May 2023


1 Bourne Street, Kennebunk, ME 04043


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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.

Leslie Charteris, the British-Chinese writer, was born May 12, 1907, in Singapore. He was both a novelist and a screenwriter, best known for his many books chronicling the adventures of his charming hero, Simon Templar, “The Saint.” He died in 1993.

Phoebe Atwood Taylor, best known for her Asey Mayo Cape Cod mysteries, was born May 18, 1909, in Boston. The series, beginning with

The Cape Cod Mystery 

(1931), numbered 24. As Alice Tipton, she wrote mysteries featuring Leonidas Witherall, retired academic and secret pulp fiction author. She died in 1976.  

Margery Allingham, born

May 20, 1904, in London, was the creator of Albert Campion, the suave London sleuth with noble blood. Allingham is one of our biggest English classic sellers. In all, she wrote some 20 Campion mysteries, starting with The Crime at Black Dudley (1929). She died in 1966. 

Arthur Conan Doyle, born May 22, 1859, in Edinburgh, wrote more than 50 books on numerous subjects during his career, but will be forever remembered for his creation of Sherlock Holmes. His first Holmes book, A Study in Scarlet, was published in 1887. Doyle died in 1930, but the Holmes legacy is as strong as ever.

Dashiell Hammett, born May 25, 1894, in Maryland, was master of the hard-boiled school of mysteries. Indeed, he was one who helped define it. While known for his Continental Op series (including The Dain Curse) and Sam Spade (The Maltese Falcon), he created one of our favorite mystery couples, Nick and Nora Charles, in The Thin Man (1934). He died in 1961.

Robert Ludlum, born May 25, 1927, in New York City, was the author of 27 thrillers, although best known as the creator of Jason Bourne in his original Bourne Trilogy series--The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, and The Bourne Ultimatum. He died in 2001, a year before the first Bourne movie hit the screen.

Tony Hillerman, who set the bar for writing about Native Americans, was born May 27, 1925, in Oklahoma. Lt. Joe Leaphorn and Sgt. Jim Chee, of the Navajo tribal police, were at the center of most of Hillerman's books. The Mystery Writers of America presented him with the 1991 Grand Master Award. He died in 2008.


Ian Fleming, the creator of the world's best-known spy, James Bond, was born May 28, 1908, in London. A one-time British intelligence agent, Fleming wrote his first Bond book, Casino Royale, in 1953. After his death in 1964, other writers picked up the Agent 007 reins.

G. K. Chesterton was born May 29, 1874, in London and died in 1936. Although he was a massively prolific writer, his fame today rests principally on a few of his popular books on Christianity and on his five books of short stories featuring Father Brown, a Roman Catholic priest who solves crimes through his under-standing of human evil.


In the Beginning...

We don’t need any incentive to be enticed by the books of British author Elly Griffiths. But, if a single few words were needed, the opening lines of the author’s 2022 title, Bleeding Hearts--her third title featuring Harbinder Kaur, a Sikh female detective sergeant now in London--would have done it.

“Is it possible to forget that you’ve committed a murder? Well, I’m here to tell you that it is.” 

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.  


 Re-Opening June 1

For Our 13th and Final Year

Until Then, Mail Orders Only


It’s May 1. And, we’re counting the days until we welcome you back to Mainely Murders. That’s right: just 31 days until we open our doors on our 13th season.

There’s always much to do in anticipation of the big day, perhaps more so this year as we prepare for our final fall closing. 

We’ll have our usual selection, from new releases to the classics. Our shelves are packed with contemporary American and international authors. Cozy Corner is loaded with mysteries on the light side. And, for those in search of bargains, there will be our signature mystery gift bags and a sale cabinet stuffed to the top.

While all this in-store preparation is underway, we’re now open for mail orders--via e-mail ([email protected]) or telephone (207-985-8706) and leave a message.

Hoping to see you soon.

Ann and Paula

Partners in Crime

P.S. Don't forget Mother's Day, Sunday, May 14. If Mom is a mystery reader, we can help. We’re not open yet, but we’ll be happy to help you surprise her with a gift card she can use on her next visit or for a mail order purchase. 


Our May Picks

May always has a myriad of new releases, from cozies to the noir, and everything in between.

Megan Abbott, Beware the Woman

Megan Abbott is one scary writer. Creepy, terrifying, chilling. All are apt adjectives to describe the books she’s written since her 2005 highly touted debut, Die A Little.

Beware the Woman, a gripping novel about a family gathering, is likely to bring Abbott an even larger following. 

