top of page
  • Writer's pictureNora Curry

Mystery Most Maine

The state of Maine is home to a multitude of authors, native born or simply drawn to the inspiring Pine Street State, producing literary delights in genres across the board. Perhaps you've heard of Mike Bowditch or read some of the winners of the Maine Literary Awards' Crime Fiction accolade? Mysteries and thrillers are near the top of the list, from series to standalones and from heartstopping adventures to historical investigations to small town cozies. Check out the list below to learn about some of Maine's most riveting mystery writers and their page-turning titles. This list is of course just the tip of the iceberg; there are many, many more Maine authors writing mysteries and mysteries finding their home base in Maine.

Stealing History (Julie Williamson mysteries), William D. Andrews

Just a few days into her new job as director of a busy historical society and museum nestled in the mountains of quaint Ryland, Maine, flatlander Julie Williamson discovers all is not as it should be. Her dream job is more of a nightmare. She expected to find an eccentric board of trustees, a cool reception from the assistant director who had wanted her job, and a necessary adjustment to small-town life, but she didn't expect that some of the museum's most valuable artifacts, including a letter from Abraham Lincoln to Hannibal Hamlin, would quickly turn up missing. And when a murder hits especially close to home for Julie, she becomes embroiled in an ever-widening and complex mystery.

All the Blue-eyed Angels (Erin Solomon mysteries), Jen Blood

Investigative reporter Erin Solomon is obsessed with the single event that changed the course of her life forever: the alleged cult suicide of the Payson Church of Tomorrow. Nearly twenty-five years later, Erin returns to Payson Isle to solve the mystery that has haunted her since childhood.

The Down East Murders (Sarah Deane mysteries), J.S. Borthwick

Arriving on a Maine island for a summer holiday, English teacher Sarah Deane and her friend Dr. Alex McKenzie find the body of a cantankerous local artist in an offshore fish trap.

Deadline (Jack McMorrow mysteries), Gerry Boyle

When newspaper editor Jack McMorrow moves to Maine to get away for the rat race of the big city, his investigation into the St. Amand Paper Company leads to murder and kidnapping.

The Bike Cop in: the Greater Weight of Evidence (Bike Cop mysteries), James H.K. Bruner

Introducing the new bike cop in Port Talbot, Maine, who sets out to solve the mystery of the death of a waitress.

A Fickle Tide (Pyke Island Mysteries in Downeast Maine), Moe Claire

The quiet of the winter season on Pykes Island, Maine, is shattered on the same night in early January. A man desperate to get off the island kidnaps Del Corriveau and leaves her unconscious in an empty summer cottage. A Hollywood producer disappears from his vacation home, knows as black Ledges, in an act of violence. How are the crimes connected? What is Black Ledges hiding? Caught up in the police investigation, Del's suspended lifestyle is blown away by a blizzard of suspicion, threats, lies and regrets. Del must use some unusual knowledge and uncommon skills to uncover the truth.

Among the Shadows (Detective Byron mysteries), Bruce Robert Coffin

Fall in Portland, Maine usually arrives as a welcome respite from summer’s sweltering temperatures and, with the tourists gone, a return to normal life—usually. But when a retired cop is murdered, things heat up quickly, setting the city on edge.

Mainely Power (Goff Langdon Mainely mysteries), Matthew Cost

Was Harold Dumphy killed to cover up something at the nuclear power plant where he was the head of security? Goff Langdon, slacker detective and owner of a mystery bookstore in Brunswick, Maine, is hired by Harold's widow to find out.

A Show of Hands (Winston Crisp mysteries), David Crossman

Retired National Security Agency code breaker Winston Crisp thought his career of delving into dark, unpleasant secrets was long over when he retired to a peaceful Penobscot Bay island. Little did he know he would be called upon to solve the grisly murders that haunt the island in these pages.

Cold Blood, Hot Sea (Mara Tusconi mysteries), Charlene D'Avanzo

Oceanographer Mara Tusconi sets out to study Maine's warming waters, but finds murder at sea instead aboard research vessel Intrepid.

The Avenging of Nevah Wright (Murder in Maine mysteries), Mildred Davis & Katherine Roome

On a warm summer evening, on an island off the coast of Maine, five teenagers jump off a dock to go scuba diving. Four come out alive. In the guilt ridden years that follow, each one of the survivors pays for the thoughtless moment.

