No vacation is complete without a little bookstore browsing (and, inevitably, buying). Brian and I visited possibly the cutest mystery bookshop ever on a recent trip to Maine. Snuggled behind Paula Keeney and Ann Whetstone’s 1790s federal-style home in downtown Kennebunk, Mainely Murders is housed in a converted carriage house. Paula and Ann are exceedingly knowledgeable and enthusiastic booksellers; be sure to stop by if you get a chance.
Mark Billingham is already one of the big guns of crime fiction in the UK, and his Tom Thorne novels are increasingly popular here. In this issue, Oline Cogdill has a revealing conversation with the former comedian and actor in which he describes his own terrifying experience as a crime victim. Michael Mallory discusses French writers Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac, or Boileau-Narcejac as they were known. Alfred Hitchcock was a big fan, and he based the classic film Vertigo on their novel D’entre les morts. There isn’t much critical writing in English about this interesting duo; I learned something and so will you.
Tom Nolan would like to bring to your attention five terrific writers who aren’t getting their proper due. We would love to hear from you about other writers that deserve a wider following. Write to us at and help spread the word!
The future of the private-eye novel is bright, according to Kevin Burton Smith. He offers three outstanding new writers—Sara Gran, Ingrid Thoft, and Laura Brack- mann—as proof. Case made!
Whether or not you’ve read her marvelously evocative Judge Deborah Knott novels set in North Carolina—and, if not, by all means do!—Margaret Maron has improved your reading life. She was one of the guiding forces behind Sisters in Crime, an organization that strives to, as she puts it, “make things better for our sister writers and strengthen the field for our sister readers.” (And I can attest that SinC also helped make things better for sister editors in the publishing industry.) She’s one of my personal heroes, and Art Taylor, a fellow North Carolinian, offers a tribute to her work in this issue.
Sadly, Barbara Mertz, another of my personal heroes, passed away on August 8. I started reading Barbara’s books—under her Barbara Michaels and Elizabeth Peters pseudonyms—at the age of 13, and I can honestly say I wouldn’t be here at Mystery Scene today without them.
Other sad losses this summer include Leighton Gage, author of the excellent Chief Inspector Mario Silva novels, and Vince Flynn, author of propulsive political thrillers. And, as has been widely reported, Elmore Leonard died on August 20. Laura Miller offers her assessment of Leonard’s influence on the general culture at large in this issue.
Mainely Murders Bookstore, 1 Bourne Street, Kennebunk, Maine 04043. Tel: 207-985-8706 Proprietors Ann Whetstone and Paula Keeney bring lifelong passions for mysteries to their business, which opened in 2011. On August 30, the longtime couple were married outside their shop. Congratulations!