September 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.

Agatha Christie, born September 15, 1890, in Devonshire, went on to define the British puzzle mysteries of the Golden Age, and created two of the most famous characters in detective fiction, Miss Jane Marple and Hercule Poirot. Designated a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America in 1955, she died in 1976.

John Creasey was born September 17, 1908, in London. Among the most prolific of authors, he penned more than 600 novels using 28 different pseudonyms. In 1962, he won the Edgar for Best Novel for Gideon's Fire, written under the pen name J.J. Marric. In 1969 the Mystery Writers of America honored him as a Grand Master. He died in 1973.

Robert B. Parker, best known for his creation Spenser, was born September 17, 1932. His two other leading characters were Jesse Stone and Sunny Randall, both of whom appeared in long-running series. A 2002 Grand Master designee, he died in 2010, although his series have continued under the authorship of others. 


Barbara Mertz, born September 29, 1927, in Canton, Illinois, was known to mystery readers by her two pseudonyms, Elizabeth Peters and Barbara Michaels. Another Grand Master designee (1998), she died in 2013. 

Michael Innes (John Innes Mackintosh Stewart) was born September 30, 1906, in Edinburgh. Best known for his Oxford-educated Scotland Yard detective John Appleby, he died in 1994.


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.  




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


September 16th


If you’ve been thinking about a visit to Mainely Murders, time’s running out. In a little over two weeks, we’ll close the doors on our 13-year adventure.

And, indeed, it’s been that--one that we wouldn’t have traded for anything. The books; the people. They’ve been a dream come true.

The shelves are looking sparse. For example, our Agatha Christie books--which, in the past, have included every title penned by the Grand Dame of mysteries--are down to a handful.   

But many books--from classics to the contemporary--remain. Everything is coming out of storage and onto the shelves. And, we’re still bringing in a limited number of new releases.

For all those who have queried us with “What will you do with the leftover books,” we’ve got a special treat in store: a “final four-day sale.” (See details below.)

So, whether you visit with an eye to making some end-of-the-line purchases or just want to say good-bye, we hope to see you soon. 

Ann and Paula

Partners in Crime & Retirement

P.S. Visit us during our final days--Wednesday-Saturday, September 13-16--when remaining stock will be 50 percent off. Not applicable to special orders, books on hold, or mail orders.


Q: What are your immediate post-retirement plans?

A: First stop, Scotland. September (and October). Glasgow, our favorite Scottish city, and the Highlands beckon. Next year we hope to visit Scandinavia, which we always thought was a place to visit when winter and early spring were over.

Q: What will happen to the newsletter?

A: Like all good things that come to an end, so, too, will our newsletter. While it’s been a pleasure to share our views on the mystery world--in addition to what we’re reading and where we’re traveling—the newsletter, along with the shop itself, has reached its end. 


Our September Picks

The Last Devil to Die, Richard Osman

It all started with The Thursday Murder Club, the debut of Osman’s wonderful series--one that tops our list of the most enjoyable of the last several years.

The Last Devil to Die is the fourth title--following The Thursday Murder Club, The Man Who Died Twice, and The Bullet That Missed--and one we’re eagerly awaiting.

It's rarely a quiet day for the members of the Thursday Murder Club. And, now shocking news reaches them; an old friend has been killed, and a dangerous package he was protecting has gone missing.

The gang's search leads them to the antiques business, where the tricks of the trade are as old as the objects themselves and sketchy behavior is often the norm. 

As they encounter drug dealers, art forgers, and online fraudsters--as well as heartache close to home--Elizabeth, Joyce, Ron, and Ibrahim have no idea whom to trust.

We can’t wait!


Holly, Stephen King

A new Stephen King release is always cause for celebration by his legion of fans. For those who delight when he returns to mysteries, this one should be on their radar.

Holly marks the triumphant return of Holly Gibney. Readers have witnessed Holly’s gradual transformation from a shy recluse in Mr. Mercedes to Bill Hodges’s partner in Finders Keepers to a full-fledged, smart, and occasionally tough private detective in The Outsider

In King’s new novel, Holly is on her own, and up against a pair of unimaginably depraved and brilliantly disguised adversaries.