In this tale, her 17th standalone title, Abbott once again reveals why she’s counted among the very best of today’s American writers of psychological suspense.


Arnaldur Indridason, The Girl by the Bridge

No one writer has done more to focus the spotlight on mystery writers in a small country than Iceland’s Arnaldur Indridason.

First with his award-winning series featuring Erlendur Sveinsson, a detective inspector in Reykjavik, and now expanded to at least two others, Indridason has managed to capture a very authentic picture of his fellow Icelanders.

Not only are the characters authentic, but so too are the author’s descriptions of the windswept volcanic landscape.

Early Birds

We all know that the “early bird catches the worm,” but here at Mainely Murders there’s more incentive than ever to visit as soon as you can. And, it has nothing to do with worms.

Over the next three months, we will be liquidating our inventory. That means that although we will continue to accept customer orders throughout the spring and summer, we will not be replacing books when sold.

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

Remembering Anne Perry

With heavy hearts we acknowledge the death of bestselling author Anne Perry. She died April 10 at the age of 84.

Best known as the author of the Thomas Pitt and William Monk series of historical detective fiction, Perry’s books have sold more than 26 million copies around the world.

Born Juliet Marion Hulme on October 28, 1938, in London, the author chose the name Anne Perry prior to publishing her debut novel, The Cater Street Hangman, in 1979. 

The novel was to become the first of 32 titles featuring Thomas and Charlotte Pitt, a police inspector and wife in Victorian London. In 1990, she published her first book, The Face of a Stranger, featuring William Monk, a police inspector and later private investigator in Victorian London. That series totaled 24 titles. 

Beginning in 2004 with A Christmas Journey, Perry published a special Christmas title every year, including A Christmas Deliverance in 2022.

Despite being one of the most prolific and lauded of writers, Perry, was, unfortunately forever known by some as a convicted murderer in New Zealand. In 1954, at the age of 15, she and a 16-year-old friend were tried and found guilty of the murder of the friend’s mother. After serving a five-year prison sentence, she changed her name and returned to the United Kingdom. 

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. 

Another Compelling Character

From Jacqueline Winspear

Fans of author Jacqueline Winspear and her 17-book series featuring Maisie Dobbs, a psychologist and private investigator building her practice in the aftermath of World War I Britain, are in for a treat.

The author’s 2023 release, The White Lady, introduces an equally compelling character in Elinor White--a former wartime operative, a veteran of two world wars, trained killer, and highly protective of her anonymity--as she’s drawn back into the world of menace she’s been desperate to leave behind.

Now living a quiet, private life in post-World War II rural Kent--where fellow residents are totally unaware of the dangers their “Miss White” had faced--Elinor is about to find herself facing down one of the most dangerous organized crime gangs in London, ultimately exposing corruption from Scotland Yard to the highest levels of government.

Fans of historical mysteries with a strong female character are sure to find Elinor, just like Masie Dobbs, a protagonist to embrace. 

What We’ve Been Reading (Paula)

Back to the Garden, Laurie R. King

Mystery Writers of America Grand Master (2022) Laurie King is most deserving of all the accolades she’s received. She’s long been one of my favorite American writers. 

Whether writing a five-book series featuring San Francisco homicide detective Kate Martinelli or her widely popular Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes titles (now numbering 19), King comes through with intelligent, suspenseful, finely detailed, intricately plotted stories every time. The same goes for her standalones.

Back to the Garden, the author’s most recent title, is textbook King.

The Gardener Estate, with its magnificent house, formal gardens, and art collection worthy of its storied past, remains one of the most prized properties in California.

But, when restoration work near one of its sculptures unearths a decades-old human skull, the next question is: What other secrets are buried there?

Meanwhile SFPD cold case investigator Raquel Laing--deep into working a serial-killer case that stretches back into the ‘70s--wonders if the Gardener Estate remains may be linked to her own hunt for victims of a murderer dubbed the Highwayman. 

I, for one, hope we haven’t seen the end of Inspector Raquel Laing. She has the makings of a character worthy of a new series.

The Way of the Bear, Anne Hillerman

The late Tony Hillerman introduced readers to the Navajo Nation and police officers Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee. Fifteen years after his death, the series is still very much alive, thanks to daughter Anne.

When her father died in 2008--after 18 Leaphorn and Chee titles and a Mystery Writers of America Grand Master career--Anne picked up where her dad left off. She wanted to keep the stories alive, while at the same time making one of her dad’s minor Navajo tribal police characters, Bernadette (Bernie) Manuelito, the lead.