The Poacher's Son (Mike Bowditch novels), Paul Doiron

Desperate and alone, game warden Mike Bowditch strikes up an uneasy alliance with a retired warden pilot, and together the two men journey deep into the Maine wilderness in search of a runaway fugitive—Mike's father. But the only way for Mike to save his father is to find the real killer—which could mean putting everyone he loves in the line of fire.

A House to Die For (Darby Farr mysteries), Vicki Doudera

Realtor Darby Farr escaped her stifling hometown to build a new life, but after a phone call sends her back to the small Maine island to close a multimillion-dollar sale, the simple deal turns deadly when one buyer is found hacked to death.

Chosen for Death (Thea Kozak mysteries), Kate Flora

Tragically widowed, Thea Kozak is tall, brave, and trying to rebuild her life. Then her little sister is murdered in a picturesque Maine town. The police have no leads. Her grieving parents are eager to put everything behind them, and Thea—"little mother" to her adopted sister—refuses to back down. Not when she can do one more thing for Carrie: find the killer and get justice for her little sister.

Slipknot (Jane Bunker mysteries), Linda Greenlaw

When Jane moves back to Green Haven, the sleepy Maine fishing community where she was born, it’s to escape the seamy crime scenes and unsavory characters that crossed her path in Miami. Surely whatever crimes are committed in touristy, idyllic down-east Maine won’t involve anything as nasty as what she saw in Florida. It’s a bit of a shock, then, when Nick Dow, the town drunk, turns up dead, and it’s not the simple accident that everyone assumes it to be. The more Jane digs, the more confused she gets. Only two things are certain: Nothing is what it seems; and the whole town is in each other’s business. But it’s not until Jane impulsively hops on a boat with the killer—a boat that suddenly heads out to sea—that things become downright dangerous. . .

Penance (John Gilfillan mysteries), Edward Daniel Hunt

Ten years ago, Lori, as a teenager, witnessed a killing. Today, she has established a new life for herself and her daughter in Maine under an alias. Unbeknownst to her, all that's about to change, as some are seeking her out to do her harm and some to do her good.

Cold Hard News (Bernie O'Dea mysteries), Maureen Milliken

Bernie O'Dea, the editor of the Peaks Weekly Watcher, is jazzed to finally have a big story to cover when a body is found in a melting snowbank. But as spring turns into a long, hot, explosive summer in Redimere, Maine, the story gets bigger - maybe too big for Bernie to handle. As secrets are revealed, the town is ripped in half and the body count rises, Bernie if forced to question her part in the town's tragic tale, a part that may cost her and others their lives.

Deadly Trespass (Mystery in Maine novels), Sandra Neily

In deep woods behind gates with no-trespassing signs, Cassandra Patton Conover is about to become an outlaw. How could she know that trespassing after trout would bring her a murdered best friend, a reporter seeking extinct wolves, and enlistment in a fight for Maine’s forest? Then she finds tracks larger than any animal she knows and a mystery only wild animals can help her solve.

The Baked Bean Supper Murders (Eugenia Potter mysteries), Virginia Rich

The baked bean supper is the social highlight of Northcutt Harbor, Maine. This year it will also be the last get-together for certain citizins of the town. First, Regina and Coley Cogswell are killed when their pleasure boat explodes at sea. Then another dear friend of Mrs. Potter's, Harvard Northcutt, dies of rather mysterious causes. Soon it becomes clear that the next victim will be Mrs. Potter herself—unless she can uncover the shocking mission and motives lurking just beneath the surface of this sleepy coastal town...

Matinicus (Island mysteries), Darcy Scott

Steeped in island lore, this century-spanning double mystery pits a renegade fishing community against an unhappy child-bride of the 1820s, a conflicted twenty-first century teenager, and a hard-drinking botanist whose arrival on-island triggers a string of murders linked to an old diary whose secrets threaten to tear the island apart.

The Truth of All Things (Archie Lean and Perceval Grey mysteries), Kieran Shields

Investigating the murder of a prostitute in 1892 Portland, Maine, newly appointed Deputy Marshal Archie Lean discovers that the victim was ritually executed as a witch, prompting him to enlist the help of a historian and a brilliant criminologist with whom he follows a trail to the spiritual societies and asylums of gothic New England.