Celebrate These Birthdays

And Save 50 Percent

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


With our closing looming, we have time for one more birthday celebration.


While they last, purchase in-stock titles by this month’s featured birthday authors--Agatha Christie, John Creasey, Robert B. Parker, Barbara Mertz (Elizabeth Peters), and Michael Innes--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.

Remembering James Hayman

James Hayman, a former New York City advertising executive who traded the big city for a writing life here in Maine, died earlier this summer. He was 82.

After three decades in advertising’s “fast lane,” he started a new career as a novelist at the age of 62. 

His police procedurals, featuring Portland homicide detectives Mike McCabe and Maggie Savage, numbered six books: The Cutting, The Chill of Night, Darkness First, The Girl in the Glass, The Girl on the Bridge, and Obsession.

Lost and Found Department

Photographs. Airline boarding passes. Train schedules. Receipts. Letters and postcards. Pressed flowers. Birthday (anniversary, etc.) cards. Sound like the bottom of your desk drawer?

Actually, it’s a pared down list of what we’ve discovered inside the thousands of books we’ve bought over the years.

We’ve learned a lot about mystery readers from what they’ve left behind in their books. The most revealing is how much they travel; the old airline (and train) tickets tell us that.

Theater ticket stubs--from New York City’s Broadway to London’s West End--have not been an unusual find. 

Mystery readers are always on the lookout for their next great read, as evidenced by the many book lists, we’ve found.

Anyone who has ever purchased a used book--or even checked out a library book--has no doubt come across evidence of previous readers.

Cash is our personal favorite. But, admittedly, those discoveries are rare. (A $10 bill was our biggest find, so we hardly got rich here.)

What We’ve Been Reading

Our reading time has suffered in these last days before we close. Our customers are keeping us very busy. Thank You!

A Chateau Under Siege, Martin Walker (Paula)

Nothing, however, could get in the way of my reading the latest story of Bruno Courrèges, chief of police in the fictional French town of St. Denis. 

Nearby Sarlat is staging a reenactment of its liberation from the British in the Hundred Years' War when the play’s hero is stabbed. Was it an unfortunate prop malfunction--or something more sinister?

It’s up to our favorite French police chief to find out.

Like his previous 15 series titles. Walker had me hooked from the beginning--with his wonderful sense of place, the on-going development of his cast of characters, and the mouth-watering food. If all that weren’t enough, my favorite “character,” Balzac, the basset hound, is front and center.

Last-Minute Visits

Our retirement announcement has brought visits from customers old and new. Long-time regulars have come to say goodbye--and, they say, “to buy a few more books before you close.”  

But, we’ve also had first-time visitors--like this longtime book club comprised of New Hampshire teachers and former teachers, says Pat Weisberg. Fellow member Faith Garnett of Saco, who had previously visited us, suggested the group visit before we closed.

Over the last 13 years, we’ve been pleased to welcome book clubs, as well as groups of teachers and librarians, among our customers. And, of course, there are our many regulars who often bring friends "from away." Many thanks to all.

Coming in September

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.

M.C. Beaton and R.W. Green, Dead on Target [Agatha Raisin #34]

James Benn, Proud Sorrow [Billy Boyle #18]

Allison Brennan, Seven Girls Gone [Quinn & Costa #4]

Ann Cleeves, The Raging Storm (Mathew Venn #3]

Jeffrey Deaver, Swiping Hearts [Lincoln Rhyme #17]

Vicki Delany, Have Yourself a Deadly Little Christmas [Merry Wilkinson #6]

Alice Duncan, Hollywood Angels [Mercy Alcutt #8]

James Ellroy, The Enchanters [NS]

Robert Galbraith, The Running Grave [Cormoran Strike & Robin Ellacott #7]

Lee Goldberg, Malibu Burning [Walter Sharpe & Andrew Walker #1]

Mick Herron, The Secret Hours [NS]

