December 2022


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


Rex Stout, creator of

Nero Wolfe was born December 1, 1896, in Noblesville, Indiana. In his long-running series, he paired the laid-back detective (the rotund, orchid-loving, beer-swilling Wolfe) with the hard-nosed private eye (Archie Goodwin). 

Stout, a Mystery Writers of America Grand Master who died in 1975, remains popular to this day, with his own society of devotees, The Wolfe Pack. 

Cornell Woolrich

 (William Irish/George Hopley), was born December 4, 1903, in New York City and, with brief forays to Mexico and California, lived there until his death in 1968. His 40-plus books, which include many short story collections, are said to be the basis of more noir movies (including Rear Window, The Bride Wore Black, and Night Has a Thousand Eyes) than any other writer. 

Philip R. Craig, born December 10, 1933,

in California, was best known for his series starring Jefferson (J.W.) Jackson, an ex-Boston cop on Martha's Vineyard. (Craig himself spent most of his adult life in Boston.) In addition to the 19 titles in the series, he teamed up with friend and fishing buddy William Tapply on three books, in which Jackson stars alongside Tapply's Brady Coyne. Craig died in 2007.

Kenneth Millar, born December 13, 1915, rose to fame writing under

the name Ross MacDonald. Lew Archer, his most well-known creation, was an ex-cop-turned-private investigator. A Mystery Writers of America Grand Master—as was his wife, Margaret Millarhe died in 1983. 

Mary Higgins Clark,

born December 24, 1927, in The Bronx, was often dubbed the Queen of American Suspense. Her books, which first appeared in 1975 (Where Are the Children?), were bestsellers year after year. By the time of her death in 2020, her books had sold more than 100 million copies.

Jane Langton was born 

December 30, 1922. She was first known as a writer of children's books but gained greater fame as a mystery writer. Her Homer Kelly books—a mainstay on our New England shelves—include the author's pen-and-ink drawings. She died in 2018, a year after being named a MWA Grand Master.


Signed Firsts

Signed first editions have long been held in high esteem by book lovers. Many of us have our own, if limited, collections.


While from the beginning our inventory has been focused on readers, not collectors, we do have some special finds. Signed, mylar-covered first editions of authors Louise Penny, Tess Gerritsen, Lee Child, David BaldacciMichael ConnellyRobert Crais, and others.

Own a signed copy of a favorite title. How about signed copies from each of your favorite authors? Purchase for yourself or as a gift. Prices vary and supply limited. Let us know the author and we'll reply with a list of available signed books.


Maine Has Bookstores For Everyone

Maine has something for everyoneincluding 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.  



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

(Through December 31)



It’s the holiday season—the biggest gift-giving event of the year. We’re ready to help you please the mystery readers in your life. And, don’t forget to include yourself on your shopping list.

Whether you’re looking for the latest title from your favorite authors—like recent releases by David Rosenfelt, Louise Penny, Michael Connelly, Mick Herron, Ann Cleeves, and others—to classics from a by-gone era, you’ll find it here.

Our British Library of Crime Classics shelves are bursting at the seams. And, as usual, our selection of international titles is second to none.

And, if you don’t get (or give) enough books this holiday season, join us the last four days of the year, December 28-31, for our inventory reduction sale. See details below.

As we’ve mentioned, our future plans are in flux. Will Mainely Murders be back in the spring? Will we primarily focus on mail orders? Perhaps a combination of mail orders and limited store openings? Time will tell. But much will depend on our holiday sales. 

We hope to see you soon.

Ann and Paula

Partners in Crime


Shop For Holidays NOW 

Be warned: the pandemic is still very much in evidence—putting a halt to some people’s favorite tradition: last-minute Christmas shopping.

In our small shop, we have only limited control over inventory—even less so during the holiday season. And, of course, no control at all over delivery issues.

If books are on your shopping list this year—and we trust they will be—we advise you to shop now. If you see a book on our shelves, buy it. In all likelihood, most books sold from our current inventory will not be replaced. If you’re a mail-order customer, send us that wish list now.

Ho-Ho Homicide

Ring in the Christmas season with holiday-themed mysteries. 

If the season isn’t chaotic enough, there’s always a healthy (or not-so-healthy) dose of murder and mayhem—all in good spirits, of course. 

Celebrate the season in Victorian England with Anne Perry’s 20th delightful Christmas tale, The Christmas Deliverance. Or stay closer to home and enjoy Eggnog Murder, three Maine holiday novellas. For the serious Christmas crime aficionado, it doesn’t get any better than Otto Penzler’s The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries.

Check out our Christmas titles while they last—from the classics of the Golden Age to the increasingly popular contemporary American cozies. Our personal favorites are British classics, now available in reprint editions or in collections.

At Mainely Murders, we have a theory: the contents of every Christmas stocking should include at least one mystery. 

It’s No Mystery

… that we love Maine. This holiday season, spread the love with a sure-to-please gift that will delight any Mainer. And the people you know who wish they lived here.