Therapist Sarah Green is skilled at helping her counseling clients untangle their emotional dilemmas but doesn't do so well with her own problems, and she's got big ones—ghostly visits from a murdered friend and frightening flashbacks. Then a psychopath starts stalking Maine's counseling community, and Sarah struggles to separate past trauma from present danger. While juggling an ex-husband hot to reconcile and the attentions of a sexy detective, Sarah joins forces with a take-no-prisoners defense attorney, a top-notch private eye, and her office mate Louise to catch the killer. When the next life in peril is her own, Sarah realizes she's stronger than she thinks and welcomes unexpected assistance from this world and the next.

The Perfect Daughter, Joseph Souza

A mother is unwittingly drawn into the dark underbelly of her picture-perfect Maine town . . . Shepherd’s Bay has been home to generations of lobstermen and their families. Lately, affluent newcomers have been buying up waterfront property and mingling uneasily with the locals. Tensions are high, especially since Dakota James, a teenage boy from the wealthier side of town, disappeared weeks ago. But another disturbing incident soon follows.

Cozy Up

Cozy mysteries are of course a little different in nature than some of the more thrilling Maine adventures above. If curling up with a cozy series is more your thing, here are a selection of series that take place in Maine (many by Maine authors, but some simply by authors who have been inspired by our great state's allure). Click the links below to request the first book in any series.

In Peppermint Peril (A Tea and Read mysteries), Joy Avon

Returning to her hometown in Maine, organizer of book-themed tea parties, Callie Aspen, will have to conquer threefold trouble—a mysterious will, a missing heirloom, and a dead body—to restore the festive spirit to her small town.

Kilt Dead (Liss MacCrimmon mysteries), Kaitlyn Dunnett

As a professional Scottish dancer, Liss MacCrimmon has performed strathsprays and reels, jigs and Highland flings until a knee injury cuts her career short. Returning to her hometown of Moosetookalook, Maine, she decides to help her aunt run her Scottishemporium. But when murder rears its ugly head in the idyllic, quiet village, Liss will have to add sleuthing to her repertoire.

Death by Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake (Death by Chocolate mysteries), Sarah Graves

Life just got a little sweeter in the island fishing village of Eastport, Maine. Jacobia “Jake” Tiptree and her best friend Ellie are opening a waterfront bake shop, The Chocolate Moose, where their tasty treats pair perfectly with the salty ocean breeze. But while Jake has moved on from fixing up houses, she still can't resist the urge to snoop into the occasional murder.

Town in a Blueberry Jam (Candy Holliday mysteries), B.B. Haywood

In the seaside village of Cape Willington, Maine, Candy Holliday has an idyllic life tending to the Blueberry Acres farm she runs with her father. But, when an aging playboy and the newly crowned Blueberry Queen are killed, Candy investigates to clear the name of a local handyman. And as she sorts through the town's juicy secrets, things start to get sticky indeed...

Death of a Kitchen Diva (Food and Cocktails mysteries), Lee Hollis

Welcome to Bar Harbor, Maine, one of New England's most idyllic coastal towns. But as new food writer Hayley Powell is about to find out, the occasional murder can take a bite out of seaside bliss... When rival food writer Karen Appelbaum is found face-down dead in a bowl of Hayley's creamy clam chowder, all signs point to Hayley. To clear her name, she'll have to enlist some help, including her BFFs, a perpetually pregnant lobster woman, and a glamorous real estate agent. As she whips up a list of suspects, Hayley discovers a juicy secret about the victim--and finds herself in a dangerous mix with a cold-blooded killer.

Death and a Pot of Chowder (Maine Murder mysteries), Cornelia Kidd

Maine’s Quarry Island has a tight-knit community that’s built on a rock-solid foundation of family, tradition and hard work. But even on this small island, where everyone knows their neighbors, there are secrets that no one would dare to whisper. Anna Winslow, her husband Burt and their teenage son have deep roots on Quarry Island. Burt and his brother, Carl, are lobstermen, just like their father and grandfather before them. Anna's life is about to take some drastically unexpected turns. She discovers that she has a younger sister, Izzie Jordan. Then Carl's lobster boat is found abandoned and adrift. Later that evening, his corpse is discovered—but he didn't drown...

