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

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Whodunit Book Club - July 28, 2009

We were honoured tonight to have the author of this month's selection visit our Whodunit meeting. Eugene Meese was a delight! He regaled us with some of the background preparation and notes that he used as 'fodder' for his debut mystery novel, "A Magpie's smile". Members of the club asked lots of questions, and it was generally agreed that everyone enjoyed the book. (That doesn't often happen).
It seemed quite obvious that there were two protagonists of the book. One the policeman Jake Fry and the other the city of Calgary.
Written with a keen sense of place and time, the novel was painstakingly researched even down to what the weather was on any one of the eight days in May 1977 in which the book was set. Eugene Meese lived in Calgary during that period and took copious notes on all of the news stories of the time. He employed a storyboard to aid in the chronological structure of the novel.
All of the characters in the novel, both primary and secondary, were fully rounded out. The detail was sharp but not monotonous. The sights and smells came through with deftly placed words that evoked a sense of place not often found in first novels.
Mr. Meese assured us that "A Magpie's smile" is a stand-alone novel. He did say however that he has an idea for a series 'in the works' set on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia during the 1990s. He is also exploring the idea for a historical novel set in 1920s Romania.
This photo was taken this evening at club.
If you were not one of the lucky ones who attended tonight's meeting, you can listen to Eugene Meese by following the links found here.
The blurb from the back cover reads: "When the scalped remains of a Jane Doe are discovered within the rubble of a demolished house, Detective Jake Fry is assigned the task of hunting down Calgary's most disturbed murderer. Working against a rising body count and police department politics, Fry must relentlessly pursue a murderer with an agenda no one but he can comprehend. During Calgary's first economic boom, people flocked from all corners of the country to the city rumored to have streets paved in gold. Explore the dark side of this boom in "A Magpie's Smile", a tautly chronological police thriller and cinematic portrait of the frenetic Calgary of the 1970s."

Monday, July 13, 2009

"Hurting distance" by Sophie Hannah

Anyone who is a fan of psychological mystery/thrillers by such authors as Ruth Rendell or Minette Walters is sure to enjoy "Hurting distance" by Sophie Hannah. This is the second title I've read by her and they keep getting better! The author had SO many loose ends that I couldn't imagine how she would resolve the storyline. However, she tied everything together flawlessly. Quite a feat!
The novel's title is explained on page 80 which states: "The people you love are within hurting distance, close range. Strangers aren't."
The novel begins with Naomi Jenkins who is fearful for her lover when he doesn't show up at their weekly rendevous site. She is certain that he would never not show up without first letting her know. She becomes so upset that she reports the matter to the police. They interview the man's wife who insists that he is fine and visiting friends in Kent. Then when the police won't follow the matter further she changes her story and says that he raped her and must be found at once! The police view her as very unreliable as she keeps lying to them and changing her story.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, as the back story of the policewoman Charlie Zailer becomes an integral part of the plot. The novel is told alternately by Naomi and Charlie Zailer, so the reader gets a two-sided view of the plot development. Convoluted, but in a brilliant way, Sophie Hannah manages to keep all of her ducks in a row and has written a complex novel of obsessive love, betrayal and damaged psyches.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

"Sweetness at the bottom of the pie"

What a novel premise for a mystery novel! The protagonist is an eleven year old female aspiring chemist. Growing up in a motherless, and very eccentric household, Flavia de Luce is memorable to say the least. Throw in a dead bird, a little poison and some rare stamps, and you've got a unique historical British mystery written by a Canadian, Alan Bradley.
The book is the first of a proposed series called the Buckshaw Chronicles and Flavia even has her own fan club!
It has placed on numerous bestseller lists and has won the Debut Dagger Award awarded by the British Crime Writer's Association!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Whodunit Book Club - June 30, 2009

Another great evening spent at Chapters Dartmouth. The question posed this month was: "Do you save books up to take on vacation?" It is always interesting to hear how others answer the questions and even more interesting to hear the little anecdotes that go with them. Most of us DO take books on vacation, but not that many actually save them up for this specific purpose. Some take as many as one for each day they will be away, others just take one book to read on the journey and buy more when they reach their destination. We heard about the rewards of writing travel journals, the merits of taking books with us that are local to the area we are visiting so as to possibly get our books signed when we are there!

This month's novel was "The Spellman Files" by Lisa Lutz. Most of us enjoyed the book, in fact there didn't seem to be anyone who disliked it. However, that being said, most of us agreed that there was no real 'mystery'. It was just a nice light read bordering on the farcical. The Spellman's seemed unable to differentiate between their own personal family life and their work, partly we suppose due to the fact that they work from their home.
We heard that the second novel in this series "The curse of the Spellmans" has been nominated for an Edgar Award. Personally, even this accolade will probably not entice me to read it. Although I rather enjoyed the first novel, I feel that I have no wish to make further acquaintance with the Spellman Family.
Next month's meeting should be exciting as we have the author Eugene Meese attending our meeting. His novel "A magpie's smile" is our selection for next month.