What We Are Reading...


Monday, March 30, 2015

A Veiled Deception by Annette Blair

Yummy Snacks and a makeshift wedding cake to go along with the theme.

Some members of the Who Dunnit Corner

    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A wedding, vintage clothing, a charming ghost, murder and more.....

Who could ask for anything more??? Good books, good friends and great food.  Our March meeting discussed the paranormal cozy "A Veiled Deception" by Annette Blair.  The book opens with Maderia (Maddie) Cutler and her best friend Eve arriving in their home town of Mystick Falls Connecticut for the wedding of Maddie's little sister Sherry.  Yes their father actually named them after types of wines.

Maddie working for a fashion designer in New York has always had a fascination and flair for vintage clothing.  That obsession takes on a new twist when she touches a vintage wedding dress and sees a vision of a past bride who wore the dress. Of course this all happens as she stands over the murdered body of the ex-girlfriend of her sister's fiance.  Naturally, Sherry is the prime suspect and Maddie feels compelled to investigate to make sure her baby sister isn't arrested for murder.  In no time Maddie's ability to "read" vintage clothing leads her on a path to a murderer. Along the way she spars with dreamy Detective Lyton Werner, flirts with her super hot on again off again main squeeze FBI agent Nick Jaconetti, buys an old funeral home and meets up with it's resident ghost the devastatingly handsome Dante Underhill.

This is a great first book in a fun series. Maddie of course ends up staying in Mystick Falls. She sets up shop selling vintage clothing (in the converted funeral home) she's collected over the years and beginning her own line of vintage clothing. The shop is called Vintage Magic and that's just what this series is. Was Sherry the murderer? Come check it out at the library.....

NEXT UP: THURSDAY APRIL 9, 2015 AT 5:30PM        

 TUDOR FEAST AND DISCUSSION OF THE TUDOR MYSTERY

 "DISSOLUTION" BY C.J. SANSOM







Tuesday, January 6, 2015

THE FATHER OF THE MODERN DETECTIVE STORY: NOT CONAN DOYLE????

Surprise everyone - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is not the architect of the modern detective story. So who is? None other than that master of the macabre, Edgar Allen Poe, whose "Tell Tale Heart" we can still hear beating under the floorboards.  That's right, Poe and his brilliant detective Auguste Dupin made their debut in "Murders in the Rue Morgue" in 1841, a full forty six years before Sherlock arrived on the scene.  Reading "Murders in the Rue Morgue" you can see the seeds of that common mystery literary convention - the brilliant detective whose powers of observation are so great he sees what no one else notices and whose brilliance is faithfully recorded by his ordinary companion.  Poe only wrote a few detective stories and was actually rather annoyed that the public was so enchanted with them.  He felt his other works were much more important.  Popular at the time they certainly have not enjoyed the notoriety of Holmes or Poirot.  Still it is fascinating to see the germs of those great detectives in "Murders in the Rue Morgue" and "The Mystery of Marie Roget.  Join us for a discussion of these two works and the author Thursday January 8th at 5:30pm.  All are welcome.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Cocaine Blues - by Kerry Greenwood

The Fabulous Phyrne may dress like a flapper but.......

It's Melbourne in the 1920's full of fabulous fancy dress and the social elite. Under the glitz and glamor lurks the drug trade, butcher abortionists and of course murder.  Enter the honorable Miss Phyrne Fisher, lady detective.  Phryne is a thoroughly modern woman who has seen the Melbourne scene from both sides of the social strata.  Having grown up poor, her family has recently come into wealth thanks to the death of multiple male heirs in the Great War.  So Phyrne, while enjoying all the perks her new found wealth affords her, still has an understanding and affinity for the poor and downtrodden.  She collects an eclectic and unique group of characters and sets about righting wrongs and handing out second chances to those caught under her spell. She continually shocks her proper Catholic raised maid and is turning the hair of the handsome police detective.  Phyrne can out climb, out shoot and outfight the most hardened of criminals, all while impeccably dressed.  This is a fun classic mystery romp.  Recently Acorn TV has produced Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries starring Essie Davis.  The show is a faithful fun adaptation of the books.  Read the books watch the show. Both are available through the Old Town Public Library. Come join the fun!!

Discussion, Food and a look at the Series

Thursday December 11, 2014 at 5:30pm at the Library

Saturday, February 1, 2014

THE BAKER STREET LETTERS

 

The Baker Street Letters

  By Michael Robertson

Publisher Comments
"First in a spectacular new series about two brother lawyers who lease offices on London's Baker Street--and begin receiving mail addressed to Sherlock Holmes"
In Los Angeles, a geological surveyor maps out a proposed subway route--and then goes missing. His eight-year-old daughter in her desperation turns to the one person she thinks might help--she writes a letter to Sherlock Holmes.""...........
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Kai's Comments 

I teach high school students and every year I do a unit on Sherlock Holmes.  As an opener to the unit I ask people if they've ever heard the name Sherlock Holmes.  Almost all have heard of him.  My next question is "Who is he?"  A large number seem to know he was a detective and an equally large number believe he was a real person.  Not surprising when even the London Times ran his obituary when the author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle killed off the detective in 1891. When examining Sherlock Holmes fact meets fiction on a regular basis.  Even the famous address 221b Baker Street, fictional at the time the stories were written, is an actual address in London today.  So the premise of the Baker Street Letters, that the current tenant of 221b Baker Street might receive letters addressed to the great Sherlock Holmes, is not as far fetched as one might assume.

