March 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.

Mickey Spillane, creator of the PI Mike Hammer series, was born

March 9, 1918, in Brooklyn. Designated a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America in 1996, he died in 2006. 


Elizabeth Linnington, who also wrote under the names of Dell Shannon and Lesley Egan, among others, was born March 11, 1921, in Aurora, Illinois. Several times an Edgar finalist, she died in 1988. 


In the Beginning...

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

Most recently, it was from the pen of Anne Holt, one of our favorite Scandinavian (Norwegian) authors. How could anyone resist this opening?

"She no longer knew how many people she’d killed. It didn’t really matter anyway. Quality was more important than quantity in most professions.” —The Final Murder, 2004, also published as What Never Happens.

Yes, there’s a reason we’re always happy to recommend Holt, the author of several fine series, to our customers.

How important to you are those first few words? Do you have a memorable opening from mystery/detective fiction? Share it at (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 March, and the calendar turns to spring in just three weeks. We’re pretty confident that will be the case here in Paris, maybe less so back home in Maine. A hint here is the city gardeners who are planting flowers in public spaces and cutting back trees. Soon the colorful early bulbs will be breaking through the ground and the trees blossoming. In the past we’ve returned home to Maine only to find that winter still holds a firm grip.

Fortunately, this year we won’t be returning home until the latter part of April, so we hope to see that spring has arrived—at least a bit of it. If not, we’ll be very, very unhappy.

While we're still here in Paris, we're looking forward to the last two rounds of Six Nations rugby. Over the years we’ve become devotees. It’s much, much faster than the NFL—with no breaks except for a short half time (or severe injury) and lots of action. Best of all, Ann gets to root for Scotland (not usually the top team but, already, they’re beaten England, which is pretty much the main thing). And since we watch on French TV, we improve our French very slightly.

In the meantime, happy reading.

Au Revoir,

Ann and Paula

Partners in Crime

P.S. People often ask us what we enjoy so much about travel. Where do we begin? But, to start, we quote Mark Twain, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness,” Need we say more?


Our March Picks

Good Dog, Bad Cop, David Rosenfelt 

Maine writer David Rosenfelt has garnered a lot of fans with his series with Andy Carpenter, the irreverent Paterson, New Jersey, defense attorney. His 27th title, Flop Dead Gorgeous, is set for release this summer.

But his more recent K-Team series—featuring retired police lieutenant Corey Douglas and his German Shepherd Simon Garfunkel, his former partner Laurie Carpenter, and her investigating partner Marcus Clark—is proving equally popular.

Good Cop, Bad Dog, book No. 4, finds the investigators out to solve a murder and clear the name of a former police colleague. Along with other fans, we’re confident the K-Team will be successful.


So Shall You Reap, Donna Leon

Since his introduction in Death at La Fenice, Donna Leon's Guido Brunetti continues to win over fans. There’s good reason. The Venetian police commissario is clearly one of the, if not the, most attractive of protagonists in all of crime fiction. 

Anyone who has ever spent time in Venice—or yearns to do so—will find Leon’s depiction of the city unequaled. Brunetti clearly loves his native city, but not without understanding its many shortcomings.


So Shall You Reap, the 32nd title in the series, opens with the investigation into the murder of an undocumented Sri Lankan immigrant—no easy task since he appears in no official record. It takes all the investigative skills of Brunetti and his team to find the murderer.

In Praise of a Special Library

As regular visitors here--we like to think of ourselves as “temporary Parisians”—what would we do without the wonderful American Library in Paris? 

We couldn’t possibly pack enough books. And, it becomes our part-time “office” here while writing this monthly newsletter. 

Established in 1920 under the auspices of the American Library Association, its core collection of books and periodicals were donated by American libraries to United States armed forces personnel serving in World War I. Today, located in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, the library has grown into the largest English-language lending library in Europe.

Members have access to a print collection of 100,000 books, e-resources, newspapers and periodicals, study spaces, and programs for adults and children, including author talks and book groups. Did we mention the best half-euro cups of coffee and hot chocolate around?

Our Recent Favorites 

Rarely does a day go by that someone doesn't ask us, "What's the best book you've read lately?" Yes, it happens even here in Paris. Here are a few we've really enjoyed.

Secrets Typed in Blood, Stephen Spotswood

Crime-solving duo par excellence, Willowjean (“Will”) Parker and her boss, famed detective Lillian Pentecost, are back in this third title. This time, their client is a writer whose grisly detective stories are turning up in real life. Can they find the perpetrator before more bodies appear? 