Maine Towns is a deck of playing cards that includes 52 unique cards each featuring one of Maine's beautiful towns. Every card includes key information about its town, including a picture, population, date of incorporation, location, and slogan.

$10 while supplies last.

Post-Christmas Sale 

Plan to stock up on your winter reading. Word has it that it’s going to be a long one.

Join us December 28-31 for our inventory reduction sale. Half price on all in-stock contemporary American fiction, hardback and paperback.* Also, half-price on all books in our Cozy Corner annex.

All Christmas-theme books also one-half price.

*Maine/New England books not included.

Gerry Boyle’s Robbed Blind

Jack McMorrow Is Back

Maine’s Gerry Boyle and his investigative reporter Jack McMorrow are back after a three-year absence—it seems longer since 2019’s Random Acts—with his 13th series title, Robbed Blind.

Aging investigative reporter McMorrow is tired and finding it harder to keep faith in a society with few rules, except “Don’t get caught.”

In this insightful and thought-provoking story, McMorrow brings his reporting skills to bear for a story he knows may never be written—risking his own life to ensure that in this case of good v. evil, good won’t go down without a fight.

Ever since his series debut, Deadline, almost 30 years ago, Boyle has never wavered from his obvious love of rural Maine and its people. If you’re a fan, this is one you won’t want to miss.

From Books to the Small Screen

Last month, we asked you to name your favorite contemporary tv detective, adapted from a series of novels. We received many replies.

Vera Stanhope, the East Yorkshire detective inspector from the series adapted from the books of British author Ann Cleeveswhich inspired the wonderful tv show Vera—was the most-often mentioned. 

Among those placing Vera at the top of their list was Michelle Geraghty of Whitman, Massachusetts:

My favorite of all time is Vera, adapted from the novels by Ann Cleeves. She is a complex character who is intelligent, brash, and staunchly loyal to the detectives who work under her. She can be cutting but also shows a softer side when it is needed. Brenda Blethyn plays the character just the way I imagine Vera to be. She brings Vera alive from the pages of the books. 


Anne Sabach of Tully, New York, agrees that Ann Cleeves’ characters—whether in Yorkshire, England, or on Scotland’s Shetland Islands—were just made for the small screen.

I love both Ann Cleeves’ Vera Stanhope and Jimmy Perez. Great reads with the landscape a rich character.


Dave DeInnocentis of Andover, Massachusetts, says his favorite comes from American author Michael Connelly’s novels featuring Los Angeles homicide detective Harry Bosch. 

Harry Bosch is tops on the page and tops on the tube.


Robert Borkow of Natick, Massachusetts, offers up what might be a less familiar detective, Endeavor Morse, from the British tv series, Endeavor, a prequel to the long-running Inspector Morse, inspired by the Oxford-set books of Colin Dexter.

Endeavor. Without a doubt Endeavor. Suspenseful, thought provoking, and mind boggling all at once. It’s amusing that Oxford considers him to be a failure. His character is always developing and is highlighted with his dark past, his brilliance, and his social/emotional escapades. To me, Endeavor is Poirot and Holmes rolled into one. Watch every minute because just when you think he has solved the case, there is one more incredible twist. 


Lynda Pollock of Lilburn, Georgia, has two favorites, both inspired by classics. Her only objection she says is that far too few stories made it to the small screen:

Margery Allingham’s Campion is a fabulous series with Peter Davidson and Ngaio Marsh’s Roderick Alleyn with Patrick Malahide and Belinda Lang.


We also promised to tell you ours. Ann’s is Jackson Lamb and his team at Slough House, from the series by Mick Herron. As for Paula: Ann Cleeves’ Vera Stanhope. She’s even got the hat to prove it!

Coming in December

Nearly three years into the pandemic, new releases are still being impacted. Publication schedules have been alteredfrom dates being pushed back to outright cancellations. Find more at and

M.C. Beaton and R.W. Green, Devil’s Delight [Agatha Raisin #33]

Simon Brett, Waste of a Life [Decluttering #3]

Marc Cameron, Tom Clancy: Red Winter [Jack Ryan continuation]

Kate Carlisle, Dressed to Drill [Fixer-Upper #10]

Max Allan Collins, The Big Bundle [Nate Heller #18]

Robin Cook, Night Shift [Montgomery & Stapleton #12]

Charles Cumming, Judas 62 [Box 88 #2]

Mary Daheim, Lady McDeath [Bed-and-Breakfast #32]

Martin Edwards, Blackstone Fell [Rachel Savernake #3] 

Christopher Fowler, Bryant & May: Peculiar London [Peculiar Crimes #19]

Keigo Higashino, Wings of the Kirin [Kyoichito Kaga #8]

Jeff Lindsay, Three-Edged Sword [Riley Wolfe #3]

Peter Lovesey, Showstopper [Peter Diamond #21]

Robert McCammon, The King of Shadows [Matthew Corbett #8]

Catriona McPherson, Scot in a Trap [Last Ditch #6]

Caro Ramsay. The Devil Stone [Christine Caplin #1]

J.D. Robb, Desperation in Death [Eve Dallas #55]

Paige Shelton, Winter’s End [Alaska Wild #4]

Stephen Spotswood, Secrets Typed in Blood [Pentecost & Parker #3]

Viveca Sten, Hidden in Snow [Are Murders #1]

John Straley, Blown by the Same Wind [Cold Storage #4]

Victoria Thompson, City of Fortune [Counterfeit Lady #6]

M.J. Trow, The Clerk's Tale [Geoffrey Chaucer #3] 

Our Customers Recommend

Marilyn Brooks of Needham, Massachusetts, always hits the sweet spot with her reviews. When Paula read Marilyn’s review of this new collection, a salute to Agatha Christie’s Jane Marple, she immediately added it to her to-be-read pile.