Enter Reggie and Nigel Heath, two brothers who have offices at 221b Baker Street.  As part of their lease agreement they have to handle the great detective's correspondence.  The normal response is a form letter sent to the letter writer but things start to go crazy when Nigel decides to personally handle one of the letters, jetting off to Los Angeles and ending up wanted for murders on two continents.  In true Holmes fashion it's up to big brother Reggie to untangle the mess and deduce just what the heck is going on.  I'm about halfway through and loving it.  It gets off to a quiet start but once Reggie and Nigel are on our "side of the pond" things start moving.  The story is told from Reggie's perspective and together we encounter clues that will ultimately connect the seemingly unrelated events and pieces of evidence. Join us for discussion and sustenance both mental and physical.  Our next meeting is Thursday January 23, 2014 at 5:30pm.  All are welcome.  Any questions or if you need a copy of the book contact Kai Ksyniak at kai.ksyniak@gmail.com.
THE GAMES AFOOT!

Monday, November 25, 2013

WHO OWNS A NATIONAL TREASURE ?????

DISCUSSION NOTES FROM OUR NOVEMBER MEETING

TO THE HILT - By Dick Francis

 The main character Alexander Kinloch, a painter forced into detecting is very good at hiding things.  This talent gets him into quite a bit of trouble in Dick Francis's delightful book To The Hilt. The hilt in question is a solid gold sword handle given to a Kinloch ancestor by bonnie prince Charlie himself.  Al's hiding of the "family hilt" from the British historians sparked a lively debate in our group.  After all - when does a family heirloom of historical significance cease belonging to a single family and become part of the National Treasure? Members remarked on the recent case of Kelley Clarkson's purchase of a ring belonging to Jane Austen. Miss Clarkson was forced to sell the ring to the Jane Austen Museum in order to prevent the ring from leaving Great Britain.  Of course as another member pointed out -- the Rosetta Stone is still housed in the British Museum.

The hiding of the hilt is not the main focus of the story but one of the delightful side stories that gets Al into trouble. There are hidden chalices, racehorses and missing company millions.  Al is not responsible for the millions but is responsible for keeping the family business from going under in such dire straits.  We all agreed that if we ever needed to hide anything Alexander Kinloch would be our go-to guy.  Although, several of us were appalled at the places these valuable irreplaceable items were left.  I leave you to read the book and see if you can discover their hiding places.

Dick Francis was a jockey turned writer who rode for the Queen (yes the actual Queen).  When he retired from racing he turned his talent to writing.  There has been speculation as to whether he or his wife wrote the novels.  Some say he drafted the stories and she penned them, others say she was his researcher.  All say they worked as a team.  All of us were fascinated by the description of a painting Alexander was working on.  The detail was amazing and we all agreed we'd like to see it.

Not only did the author keep you guessing as to what was really going on he did it in a delightful fun prose that was a joy to read.  It made me go out and get another one of his books.  Highest praise indeed.  Until next time.........

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

IF YOU NEED TO HIDE A BODY............

Thursday November 14th 

 

TO THE HILT by Dick Francis

Alexander Kinloch found solitude and a steady income painting in a bothy on a remote Scottish mountain. Until the morning the strangers arrived to rough him up, and Alexander was dragged reluctantly back into the real and violent world he thought he had left behind.
Millions of pounds are missing from his stepfather's business. A valuable racehorse is under threat. Then comes the first ugly death and the end of all Alexander's doubts. For the honour of the Kinlochs he will face the strangers ... up to the hilt... 
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Kai's Comments:

Okay -- I have to admit I was skeptical about this book before I opened the first page.  I must confess after that I fell in love.  What a terrific book.  It is witty, fun and definitely a mystery.  Usually I can figure out what's going on in a mystery but this one kept me guessing right up til the end.  I was fascinated by the author's description of a painter's motivation. It made me want to see the paintings he described.  I was also amazed by Alexander Kinloch's ingenuity in hiding items of great value and his ability to figure things out because he looks at the world differently.  I'm looking forward to this Thursday's discussion.
 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

WHO FLOATED THE ADMIRAL?

The Who Dunnit Book Corner

Well we had our first Who Dunnit Book Club meeting and it was a great success.  In keeping with the theme of a traditional British murder mystery members brought tea and tea time snacks.  We sipped tea brewed in china teapots and served in real china cups as we snacked on cucumber sandwiches and scones.  One member provided white cotton gloves so we could truly get into character.  As I mentioned in previous blogs, The Floating Admiral was written by multiple mystery giants of the day, each one writing only one chapter.  Once they finished their chapter they had to write how they would have ended it.  For fun I asked members to make their predictions and reveal them the day of the meeting.  One member actually came up with Agatha Christie's solution but I must say my favorite one was beautifully written on a pink slip of paper in a sealed envelope.  It read quite simply "I don't have a clue". 


Most members enjoyed the book but admitted that some authors changed direction quite abruptly from the previous chapter.  I admit I enjoyed the chapters by Christie, Sayers and Chesterton the most.  We all agreed the chapter that dealt primarily with the movement of the tides on the village river to be a bit overwhelming and confusing.  The character of Inspector Rudge remained consistent throughout most of the book but occasionally he seemed less intelligent in some chapters.  A great time was spent discussing what we liked most about the book.  For some it was the transport to a time long gone now, for others a look at the construction of the mystery novel itself.  It is interesting to note that while the Fair Play Rules were only expected to be loosely followed some authors took them more seriously than others.  Reportedly Dorothy Sayers and Agatha Christie had a major falling out over Christie's publication of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd in which she broke one of the cardinal rules of detective fiction.  Our next book The Sherlockian by Graham Moore tackles  Sherlock Holmes, Jack the Ripper and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  The Floating Admiral gave us a taste of the Golden Age of Mystery Fiction, The Sherlockian promises to give us a taste of modern day London and Victorian England.  See you all on 24 October at 5:30pm.