Showstopper, Peter Lovesey

When a popular British TV show is rumored to be cursed—on-site accidents, deaths, missing persons—it’s up to Bath detective Peter Diamond to find out what’s really happening. In his 21st Peter Diamond title, Peter Lovesey once again reveals why he’s long been considered among the very best of British crime writers. (As might be expected of someone who’s been a success for 52 years.)

It’s St. Patrick’s Day in Maine

Irish Coffee Murder, Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis, and Barbara Ross

We may be in Paris, but Irish Coffee Murder has us spending St. Patrick’s Day back home in Maine—thanks to this trio of novellas by Maine cozy writers Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis, and Barbara Ross.

In Leslie Meier’s "Irish Coffee Murder,” the first tale in this collection, it’s St. Paddy’s Day and part-time newspaper reporter Lucy Stone has the perfect story—that of four Irish step-dancing students from Tinker’s Cove on the cusp of making it big. A nice feature piece, but the story becomes headline news for all the wrong reasons when one girl’s mother is found dead.

Hayley Powell, the star of Lee Hollis’ popular series, is now the owner of Bar Harbor’s hot new restaurant. When she offers to cater the after-party for a popular comedian, who’s playing in his hometown for its St. Patrick’s Day celebration, she gets more than she’s bargained for in "Death of an Irish Coffee Drinker." When the star of the show drops dead after gulping down his post-show Irish coffee, it’s no joke.

Mainely Murders’ favorite cozy writer Barbara Ross, author of the Maine Clambake Mysteries, takes us back to Busman’s Harbor for a snowy St. Patrick’s Day in “Perked Up.” When the weather takes out the power, Julia Snowden and her family and friends opt for an evening of shared ghost stories—and Irish coffees. But, when the Snowden Family Clambake Company is involved, murder is almost always on the menu.

Murder and Mayhem 101

If mystery and detective fiction has taught us one thing it’s that murder and mayhem aren’t restricted to the big city. Indeed, villages and small towns—think the hamlets of fictional Midsomer County (England)—are murder.

No one knew that better than Agatha Christie and her iconic resident of the tiny village of St. Mary Mead, Miss Jane Marple. 

After all, in that picturesque small town it’s a fact: not only is the victim someone you know, but, most likely, so is the killer.

What We’ve Been Reading (Paula)

The Murder Rule, Dervla McTiernan

The opening of The Murder Rule had me hooked: “My name is Hannah Rokeby. I am a third-year law student at the University of Maine. . .”

This from the pen of Irish writer Dervla McTiernan. (Okay, she now lives in Australia, not Ireland, but both are a long way from Maine.)

If the opening hadn’t hooked me, there was more to entice me as we learn about Hannah, the young Mainer whose goal is ostensibly to join the University of Virginia’s Innocence Project, a program aimed at the “wrongly convicted.” 

She seems to have the right “credentials”—a strong belief in justice—but does she really? We soon learn differently: “They think I’m a young student, that I’m passionate about reforming a corrupt and brutal system. They think I’m working hard to impress them. They think I’m here to save an innocent man on death row. They’re wrong. I’m going to bury him.” 

Compared favorably with Tana French and Ruth Wareamong the best of today’s authors of psychological suspense—McTiernan is the real deal. I’ll be reading more from this writer.


Death of a Green-Eyed Monster, M.C. Beaton (with R.W. Green)

Two books—this one and The Murder Rule—couldn’t be more different.

The late M.C. Beaton is not a big favorite of mine. But, she was of my late mother-in-law, who never missed a new release, hence my commitment to read the continuing tales of Scotsman Hamish Macbeth.

In Death of a Green-Eyed Monster, the police sergeant’s love of his Highland village of Lochdubh is as strong as ever. And, a new woman has entered his life in the form of a just-transferred constable. Could she finally be “the one” for our often-engaged, but never married, Hamish?

Like all the books in this long-running series, there’s the usual village crime—things like poaching to which Hamish pretty much turns a blind eye—but something more sinister is coming to Lochdubh. 

Such a Quiet Place, Megan Miranda

I can think of no other American writer who does psychological suspense better than Megan Miranda. She never disappoints, and always has me looking in all the wrong directions. Such a Quiet Place (2021) is no exception. 

What better than a small seemingly idyllic neighborhood where, when a double murder takes place, every single resident bears some responsibility for the arrest and conviction of a young woman who claims to be innocent. When Ruby Fletcher’s guilty verdict is overturned—and she has the gall to return to Hollow’s Edge—her once neighbors will do just about anything to show, once again, that she doesn’t fit into this quiet little place. 

