [email protected] (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 pamphlet--conveniently organized by location throughout the state--is 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.  



For Our 13th and Final Year


10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.


September 16th


Thirteen years, thousands of books. Now, just a matter of weeks before our September closing. We like the word Retirement.

We’ve been pleasantly overwhelmed with visits and best wishes from customers--many of whom have supported us from the very beginning 13 years ago. They’ve come not only with their book lists--many to fill holes in their collections--but also with food, flowers, and other gifts.

If you’ve visited us lately, you know that our shelves are thinning out. But, you’ll still find bestsellers like Louise Penny, Martin Walker, Ann Cleeves, Elly Griffiths, and Paul Doiron, to name a few, as well as the American and international authors and titles you’ve come to expect here. Classics, both American and British, have long been an important part of our offerings--one that few bookstores highlight--and we’re happy to see they’re attracting more customers than ever. 

Clearly, the vast selection of mysteries for which we’ve become well known is shrinking, with only a small percentage of books sold being replaced. But, it’s a great time to try some new-to-you authors and titles.

With time running out before we bid you adieu, we hope to see you soon.

Happy Reading,

Ann and Paula

Partners in Crime


Our August Picks

New releases abound this month, from cozies to the noir, and everything in between.

What Never Happened, Rachel Howzell Hall

Rachel Howzell Hall first captured our attention with her series featuring Elouise “Lou” Norton, a Black Los Angeles homicide detective known as “Lockjaw.” She’s gone on to write one highly praised standalone after another--with her trademark smart writing, memorable characters, and, always, one dark secret after another.

There’s a reason she’s become a favorite among authors featured on our Black Lives Matter shelves.

What Never Happened opens with Colette “Coco” Weber returning to her Catalina Island home, where, 20 years before, she was the sole survivor of a deadly home invasion.

Almost immediately, you know there’s trouble ahead.


With our closure on the horizon, we find ourselves fielding many questions. 

Q: What will you do with the leftover books?

A: Leftover books? We’re hoping we won’t have many. A little optimistic, but we’re the same women who 13 years ago opened a small specialty shop when others were decrying the death of brick-and-mortar bookstores.

Realistically, however, some books may end up going to other bookdealers. However, we anticipate many going to libraries, charity shops, and other non-profit organizations.

Q: What will become of Nick and Nora?

A: Our “mascots,” Nick and Nora, named after Dashiell Hammett’s Nick and Nora Charles (The Thin Man), have been greeting customers for years. Like us, they’re ready for change--looking forward to retirement in our own garden plot. They have, however, been impressed with the number of visitors who offer to take them home.

Celebrate These Birthdays

And Save 50 Percent

We love birthdays; yes, even at our advanced years!

Throughout August purchase in-stock titles by this month’s featured birthday authors--Carter Brown, P.D. James, Per Wahloo, Robert van Gulick, Dorothy B. Hughes, Mary Roberts Rinehart, Steig Larsson, Georgette Heyer, Anthony Price, Margaret Maron, and Earl Derr Biggers--and receive 50 percent off.

Whether it’s a re-visit with an old favorite or an introduction to one of the classic writers of yesterday, there’s never been a better time to celebrate and save. 

A Farmers’ Market to Die For 

Saturday visitors to Mainely Murders are always in for a treat: mysteries and food.

The Kennebunk Farmers Market, only steps outside our door, is one of the best of the many throughout Maine. We love the local market and relish (no pun intended) in the goodies at each vender’s stall.

Fresh produce, flowers and plants, baked goods, homemade jams and condiments, even meat and fish.

Despite the proximity to Mainely Murders, our market bears little resemblance to Bailey’s, the setting for Paige Shelton’s Farmers’ Market Mystery series (Farm Fresh Market, Fruit of All Evil, Crops and Robbers, A Killer Maize, Merry Market Murder, and Basket Full of Murder).

Our Traveling Book Bag

Our customers are not only passionate about mysteries, they’re passionate travelers, too.

Our Mainely Murders book bag has done a lot of traveling over the last--most recently with Priscilla and Ross Wyman of Kennebunkport to the Standing Stones of Stenness, a Neolithic monument on Scotland’s Orkney Islands.

To the Wyman’s and all the others who have shared with us their traveling adventures, thank you. 

Coming in August

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.

