Mysteries by Maine Authors

The Gritty Underbelly of Maine

  • The Poacher’s Son by Paul Doiron
  • A Show of Hands by David Crossman
  • Potshot by Gerry Boyle
  • Cold Hard News by Maureen Milliken

This series plunges into the gritty underbelly of Maine as seen through the eyes of its talented mystery authors. Are you hooked on mysteries and looking to explore the genre further? Are you new to mysteries and hoping some group discussion will open up a new world? These five books offer a healthy variety of perspectives on life in Maine and on the dark side of human nature.

Mysteries by Maine Authors was developed to investigate the ways in which the mystery genre can use the story to get people thinking and talking about topics beyond the whodunit. We want to encourage people to discuss the ISSUES within the mysteries more than HOW the book was written. Though craft can definitely be a piece of the discussion, each of the mysteries we chose discusses bigger issues within Maine. Because the mystery genre lends itself to mass consumption, people of all walks of life can encounter issues of drugs, human trafficking, racism, etc. in literature. We expect facilitators to provide context for these topics and encourage people to use this great content as a vehicle for discussion. 

The series was developed by scholar Jeffrey Aronson and librarian consultants Linda Wohlforth of Shaw Public Library in Greenville and Jeanne Benedict of Henry D. Moore Library in Steuben. They had a set of criteria in mind:

  • Mystery fans get hooked on one novel and then seek out a sequel, so some of these works have become the basis for series by their authors.
  • We sought out books whose stories take place in different locales within the state.
  • The mysteries we chose are largely vehicles for discussing today’s critical social and cultural issues, such as immigrant assimilation or drug use.
  • Some mysteries have themes that focus on a community and its particular issues; others use a Maine setting as part of a broader story. We’ve tried to find a mix of these two perspectives.
  • The books are either still in print and/or in paperback, and we aimed to mix popular series with lesser-known ones.