As always, thanks to Marilyn for allowing us to share her review from

Marple: Twelve New Mysteries

Miss Jane Marple of St. Mary Mead, England, was introduced to the reading public by Agatha Christie 95 years ago. She made her first public appearance in the December 1927 issue of The Royal Magazine in “The Tuesday Night Club.” 

The Club came about when a group of people, including Miss Marple, decided to meet each Tuesday. The members took turns introducing a mystery of which they had personal knowledge, and to which, of course, they knew the answer. The other members each tried to solve the crime, using their professional expertise or life experiences to arrive at the correct answer. That was the beginning of it all.

The members consisted of Raymond West, Miss Marple’s nephew and an author; Joyce Lemprière, an artist; Dr. Pender, a clergyman; Sir Henry Clithering, formerly of Scotland Yard; Mr. Petherick, a solicitor; and, of course, Jane Marple.

Even in 1927, Miss Marple is considered “an old lady,” so it’s hard to imagine just how old she is now. But some people/characters are ageless, and Jane Marple is one of them.

In Marple: Twelve New Mysteries, the age issue is circumvented by placing all the stories in the past, mostly without dates. One or two take place in the 1960s as referenced by mini-skirts and The Beatles, while others could have taken place at any time after 1927. But Jane Marple’s age isn’t really important; her intellect and her intuition are still first rate even into her “second century.”

The stories in this collection were written by 12 female authors. I particularly enjoyed “The Second Murder at the Vicarage” by Val McDermid, which brought back some favorite characters from Agatha Christie’s original novel, The Murder at the Vicarage—the clergyman Mr. Clement, his wife Griselda, his nephew Dennis, and Inspector Slack.

Another extremely clever take-off is “Murder at the Villa Rosa” by Elly Griffiths, in which the protagonist of the story is plotting the best way to kill Ripley. I can’t say any more without spoiling the story, but those familiar with Ms. Christie’s love-hate relationship with one of her creations will be delighted with this entry.

Marple: Twelve New Mysteries is a delightful homage to Jane Marple’s creator. The lady from St. Mary Mead was one of the first popular female amateur investigators, leading the way for many other women to follow. 


Customer and mystery blogger Linda Baker of Lawrenceville, New Jersey, regularly reviews what she’s been reading at 

Here she shares with our readers the newest title, and the first in a new series, by Ausma Zehanat Khan, already the author of a series featuring Esa Khattak, a second-generation Canadian Muslim, head of the Community Policing Section, and detective sergeant Rachel Getty, in Toronto.

Blackwater Falls, Ausma Zehanat Khan

The picturesque town of Blackwater Falls in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado seems an ideal place to live and work. 

The setting is glorious, with camping and trails for visitors. The leading employers are Apex Dynamics, a tech research firm, and Natural Foods, a meatpacking plant. There is also a large population of Muslim refugees from all over the world, primarily Syria and Somalia, most of whom work at Natural Foods.

Underneath the surface, however, bubbles a stew of hate and corruption. The hate comes from a prominent evangelical church and its accompanying biker gang, the Disciples. The corruption stems from the Sheriff, who has a finger in every pie and absolute control in the town.

Inaya Rahman is a local who has returned after a traumatic stint at the Chicago PD. She is part of the new Community Response Unit, led by Lt. Waqas Seif. 

Her first significant crime is genuinely horrific, the murder of a promising refugee student, Razan Elkader. Razan was nailed to the door of the local Mosque in a sick parody of the Crucifixion. The disappearance of two Muslim teenage girls preceded the murder of Razan, who were ruled runaways by the Sheriff with little to no investigation. Neither the church nor the Sheriff has escaped scrutiny. The FBI has an operative implanted with the Disciples and the police department.

Blackwater Falls is a complex and timely novel in which just about everyone's motives are suspect at one time or another. Inaya is a well-portrayed character, as are her Hispanic partner and a Black firebrand attorney. Both are female, and the three become close friends and colleagues. 

I suppose I am as ignorant as the average American about the lives of immigrants. Blackwater Falls gave me a look into some of those lives, especially that of a Muslim woman who wants to operate as a professional yet feels the tug of her religious beliefs. Inaya's decision to wear the hijab when the other women in her family do not is just one instance. 

The themes of violence and social justice resonate in Blackwater Falls and make for a compelling read. 

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.