Murder on the Rocks (Gray Whale Inn mysteries), Karen MacInerney

Natalie Barnes buys the Gray Whale Inn, a bed and breakfast in Maine, and publicly opposes Bernard Katz's proposed resort development, which threatens a colony of black-chinned terns, and when Katz is found dead, Natalie must find the true killer in order to clear her own name.

A Killer Ending (Snug Harbor mysteries), Karen MacInerney

Books, beach roses... and bodies. Bookseller and recent divorcée Max Sayers has risked her life savings to start a fresh chapter with the purchase of Seaside Cottage Books in cozy Snug Harbor, Maine. But she's barely opened the shop's doors when her new storybook life takes a dark turn. The morning after the grand opening--featuring a famous author who shows up at the store on the arm of Max's ex-husband--Max's rescue dog Winston finds a dead man on the beach behind the shop. The murder weapon? One of Max's antique bookends. Will Max solve the case before the murderer strikes again? Or will her bright new beginning turn into a killer of an ending?

Mistletoe Murder (Lucy Stone mysteries), Leslie Meier

The very first novel set in Lucy's hometown of Tinker's Cove, Maine... While moonlighting during the Christmas rush for a trendy mail-order house, Lucy Stone stumbles upon the body of the company's founder and turns sleuth to find a killer in the small town of Tinker's Cove, Maine.

Hems & Homicides (Apron Shop mysteries), Elizabeth Penney

Iris Buckley is sew ready for a change. After the death of her beloved grandfather, Iris decides to return to her Maine hometown to help out her widowed grandmother, Anne--and bring her online hand-made apron designs to real-time retail life. Her and Anne's shop, Ruffles & Bows, is set to include all the latest and vintage linen fashions, a studio for sewing groups and classes, and a friendly orange cat. The only thing that they were not planning to have on the property? A skeleton in the basement...

Clammed Up (Maine Clambake mysteries), Barbara Ross

Julia Snowden returned to her hometown of Busman’s Harbor, Maine to rescue her family’s struggling clambake business—not to solve crimes. But that was before a catered wedding on picturesque Morrow Island turned into a reception for murder. When the best man’s corpse is found hanging from the grand staircase in the Snowden family mansion, Julia must put the chowder pot on the back burner and join the search for the killer. And with suspicion falling on her old crush, Chris Durand, the recipe for saving her business and salvaging her love life might be one and the same.

The Whole Cat and Caboodle (Second Chance Cat mysteries), Sofie Ryan

Sarah Grayson is the happy proprietor of Second Chance, a charming shop in the oceanfront town of North Harbor, Maine. At the shop, she sells used items that she has lovingly refurbished and repurposed. But her favorite pet project so far has been adopting a stray cat she names Elvis... But when Sarah’s elderly friend Maddie is found with the body of a dead man in her garden, the kindly old lady becomes the prime suspect in the murder. Even Sarah’s old high school flame, investigator Nick Elliot, seems convinced that Maddie was up to no good. So it’s up to Sarah and Elvis to clear her friend’s name and make sure the real murderer doesn’t get a second chance.

Shadows at the Fair (Antique Print mysteries), Lea Wait

In the world of antiques dealing, there are minor accidentally selling a rare engraving for $170 instead of $1,700. And then there are worse tragedies—such as the chain of suspicious deaths among dealers in the weeks prior to the Rensselaer County Spring Antiques Fair. For Maggie Summer, owner of Shadow Antiques and an antique print expert, the threat of murder is far from her mind as she displays her treasures at the prestigious show. Though rumors abound, security is tight, and Maggie has been in the business too long to be easily rattled, she can't help observing her colleagues with fresh eyes. And when sudden death claims a victim in their midst, Maggie will race to stop a killer—if she can distinguish those she suspects from the real deal.

Twisted Threads (Mainely Needlepoint mysteries), Lea Wait

After leaving a decade ago, Angie Curtis has been called back to Harbor Haven, Maine, by her grandmother, Charlotte, who raised her following her mother's disappearance when she was a child. Her mother has been found, and now the question of her whereabouts has sadly become the mystery of her murder. The bright spot in Angie's homecoming is reuniting with Charlotte, who has started her own needlepointing business with a group called the Mainely Needlepointers. But when a shady business associate of the stitchers dies suddenly under suspicious circumstances, Charlotte and Angie become suspects. As Angie starts to weave together clues, she discovers that this new murder may have ties to her own mother's cold case.

16 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page