As much as I loved her dad, I take equal delight in daughter Anne’s continuation of the series. The Way of the Bear, her seventh title, lives up to rest.

Utah’s Bears Ears National Monument, located at the edge of the Navajo Nation, has long been celebrated for its abundance of early human habitation sites and the discovery of unique fossils.

Jim Chee and Bernie Manuelito find the area stunningly beautiful, but before long the couple’s attention is focused on a pair of unexplained deaths and unprecedented violence. What started out as a visit to this achingly picturesque place soon finds the couple searching for answers. 

In trademark Hillerman (both father and daughter) style, The Way of the Bear, like its predecessors, paints a picture of ancient and enduring Navajo customs and traditions, as well as the role they continue to play in the lives of people who live there today.

Coming in May

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.

Megan Abbott, Beware the Woman [NS]

Linwood Barclay, The Die Maker [NS]

Fiona Buckley, The Net of Steel [Ursula Blanchard #22]

Jack Carr, Only the Dead [Terminal List #6]

Liv Constantine, The Senator’s Wife [NS]

Caroline B. Cooney, The Wrong Good Deed [NS]

Cleo Coyle, The Ghost Goes to the Dogs [Haunted Bookshop #9]

Candice Fox, Fire With Fire [NS]

Joe Ide, Fixit [IQ #6]

Arnaldur Indridason, The Girl by the Bridge [Detective Konrad #2]

Fuminori Nakamura, The Rope Artist [NS] 

James Patterson and Maxine Paetro, 23rd Midnight [Women’s Murder Club #23] 

Martin Cruz Smith, Independence Square [Arkady Renko #10]

Eric Van Lustbader, The Quantum Solution [Evan Ryder #4]

Ashley Weaver, Playing It Safe [Electra McDonnell #3]

Kate White, Between Two Strangers [NS]

Customers Recommend

Not the Ones Dead, Dana Stabenow

Dana Stabenow knows Alaska. Indeed, she’s a native Alaskan who’s been writing about her home state since 1992 and her debut, A Cold Day for Murder, for which she won an Edgar.

Kate Shugak, an ex-DA investigator-turned-PI, is the lead of that book and more than 20 others since then.

Marilyn Brooks of Needham, Massachusetts, is obviously a fan.

Reading a Kate Shugak mystery is like taking a tour of Alaska. The gorgeous descriptions of the state and the love its inhabitants have for it will make you want to hop on the next flight to The Last Frontier. But even in Alaska there is racism, greed, and murder.

The novel opens when Bobby Clark, a double-amputee military veteran, is returning home from a shopping trip to Ahtna, the nearest place to his home where one can buy the necessities of life. He knows what he needs to do to keep his life running smoothly--bringing fillets of fish, jars of chutney, or slabs of raspberry cake to various people who would speak up for him if things went sideways. It was &*%#@ exhausting to be Black in America, he thinks.

He stops by Kate Shugak’s house to tell her about what happened on his ride home when his truck was almost pushed off the road by a red pickup traveling in the opposite direction. He says they didn’t try to take over the road “until they saw who was behind the wheel.” He heard men laughing, but they stopped soon enough when Bobby got out of the truck and pointed his HK (Heckler and Koch) gun at them. The four men, all wearing desert camo, left in a hurry.

Kate promises to keep an eye out for the men in her role as a private investigator. Jim Chopin, her significant other and a former Alaska state trooper, agrees to do the same, but both privately believe the incident was a one-off.

Unfortunately, they are wrong; when they are shopping the next day, they see several men dressed in the camo that Bobby mentioned, as well as the red truck that he’d described.

There are two more disturbing appearances by men in these outfits, one barring admittance to a trail to a hiking couple and one at the Roadhouse bar. It appears that whatever this group is, they have decided to make themselves and their unwelcoming attitude known to all. Then two events occur almost simultaneously--a fire that destroys the bar and a midair collision that kills all the passengers on both planes.

Since one of the pilots was a man in his 80s, there’s some talk that he was too old to be flying and that the crash was his fault, although everyone knew he was a very experienced pilot. Kate wonders if there’s more to the crash than meets the eye, especially when the manifests of the planes show there were 10 passengers, but 11 bodies are found on the ground.

To say Dana Stabenow is a prolific author is to understate it considerably. There are more than 20 mysteries in the Kate Shugak series as well as several other novels, both mysteries and science fiction, that she has written.

See what else Marilyn’s been reading at 

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.