July 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.

James M. Cain, born

July 1,1892, is often

compared to Dashiell

Hammett and Raymond Chandler. His most famous books, The Postman Always Rings Twice, Double Indemnity, and Mildred Pierce, were turned into movies that may be more well-known than the books. Cain, who died in 1977, was named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America in 1970.

Donald E. Westlake, three-time Edgar winner and 1993 Mystery Writers of America Grand Master, wrote more than 100 novels, many of which were turned into movies. His most famous mysteries were his Dortmunder comic crime series and the grimmer Parker series (as Richard Stark). Born in Brooklyn on July 12, 1933, he spent most of his life in New York City. He died in 2008.


Grand Master Erle Stanley Gardner, the creator of Perry Mason, was born July 17, 1889, in Malden, Massachusetts. Some of his 82 Mason titles (The Case of the...) were among the century's best-selling books. He died in 1970.


Raymond Chandler, born July 23, 1888, in Chicago, and one of the founders of the hard-boiled detective school, was also a noted screenwriter and was nominated for an Oscar for both Double Indemnity and The Blue Dahlia. He died in 1959.

John D. MacDonald was born July 24, 1916, in Sharon, Pennsylvania, and is remembered for his detective/thief Travis McGee. A Mystery Writers of America Grand Master, he died in 1985.

Josephine Tey, born July 25, 1896, in Inverness, Scotland, was a pseudonym used by Elizabeth MacKintosh.

Her novel The Daughter of Time was named the greatest crime novel of all time by the British Crime Writers Association. She died in 1952.

Chester Himes was born July 29, 1909, in Jefferson City, Missouri. His best- known mystery works were the Harlem Detective series, set in the 1950s and early 1960s featuring two Black policemen called Grave Digger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson. After 1953 he lived in France and Spain, where he died in 1984.


In the Beginning...

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

Michael Connelly, honored this year as a Mystery Writers of America Grand Master, drew readers into The Poet (1996), featuring reporter Jack McEvoy, with these few spare words, “Death is my beat.”


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.


There’s nothing like summer in Maine. Indeed, we believe there’s nothing like summer here at Mainely Murders. Just because we’ve announced that this summer, our 13th, will be our last, don’t think that we have nothing for you. 

It’s summer as usual. The bookcases inside are full. The outside display area--Cozy Corner, our sale cabinet, and themed carts--may attract your attention before you ever make it indoors.

But, as the summer wears on, our shelves will be thinning out. Between now and our September closing, we will be liquidating our inventory. That means that although we will continue to accept customer orders, we will not be replacing most books when sold.

If you’ve been waiting to fill in blank spots among your favorite authors or simply want to get started with unfamiliar writers, now’s the time.

In the meantime, happy reading.

Ann and Paula

Partners in Crime

P.S. It's official. Mainely Murders will close Saturday, September 16.


Our July Picks

July always has a myriad of new releases, from cozies to the noir.

David Rosenfelt, Flop Dead Gorgeous

Reluctant attorney Andy Carpenter, now “retired,” has long preferred to focus on his dog rescue organization than his Patterson, New Jersey, law practice. In truth, other than his wife and circle of close friends and colleagues, canines are his “real people.”

He’s made it his mission to match up rescued dogs with potential good owners. One of his most memorable placements was Mamie, a miniature French poodle adopted by Andy’s old girlfriend, Jenny Nichols, now a well-known actress.

When the actress’s co-star is found murdered--and the police suspect her--Jenny turns to Andy for help. 

Hard to believe this is Rosenfelt’s 27th Andy Carpenter title. 


Joanne Fluke, Pink Lemonade Cake Murder

“Culinary cozies” is our term for popular food-theme mysteries, a sub-genre that no one does better than Joanne Fluke. The Mystery Writers of America agree, naming her a 2023 MWA Grand Master.

Pink Lemonade Cake Murder is the 29th title in her series featuring Hannah Swensen, manager of The Cookie Jar in Lake Eden, Minnesota.

It’s the Tri-County Summer Solstice Celebration and Hannah has her hands full, serving up lip-smacking pink lemonade desserts. But the mood sours when a body turns up, leading revelers to wonder if the festivities mark both the longest day of the year and the deadliest.