Ellie Alexander, Catch Me If You Candy [Bakeshop Mysteries #17]

Donna Andrews, Birder, She Wrote [Meg Langslow #33]

Allison Brennan, North of Nowhere [NS]

Emily Brightwell, Mrs. Jeffries Aims to Win [Mrs. Jeffries #41]

Lucy Burdette, A Clue in the Crumbs [Key West Food Critic #13]

James Byrne, Deadlock [Dez Limerick #2]

Ally Carter, The Blond Identity [NS]

Laura Cass, Troubling Tail [Bookmobile Cat #11]

Laura Childs, Honey Drop Dead [Tea Shop #26]

Cate Conte, Nine Lives and Alibis [Cat Cafe #7]

Maddie Day, Murder at a Cape Bookstore [Cozy Capers Book Group #5]

Martin Edwards, The Puzzle of Blackstone Lodge [Rachel Savernake #3]

Kate Ellis, The Killing Place [DI Wesley Peterson #27]

Alice Feeney, Good Bad Girl [NS]

W.E.B. Griffin and William E. Butterworth IV, The Attack [Badge of Honor #14]

Rachel Howzell Hall, What Never Happened [NS]

David Hewson, The Borgia Portrait [Venice #2]

Naomi Hirahara, Evergreen [Japantown #2]

Sandie Jones, The Trade Off [NS]

Vaseem Khan, Death of a Lesser God [Malabar House #4] 

Joe R. Lansdale, Things Get Ugly: The Best Crime Fiction of Joe R. Lansdale [SS]

Catherine Lloyd, Miss Morton and the Spirits of the Underworld [Miss Morton #2]

Margaret Loudon, A Deadly Dedication [Open Book #4]

Gilliam McAllister, Just Another Missing Person [NS]

Alexander McCall Smith, The Discreet Charm of the Big Bad Wolf [Varg #4]

G.M. Malliet, Death in Print [St. Just #5]

Alyssa Maxwell, Murder at the Elms [Gilded Newport #11] 

Denise Mina, Second Murderer [Philip Marlow]

Denise Mina, Three Fires [NS]

B.A. Paris, The Prisoner [NS]

Sarah Pekkanen, Gone Tonight [NS]

Hank Phillippi Ryan, The House Guest [NS] 

Mark Pryor, The Dark Edge of Night [Henri Lefort #2]

Caro Ramsey, In Her Blood [Christine Caplan #3]

Kathy Reichs, The Bone Hacker [Temperance Brennen #22]

Karin Slaughter, After That Night [Trent #11]

Halley SuttonThe Hurricane Blonde [NS]

Customers Recommend

We love it when customers share what they’ve been reading. Marilyn Brooks of Needham, Massachusetts, is a favorite mystery reviewer/blogger (

This month, she turned to the newest release by Linwood Barclay, author of some 20 novels, translated into more than two dozen languages. 

The Lie Maker, Linwood Barclay

We all know that people are complicated, that there may be many, many aspects to an individual. In The Lie Maker, Linwood Barclay’s latest novel, we learn that the relationship between a criminal father and his son can lead to an outcome no one could have predicted.

When the book opens, a man is taken away from his wife and young son and put into the Federal Witness Protection Program. His wife refuses to go with him, and the child remains with her. 

As the father is about to enter the government car that will take him to his new life, his son runs after him, pleading for his father to say he’s sorry so that he can remain home with his family. “Sorry isn’t good enough sometimes . . . I killed people. Sorry just doesn’t cut it.”

The son grows up to be an author, although not a financially successful one. He’s written two novels under a pen name, and even his “real name” isn’t the name he was born with. After his father left, his mother remarried; he took his stepfather’s name, so his name is now Jack Givens.

Jack is definitely down on his luck, and he’s even more disheartened when his agent tells him that his editor isn’t interested in the book he just completed. However, the agent says he’s been contacted by someone who may have a job for Jack, one that could turn out to be more lucrative than his book would have been. It all seems a bit strange to Jack, having to contact an unknown person on a burner phone, but he’s desperate enough to listen to almost any opportunity.

When he arrives at the Boston office of Pandora Importing, he discovers that it’s a cover for the U. S. Marshals Service, the government agency that put his father in the Witness Protection Program. The marshal, Gwen Kaminsky, appears ignorant of that fact, and Jack doesn’t inform her of it.

She tells him that members of the Service who have read his two published novels are impressed “by the characters, how developed they were…I’m told the characters were very authentic, very three dimensional.” The Service, Gwen informs him, is looking for people who can create realistic backstories for those who enter the Program, and Jack’s name was given to her. The money is more than Jack had received for his previous novels, so he agrees to start creating a story for a man in the Program.

What Jack doesn’t tell Gwen is that a major reason he’s agreeing to take the job is the possibility that it will help him locate his father. Although it was forbidden, Jack’s father had contacted him several times over the years, although it’s been some time since their last meeting.

Gwen impresses upon Jack that everything he does is totally confidential, not to be shared with anyone. Jack agrees, but the woman he’s dating, an investigative reporter, naturally wants to find out about his new job, and the more he says he can’t tell her anything about it, the more she is determined to get the information on her own.

“I should warn you,” she says. “You’ve presented a challenge to me.”

As were all of Linwood Barclay’s previous novels, this one is outstanding. The characters are believable, the plot is clever, and the twists and turns will keep you guessing throughout the book. 


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.