I Will Never Lack for Material

If one is writing a series of crime novels set in the Maine woods, there will never be a shortage of mysteries to explore:

A little-touted fact come fall in Maine: It turns out hunters here stumble upon an average one to two decomposing bodies in the woods each deer season.

So three is a lot.

Officials say they can’t in recent memory recall hunters finding three in one season, and there’s still four days of firearm hunting left.

“This is my 21st fall as a game warden. Every year it seems like it’s two. Usually we know who the person is because they’ve been missing, ‘Oh that’s so-and-so,’” Major Gregg Sanborn, deputy chief of the Maine Warden Service, said Tuesday.

“It surprises me every time we find one because the state’s so big — I’ve also learned that nothing really surprises me anymore.”

First, hunters found a man in Stacyville on Nov. 4, along with clothing, a briefcase and a hat with the name “Chris.” On Nov. 15, they found a body in Vassalboro later identified as 60-year-old William Stein. Then on Nov. 20, hunters found a third man in Belmont. He was identified Tuesday as 68-year-old Charles Springer, who had wandered from home.

Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Steve McCausland said it’s likely Stein, a convicted child molester due to serve prison time, died in June; that Springer likely died in May 2008; and that the unidentified Stacyville man likely died in September.

None of the deaths have been labeled suspicious.

But they could have been suspicious — and in a novelist's imagination they always are.