The victim, a retired major league baseball player, had no end of detractors, and the police have a long list of suspects, including Hannah’s own mother. 

Celebrate These Birthdays

And Save 50 Percent

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

Throughout July purchase in-stock titles by this month’s featured birthday authors--James M. Cain, Donald Westlake, Erle Stanley Gardner, Raymond Chandler, John D. MacDonald, Josephine Tey, and Chester Himes--and receive 50 percent off.

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

Thanks, But No Thanks

We are no longer accepting books for cash, credit, or donation.

We urge you to donate your unwanted books to your local library or charity.

Books are meant to be shared. 

In The Steps of Tony Hillerman

The late Tony Hillerman, a Mystery Writers of America Grand Master, long ago set the bar for his depiction of Native American life and culture.

His 18 titles featuring Navajo Tribal Police officers Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee--the series taken on after his death by daughter Anne--have long been a reader favorite.

But for those who want to know more about our “first Americans,” we’ve put together a selection of other mystery writers who have put their stamp on native peoples. Among them: Margaret Coel, James Doss, Jean Hager, Stan Jones, William Kent Krueger, Mardi Oakley Medawar, Kirk Mitchell, Jake Page, Thomas Perry, Dana Stabenow, and Aimee and David Thurlo

Remembering Carol Higgins Clark

Author Carol Higgins Clark, who followed her mother Mary Higgins Clark into mystery writing, died June 12 in Los Angeles. She was 66.

Also an actress--she appeared in several made-for-tv movies based on her mother’s books--she honed her writing skills retyping her mother’s early manuscripts before going on to become a bestselling novelist herself.

Her first novel, Decked, appeared in 1992. She went on to write nearly 20 others, many of them Christmas-themed, featuring Regan Reilly, a Los Angeles private investigator.

Mary Higgins Clark died in 2020.

Remembering John Dunning

John Dunning, author of our favorite “bibliomystery” series featuring antiquarian bookseller Cliff Janeway, died in May after a long battle with dementia. He was 81.

A former Denver newspaperman-turned-bookseller and mystery writer, Dunning’s series featured a cop and rare book dealer and was an often-mentioned favorite of those of us whose passions include mysteries and bookstores.


Starting with Booked to Die in 1992, Dunning went on to write Bookman’s Wake, Bookman’s Promise, The Sign of the Book, and The Bookwoman’s Last Fling.


He and his wife Helen owned The Old Algonquin Bookstore in Denver for many years.

Remembering Julie Garwood

Julie Garwood, known for her prolific output of romantic-suspense titles, died June 8. She was 78.

She wrote more than 35 novels, sold in excess of 40 million copies, and was translated into 32 languages.

Garwood began her career writing historical romances before transitioning to romantic suspense, with her first, Heartbreaker, in 2000.

Growing up in a large Irish-American family, she often said she came by storytelling quite naturally. “The Irish relish getting all the details of every situation. Add in the fact that I was the sixth of seven children. Early in life I learned that self-expression had to be forceful, imaginative, and quick.”

Coming in July

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.

Ellery Adams, Murder in the Book Lover’s Loft [Book Retreat #9]

Lorna Barrett, A Questionable Character [Booktown #17]

Laurien Berenson, Peg and Rose Stir Up Trouble [Senior Sleuths #2]

Mark Billingham, The Last Dance [Declan Miller #1]

Robert Bryndza, Fear the Silence [NS]

James Lee Burke, Flags on the Bayou [NS]

Linda Castillo, An Evil Heart [Kate Burkholder #15]

Reed Farrel Coleman, Sleepless City [Nick Ryan #1] 

Lindsey Davis, Fatal Legacy [Lavia Albia #11]

Vicki Delany, Steeped in Malice [Tea by the Sea #4]

Joy Ellis, River’s Edge [Jackman & Evans #10]

Joanne Fluke, Pink Lemonade Cake Murder [Hannah Swensen #29]

Victoria Gilbert, A Cryptic Clue [Hunter & Clewe #1]

Leonard Goldberg, The Wayward Prince [Daughter of Sherlock Holmes #7]

Carol Goodman, The Bones of the Story [NS] 

Darci Hannah, Murder at the Pumpkin Pageant [Beacon Bakeshop #4]

