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, October 27, 2009

Whodunit Book Club - October 27, 2009

A lively group of seventeen attended this evening's Whodunit Book Club. We welcomed one new member.

Pam's 'magical question' this evening: "Do you find that the length of a book influences/impacts upon your reading choice?"
Most ascertained that the size of a book made little to no difference in whether they would read it or not. Some commented that if they were really pressed for time, then they would steer clear of a lengthy book. Some said that the size of the print was more of a factor than the number of pages. The comment was made that their opinion depended upon genre. For instance a mystery should be no longer than about 350 pages while a historical novel could be up to 1000 pages and not be too long.

The book discussed this month was "Talking to Wendigo" by John C. Goodman. A first novel by a Canadian author, the book was generally liked by the majority of members.
Many commented that the imagery was outstanding with wonderfully vivid descriptions. The characters were well fleshed out and the First Nations lore was well depicted. The weakness of the plot was what let the book down for a lot of us. Repetition of known facts (especially concerning the gold scam conspirators) was annoying. The placement of the body was disappointing. Why if the murderer took the trouble to move it, didn't he move it farther away? Far enough that the smell of decomposition would not alert anyone to its whereabouts. The 'mystery' was not the book's strength.
The protagonist William was a likeable character, though he seemed directionless and thus easily led. He felt he had wasted his life and that he was a failure. It was only when he retired and moved to the remote woodland location that he became more introspective and seemed to grow emotionally. The touch of romance at the end of the book was satisfying.
Most of the Whodunit members agreed that they would read another if the author decides to turn it into a series. The vivid characters and descriptions were enough to make up for the plot weaknesses. Also, with a second novel perhaps the protagonist would 'grow' as would perhaps the author's handling of plot.
Due to Pam's generousity, the end of the club brought the 'free books' draw as per usual. Tonight's winners were: Carolyn, Lynne, Brian and Elizabeth.
Pam held a second draw for six copies of Anne Murray's new book "All of Me".
The winners of this draw were: Elizabeth, Nancy, Laird, Joanne, Jean and Marilyn.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

"The Brutal Telling" by Louise Penny

It seems so unfair that the reddest, juiciest apples are oftentimes the ones in which a worm is concealed. The picture perfect, idyllic town of Three Pines proves this true when a stranger’s body is found in the town’s café on the village green.

The café is run by Olivier, a gay man who moved to Three Pines with his partner Gabriel who runs the local Bread and Breakfast. The two men are now village fixtures and have befriended one and all. Why would anyone leave a dead body in the café?

When Chief Inspector Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec returns to the village to investigate the murder, he is pleased to see his old friends again. Gamache has invaded their territory before, always on business, but the village has become a favorite of his on a personal level. He suspects that his friend Olivier is not being completely truthful with him, but cannot imagine why. He along with his hand-picked murder team examine the circumstances of the crime as only they can. In addition Gamache has chosen a new member of the team, a young constable who at first seems to have little to offer, but since Inspector Gamache has chosen him we trust he has hidden depths. He teaches him the same lesson that he has taught the others: “What kills can’t be seen. That’s what makes it so dangerous. It’s not a gun or a knife or a fist. It’s not anything you can see coming. It’s an emotion. Rancid, spoiled. And waiting for a chance to strike.”

The villagers want desperately for the murderer to be NOT ‘one of them’. It would be much easier to comprehend if a stranger had committed the crime. There are newcomers who have renovated an old house and turned it into a luxury spa who are disliked by some of the villagers. How convenient if they were the murderers…

When the police find the woodland cabin where the murder took place, they are dumbfounded to learn that the cabin is filled with priceless antiques and other treasures. Gamache wonders how this new revelation will impact on his inquiries. Why didn’t the murderer also steal the valuables? How did an old hermit come to have these items?

We know from the outset of the novel that the secret Olivier has been keeping from Gamache is that he knew the murder victim. He took provisions up to his cabin and shared stories and tea with him on a regular basis. Why then doesn’t Olivier just let the police know this?

The brutal telling” is the fifth book in this series. All superb examples of what mystery fiction should be. The first book in the series, “Still life”, deservedly won five prestigious literary awards.

The setting, a picturesque village in Quebec’s Eastern Townships is a place that is hard to leave when the last page is reached. Louise Penny’s characters are so well drawn that over the course of five books they have become my friends. With this latest novel, Gamache has become my very favorite fictional detective. Interspersed with poetry and art, these are literary mysteries for the discerning reader. If you haven’t yet had the pleasure to read Louise Penny you are in for a real treat. When I finished “The brutal telling” my only disappointment was that I have to wait at least a year for another book in the series.

"A Brutal Telling" review ©Lynne LeGrow

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Mystery Writers Panel

Mystery Writers Panel
Mount Saint Vincent University
Faculty Lounge, Seton Academic Centre, Room 405/405

part of the

Panel Authors include:
Pamela Callow, Anne Emery, Brad Kelln,
R.J. Harlick, and Vicki Delaney

Friday, October 30th
7:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Reception, Book Sales & Author Signings to follow
Everyone Welcome

For additional information:

or call
457-6178 (Faculty of Education main line)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Get in the mood for Halloween

My all-time favourite chilling tale is the novel "Harvest Home" by Thomas Tryon. A book that will give you nightmares! A New York couple and their daughter move to a quaint country village in New England hoping to settle into a tranquil existence. They found that the locals were obsessed with ancient pagan rituals and that the village is seemingly controlled by the Widow Fortune, an old woman with a knack for healing. The village has a secret, and its insular villagers are all in on it! Determined to discover what that secret is leads the protagonist to find that some secrets are best left undiscovered.
Harvest Home is a great read for those interested in the horror, suspense, and mystery genre. While it's not the typical blood-and-guts horror story, it is terrifying, largely due to its believability.
This novel was made into an excellent TV mini-series entitled "The dark secret of Harvest Home" starring Bette Davis as the Widow Fortune.
There is even an online study guide available for the novel "Harvest Home".