In this “perfect” little place, neighbors, each with secrets of their own, better be afraid. 

What We’ve Been Reading (Ann)

Murder Book, Thomas Perry

Ex-cop, now private investigator, Harry Duncan didn’t go looking for his newest case. Indeed, he only agrees at the behest of his ex-wife, now a U.S. Attorney. 

When a crime wave hits a number of small towns in middle America —and with the FBI unwilling to commit to a major investigation—Ellen Leicester turns to Duncan.

Although they’ve rarely spoken in 15 years, he, reluctantly, agrees to investigate. After all, even an ex-cop known for his unorthodox methods might have second thoughts about going after a well-organized crime machine.

But for Duncan, as well as his prosecutor ex-wife, the why for these crimes is totally unclear. What could these small towns have that the mob wants? None of them are especially wealthy; many are stagnant, fading into the landscape.

But, one thing is immediately obvious: this organization, a very large one indeed, isn’t keen on being investigated. And, it’s increasingly clear that both Duncan and Leicester are putting themselves in grave danger.

This latest from Thomas Perry, long a favorite of mine, gets its name from a book (a “murder book”) within the book, a notebook in which the detective keeps records, interviews, photos--everything he needs to build his case.

Murder Book is satisfying Thomas Perry. Not his best, but, with luck, a strong foundation for a new series. I enjoy his standalones, but series are fun, too. 

Coming in March

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.

James Benn, The Refusal Camp [SS]

Frances Brody, A Mansion for Murder [Kate Shackleton #13]

Julie Clark, The Lies I Tell [NS]

Paul Doherty, Dark Queen Wary [Margaret Beaufort #4]

Robert Dugoni, Her Deadly Game [NS]

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

Cora Harrison, The Deadly Weed [Reverend Mother #10]

J.A. Jance, Collateral Damage [Ali Reynolds #17]

William Landay, All That Is Mine I Carry With Me [NS]

Joe Lansdale, The Donut Legion [NS]

Donna Leon, So Shall You Reap [Brunetti #32]

Amulya Malladi, A Death in Denmark [Gabriel Prest #1]

Margaret Mizushima, Standing Dead [Timber Creek K-9 #8]

Harini Nagendra, Murder Under a Red Moon [Bangalore Detective Club #2]

Gigi Pandian, The Raven Thief [Secret Staircase #2]

Deanna Raybourn, A Sinister Revenge [Veronica Speedwell #8]

David Rosenfelt, Good Dog, Bad Cop [K-Team #4]

Sherry Thomas, A Tempest at Sea [Lady Sherlock #7]

Jacqueline Winspear, The White Lady [NS]

Customers Recommend

Friend and customer Linda Baker of Lawrenceville, New Jersey, writes about what she’s been reading on her blog ( Here, she shares a new find with our readers:

Murder at Haven’s Rock, Kelley Armstrong

Murder at Haven's Rock is a spin-off from the earlier seven-book Rockton series. Set in the Canadian Yukon, Rockton is one of the most unique crime series I have read, and I was sad to see it go, even though that storyline had run its course. 

Rockton was founded as a refuge for people on the run from abusive relationships and problems not of their own making. People with unpopular political views also made up the shifting population. Over the years, Rockton devolved into a money-making enterprise, allowing some unsavory and murderous characters to take refuge there. 

Sheriff Eric Dalton, who was born there, and his now-wife Casey Duncan are tasked with riding herd on the population. Casey was one of the latest residents running from her problems. Throughout the series, their relationship matures. Casey, in particular, grew more comfortable in her own skin. 

When Rockton met its end, the two had enough resources (along with others) to build a “new” Rockton called Haven's Rock. The plan was to stay away during the settlement building, which is nearly finished. 

Eric and Casey are called back because the project's architect has vanished into the forest. As one of the crew says, "shit happens up here." Does it ever!! There is a missing woman, a dead woman, an attacked worker, and a gold miner hiding in the forest. There is also a woman living in a highly camouflaged cottage who claims to be a nature photographer. 

Haven's Rock is not as secluded or safe as people hoped at the end. April, Casey's physician sister, has to come back when the bodies multiply. The new characters are certainly "colorful" and may have nefarious plans. The bad apples will go, but some others whose motives are not clear ask to remain. I predict another stellar series from Kelley Armstrong, one that will keep me guessing.

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.