Lee Hollis, Death of a Clam Digger [Hayley Powell #16]

Lars Kepler, The Spider [Killer Instinct #9]

Laura Lippman, Prom Mom [NS]

Sujata Massey, The Mistress of Bhatia House [Perveen Mistry #4]

Tom Mead, The Murder Wheel [Joseph Spector #2] 

Kate Mosse, Ghost Ship [Burning Chambers #3] 

James Patterson and James O. Born, Obsessed [Michael Bennett #15]

James Patterson and Brian Sitts, Circle of Death [NS]

Spencer Quinn, Mrs. Plansky’s Revenge [Mrs. Plansky #1]

David Rosenfelt, Flop Dead Gorgeous [Andy Carpenter #27]

Sofie Ryan, Scaredy Cat [Second Chance Cat #10]

Wendy Corsi Staub, Windfall [NS]

John Verdon, The Viper [Dave Gurney #8]

LynDee Walker, Tell No Lies [Faith McClellan #6]

Jessica Ward, The St. Ambrose School for Girls [NS]

Valerie Wilson Wesley, A Shimmer of Red [Odessa Jones #3]

Customers Recommend

Arnaldur Indridason is often called the “king of Icelandic mystery writers,” and rightly so. We’ve long been fans. His books, starting with Jar City (2004), enticed us to make our first trip to Iceland many years ago. His series featuring Reykjavik detective inspector Erlendur Sveinsson has been among our international bestsellers.

Marilyn Brooks of Needham, Massachusetts, is also an admirer, with high praise for the author’s most recent release.

The Girl by the Bridge, Arnaldur Indridason

Detective Konrád, formerly of the Reykjavik Police Department, is retired, but people keep reaching out to him for help.

An elderly couple, friends of his late wife, call on him about their missing granddaughter. She is the only child of their daughter who died years earlier in a car accident and left her daughter in her parents’ care. 

Danní had a typical Icelandic childhood, her grandmother says, but over the past few years she’s pulled away from her grandparents. They tell Konrád that they’ve just learned that Danní has been smuggling drugs into the country, and they’ve come to him for assistance in locating her.

Apparently Danní was seeing a young man named Lassi, although the grandparents never met him. Konrád finds Lassi’s address, and at his apartment he finds the body of Danní with a needle and syringe hanging from one of her arms. When they hear the news, her grandparents tell Konrád to keep investigating and discover the reason for her death.

At the same time, the detective is drawn into a closer examination of his own past. His late father had pretended to have psychic abilities, and during the Second World War he and a partner arranged phony séances, partly to fleece participants eager to hear from loved ones who had passed away and partly to make fun of their beliefs.

Konrád’s father had been stabbed to death many years ago, and his partner, Engilbert, drowned several months after that. Konrád hasn’t heard from Engilbert’s daughter Eygló in some time, but now she contacts him about two strange but related occurrences. Eygló has always been interested in the afterlife and has conducted séances over the years for bereaved clients, hoping to alleviate their suffering.

Eygló tells the detective about an experience she had when she was a child and its reoccurrence. She was at a birthday party and had “seen” a young girl who was looking for her lost doll. Now, years later, she tells the detective that she’s “seen” the girl again and knows the girl is long dead. Konrád tells her about the discovery years ago of a woman and her doll found in the Pond, both floating in the water, but he still doesn’t believe in Eygló’s psychic abilities.

Even years after the deaths of Konrád’s father and the girl who drowned in the Pond, the police don’t have all the answers. The murderer of Konrád’s father was never found, and the official police report calls the girl’s death a tragic accident. 

But there are many, many unresolved strands left to untangle--the death of Eygló’s father so soon after his partner’s death, the secret that the man who found the girl and her doll in the Pond is keeping, and Konrád’s belief that there’s more to the grandparents’ story than they are telling.

The Girl by the Bridge proves once again that Arnaldur Indridason is a master storyteller. In addition to the two mysteries featuring Konrád, he is the author of more than 11 novels about Detective Erlendur and is the only author to win the Glass Key Award for Best Nordic Crime Novel two years in a row. 

Go to www.marilynsmysteryreads to learn what else Marilyn’s been reading.

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.