THE SUMMER OF THE DISCO KING
By Jane Harvey Meade
Maine Authors Publishing, 2011
156 pages, $16.95
ISBN 978-1-936447-58-9
 
Bucksport author Jane Harvey Meade declares that her debut mystery novel will appeal to women of all ages, but she is wrong.  Surely female readers will like this story — but male readers will enjoy it, too.

THE SUMMER OF THE DISCO KING is Meade’s first novel, a well-written, light-hearted mystery that successfully combines suspense with romance and humor.  The main character, Janet Conners, is sort of an adult Nancy Drew high on estrogen and Dubonnet wine.

Janet Conners is a 40-year-old widow raising a 15-year-old daughter.  To help make ends meet she takes in a boarder, a casual friend named Franny who brings an annoying rat-dog, untidy habits, strange behavior and heaps of trouble into Janet’s home.

Within days, Janet catches Franny in several blatant and puzzling lies, an intruder sneaks into her house, a prowler scares the daylights out of her and a police officer acts very oddly. Then, add the mysterious people living in two boarded-up, seemingly abandoned old houses nearby, and an elderly neighbor’s quiet warning that “He’s killed them all now,” and Janet is truly creeped out.

In some very funny scenes Janet quaffs Dubonnet as she not-too-subtly watches and lusts after her handsome and hunky next door neighbor, tries to figure out her moody and smart-mouthed teenage daughter, and wonders who the Disco King really is as he cruises by her house in a vintage convertible.

What Janet doesn’t know is that several murders may have already occurred, and that there is a deadly criminal conspiracy swirling around her, all carefully hidden behind deception and polite behavior.

Several well-placed clues may help the reader solve the mystery before Janet figures it out, but no matter, getting there is all the fun.
 


EARLY WINGS OVER MAINE

By John D. Davis
Just Write Books, 2011
181 pages, $24.95
ISBN 978-0-9766564-2-5
 
Maine has a rich history of early aviation, beginning in 1911. It is a history of aviation firsts, great aerial bravado and tragic mishaps which caused one pundit to declare:  “If God had intended us to fly, He would never have given us railways.”

EARLY WINGS OVER MAINE is Yarmouth author John Davis’s exciting account of aviation in Maine from 1911 to 1939, a fascinating anecdotal history of flimsy planes, barnstorming shows, daredevil pilots, early airports, crashes and celebrity aviators.

Davis has been interested in early aviation for years, collecting stories and period photographs, putting them together to produce a lively record of aviation pioneers, their successes and failures — a fitting tribute to the men and women who flew wood and canvas airplanes in the Maine skies long before radar, stewardesses, barf bags and bad airline food.

Well supported with numerous black and white period photographs, Davis’s narrative vividly describes early aviation antics like the first flight over Casco Bay in 1912, the first Maine female pilot to set a long-distance, non-stop, cross-country flying record in 1916, and the Maine visits of celebrity aviators like Charles Lindbergh, Wiley Post and Amelia Earhart.

He also adds stories of early airfields (mostly golf courses and beaches at first), as well as the creation and development of municipal airports in Bangor, Portland, Augusta and Rockland.

Other stories tell of “Safety First” Jones whose many crashes killed several passengers, why a Maine aviator was arrested for landing on the Boston Common, about Maine’s first World War I flying ace with seven kills (later to become a two-term governor), how the first Round-the-World flight landed in the waters off Mere Point in Brunswick in 1919, and about the strange sailing glider of Old Orchard Beach.

— Bill Bushnell lives and writes in Harpswell.

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