With only 13 persons in attendance (all female) this was the smallest gathering at Whodunit for some time.
Pam's 'magical' question for this evening:
"If you could come up with your own mystery book award, what would it be for?"
Some great answers included:
Best surprise ending
Most realistic/authentic story
Most interesting protagonist
Most puzzling mystery
Best depicted setting
Best dust-jacket cover art
Most riveting story (page-turner)
Best first line
Best mystery series
Most well researched novel
Best animal sidekick
Most dastardly villain
Best candidate for a series
Best title (fits plot)
The novel under discussion for this month was: "And on the surface die" by Lou Allin.
Born in Toronto and brought up in Cleveland, Ohio, Lou Allin then returned to Sudbury, Ontario where she held a teaching position at Cambrian College. She taught literature, writing and public speaking for more than twenty-five years. She has a PhD in English Renaissance literature and she wrote her thesis on Christopher Marlow. She retired to British Columbia where her Holly Martin mystery series is set.
Whodunit members did a little vote on the novel and it earned a 5/10. Two members said they would read another novel in the series, two members said maybe and the rest of us said that we wouldn't pursue the series further.
The general consensus was that the novel could have done with more characterization and less flowery description which relied heavily on adjectives. Some felt that so much emphasis was put on trivialities that it almost seemed like deliberate 'padding'. There seemed to be an overuse of quotation marks and it was generally agreed that the novel could have been much shorter.
The setting played a huge role in the novel and it was felt that the author did a good job of describing Vancouver Island.
It was said that some aspects of the novel could have been developed more. The mystery surrounding Holly's mother was intriguing. The policewoman, Ann (of the bad back) and Chipper, Holly's sidekick - were both quite likeable characters who could have been fleshed out more.
Holly Martin seemed a cold character who routinely disparaged others.
There were many unanswered questions about the novel. Why did the murderer choose the victim? Why murder her rather than just molest her?
We wondered what the title had to do with the plot as it seemed completely unrelated to the story.
For those who DO want to read a second novel in the series, the title is: "She felt no pain". Perhaps the series will improve...
Although this was not a favourite novel for Whodunit Book Club - it was a most enjoyable meeting.
There was talk of the mating habits of slugs... MUCH HILARITY ensued. O.K. so we do digress just a little....
This month's lucky book winners were:
Next month's novel (as recommended by Betty) is:
"At Risk" by Stella Rimington