J.A. Jance, Blessing of the Lost Girls [Brady & Walker]

Craig Johnson, The Longmire Defense [Longmire #19]

Ragnar Jonasson and Katrin Jakobsdottir, Reykjavik [NS]

Stephen King, Holly [NS]

William Kent Krueger, The River We Remember [NS]

Richard Osman, The Last Devil to Die [Thursday Murder Club #4]

James Patterson and Mike Lupica, 12 Months to Live [NS]

Kate Quinn and Janie Chang, The Phoenix Crown [NS]

Mike Ripley, Mr. Campion’s Memory [Albert Campion #11]

J.D. Robb, Payback in Death [Eve Dallas #57]

Customers Recommend

We’ve always enjoyed learning what customers are reading--whether in conversations here in the shop or the reviews they’ve sent.

This month, Marilyn Brooks of Needham, Massachusetts, reports on the latest book from fellow-New Englander Dennis Lehane.

Small Mercies, Dennis Lehane

The summer of 1974 was one of the worst in Boston’s history. After years of legal challenges, U. S. District Court Judge W. Arthur Garrity rules that the Boston public schools must desegregate. As part of that plan, Black students from Roxbury High School would be bused to Boston South High School and White students from Boston South would be bused to Roxbury High School.

Protests and riots followed, with students and police being assaulted and gravely injured. Small Mercies opens two months before the desegregation order is to take effect, and the hot, steamy Boston summer does nothing to cool tempers.

Southie, an almost exclusively White Catholic enclave in the city, is home to Mary Pat Fennessy and her teenage daughter Jules. Widowed once and deserted/divorced once, Mary Pat is barely holding it together by adding a second shift at her second job at a shoe warehouse. She’s working as hard as she can, but she can’t seem to get ahead–her gas has been shut off– “But she still has three more shifts and a trip to the billing office before we can boil water or roast a chicken again….” In the midst of all this, there are two major upheavals in her life.

The first is the busing issue itself, and Mary Pat is creating signs for a protest in front of City Hall Plaza to demonstrate the White community’s opposition to the judge’s ruling. The second, more personal, is the disappearance of her 17-year-old daughter Jules, who goes out with three friends one afternoon and doesn’t return home that evening.

At first Mary Pat is not overly worried because her daughter has spent the night away from home before. However, when Jules isn’t home by breakfast time the next morning, Mary Pat starts getting concerned. She makes a couple of phone calls to the parents of one of the friends that her daughter went out with the day before and is assured that Jules isn’t there. Don’t worry, says the girl’s mother, “….they always turn up.” But, Mary Pat thinks, sometimes they don’t.

When she arrives at work, Mary Pat gets her first look at the day’s paper which features a story about a Black man found dead on the tracks of the Columbia Station. The consensus of the other White women at the Meadow Lane Manor is that he was a drug dealer, otherwise why would he be in the subway station heading toward Southie, which is in the opposite direction of Roxbury where, as a Black man, he surely must have lived? But as Mary Pat takes a closer look at the article, she realizes that the young man was the son of one of their co-workers, the only Black hospital aide at the nursing home.

So now there are two grieving mothers, one with a missing daughter and one with a dead son. What is the connection?

As always, Dennis Lehane has written a compelling novel filled with suspense, humor, and humanity.

In addition to reviewing mysteries on her blog (, Marilyn teaches a mystery course at the Brandeis Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (BOLLI), Waltham, Massachusetts.

This month, she’s returning to a popular theme, one she’s taught before, Murder in Scandinavia. Classes fill up quickly so we asked her to share her reading list for those who might want to follow along:

Who Watcheth, Helene Tursten (Sweden); The Ice Beneath Her, Camilla Grebe (Sweden); Snow Angels, James Thompson (Finland); Holy Ceremony, Harri Nykänen (Finland); The Undesired, Yrsa Sigurdardottir (Iceland); The Darkness, Ragnar Jónasson (Iceland); Norwegian by Night, Derek B. Miller (Norway); and The Hanging Girl, Jussi Adler-Olsen (Denmark).

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.