About the Whodunit Book Club

Whodunit Book Club has met in its present location for almost seventeen years! If you would like to join us, our meetings are held on the last Tuesday of every month (except December).
We meet at the Chapters Store located at 41 MicMac Blvd., Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Phone (902) 466-1640

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Maureen Jennings' Murdoch mysteries sold to TV!

Congratulations to Canadian mystery author Maureen Jennings! Her historical mystery series (one of my favorites!) featuring Toronto policeman William Murdoch is to be shown on American television!

Press Release
Head North of the Border For a Series of Fascinating Adventures in MURDOCH MYSTERIES
The new American Public Television-distributed series MURDOCH MYSTERIES, airing on public television stations nationwide beginning June 30, 2009, follows the exploits of young detective William Murdoch (Yannick Brisson) as he navigates the streets of 1890’s Toronto. Using unconventional, cutting-edge forensic science techniques, Murdoch battles ridicule from his fellow officers and skepticism from his superiors to solve a series of challenging killings that plague the city.

This is a photo of Yannick Brisson who will play Murdoch in the series:

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Gail Bowen wins Derrick Murdoch Award!

Congratulations to Gail Bowen, author of "The Brutal Heart" and "The Endless Knot". These novels are the latest entries in her series which features Joanne Kilbourn, a university professor, sometime political columnist, and a wife, mother and grandmother. The series has been adapted for television and stars Wendy Crewson in the lead role.
Last week the Crime Writers of Canada announced that Gail is the winner of this year’s Derrick Murdoch Award in recognition of her contributions to Canadian crime writing. Gail will receive the award on June 4 at the CWC’s Arthur Ellis Awards dinner, being held this year in Ottawa.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Forensic mystery series

With the immense popularity of such television shows as "CSI: Miami", "CSI: New York", and "Bones", it is evident that the subject of forensics interests a lot of people. But did you know that there are great mystery series that feature forensics? Of course, most know that the TV series "Bones" is based upon characters created by Kathy Reichs in her Temperance Brennan series. Another novelist famous for her forensic pathologist protagonist is Patricia Cornwell with her Kay Scarpetta series.

Perhaps you were less aware that there is a great new series written by Simon Beckett? His series is set in the Norfolk marshlands and features Dr. David Handler. The first book in this series is "The chemistry of death".

Another forensic detective is Reuben Maitland who is the lead character in the books by John Macken. The first book in this series is "Dirty little lies".

Last but not least, there are the Eisenmenger and Flemming forensic mysteries written by Keith McCarthy. This delightful series begins with the title "A feast of carrion".

For forensics with a historical slant I recommend you try "Mistress of the art of death" by Ariana Franklin. This award-winning novel is set in 12th century Cambridge, England. See previous post for more details.

Happy reading!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Whodunit Book Club - May 26, 2009

A pretty good turn out for a nice sunny spring evening. Everyone was very vocal tonight which generated some lively discussion both on and off topic.
Tonight's question: "Do you keep all the books you buy, or pass them on?"
There were certainly two schools of thought. I would say the majority regarded their books as friends to be kept and treasured. One member said she would get rid of her furniture before she would get rid of her books. On the other hand, some read their books and then passes them on to others less fortunate. One member said she "hated the thought of all of those words just sitting there not being used".
Comments were made on whether the lending of books was practiced and if it was wise.
After some anecdotes, the consensus was that if you are willing to lend a book, you must also not count on its return.
On to this month's book "Mistress of the art of death" by Ariana Franklin.

The majority of the members seemed to enjoy the novel. Some found it hard going at first, but the pace picked up after the second chapter and it was a great read after that.
Set in medieval Cambridge England, the novel centers upon a female physician to the dead from Salerno who has been instructed by the King to visit Cambridge in the hopes that she might discern who was responsible for the murders of four children. The king was concerned because the Catholic citizens were blaming their Jewish neighbours and this was having an impact on the King's tariffs. The novel was steeped in religious history. Many lessons were learned which is one of the great perks of reading a historical novel. Margaret and I agreed that it was a cross between Kathy Reichs and Diana Gabaldon with about 60/40 veering toward the side of Gabaldon.
Written with historical accuracy and a keen sense of place, the mix of an intelligent protagonist and graphic scenes of depravity was skillfully rendered. The novel was very descriptive, though not at all boring or tedious in that description. It was agreed that the author viewed Henry II in a very sympathetic light.
The book had a satisfying conclusion and most agreed that they would read another book by the same author.
This novel won the Crime Writers’ Association Ellis Peters Historical Award for 2007.
and has it's own website which is certainly worth a visit: http://www.mistressoftheartofdeath.com/

Sunday, May 24, 2009

100 best mystery novels of all time

100 Best Mystery Novels of all time
The above link is another blog posting, so its validity is questionable.
Some might think it a good list, others would disagree. Some of the books mentioned are not mysteries in my opinion.
For instance "Silence of the lambs" by Thomas Harris, though an excellent read is a suspense/thriller and not a 'mystery'. "Smiley's people" by John Le Carré is a spy novel, not a 'mystery'.

What are your thoughts? Do you know of another, more true to the genre listing?
I'd love to hear from you...

Friday, May 15, 2009

Mystery award winners

Mystery Writers of America is the premier organization for mystery writers, professionals allied to the crime writing field, aspiring crime writers, and those who are devoted to the genre. They are the sponsors of the prestigious Edgar Award. The 63rd Annual Edgar® Awards Banquet was be held on Thursday April 30, 2009 in New York City.
The 2009 Grand Masters were announced to be James Lee Burke and Sue Grafton.
The winner for best novel was "Blue heaven" by C.J. Box.
The winner for best first novel was "The foreigner" by Francie Lin.

If you are interested in reading award-winning mystery fiction you can also check out the Agatha Awards (named for Agatha Christie)which are handed out by Malice Domestic Ltd. The winner of the 2008 Agatha Award for Best Novel was "The cruellest month" by Louise Penny. Winner of the Best First Novel Agatha was "Death of a cozy writer" by G.M. Maillet.

Other American awards for mystery fiction include The Anthony Awards. The Anthony Awards are literary awards for mystery writers presented at the Bouchercon World Mystery Convention. The awards are named for Anthony Boucher (1911-1968), one of the founders of the Mystery Writers of America. The most recent winner of the Anthony Award for Best Novel was "What the dead know" by Laura Lippman. The winner of the Anthony for Best First Novel was "In the woods" by Tana French.

Then there is the Macavity Awards for mystery writers. Nominated and voted upon annually by the members of the Mystery Readers International, the award is named for the "mystery cat" of T. S. Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats. The 2008 winner for Best Novel Macavity was "What the dead know" by Laura Lippman.

The Shamus Award is awarded annually by the Private Eye Writers of America to recognize outstanding achievement in private eye fiction. The 2008 Shamus winner was "Soul Patch" by Reed Farrel Coleman.

For the other side of the 'pond', there are the Daggers which are sponsored by the British Crime Writer's Association. This association was founded by novelist John Creasey in 1953. The winner of the 2008 Duncan Lawrie Dagger was "Blood from stone" by Frances Fyfield. The 2008 Duncan Lawrie International Dagger went to "Lorraine connection" by Dominique Manotti. For new writers there is a CWA New Blood Dagger which in 2008 went to "Bethlehem murders" by Matt Rees. The star of the awards ceremony was Sue Grafton who was the recipient of the 2008 Cartier Diamond Dagger for lifetime achievement.