Sixteen Whodunit members attended our May meeting on one of the first lovely evenings after a spell of rain and fog. There's dedication for you!
Sadly, our fearless leader was absent due to a family bereavement.
Gaye took charge of the meeting in her absence and she did a fine job of chairing our unruly group.
The novel this month was unlike previous picks in that it was a spy novel. "At Risk" by Stella Rimington was recommended by one of our members. We were asked to rate the novel out of 10. The average rating was 6.9 with the following breakdown: 3x8.5 ; 5x8 ; 1x8.1 ;1x7.9 ; 3x6 ; 2x5 ; 1x1
Written by the head of Britain's MI5, Stella Rimington brings insider knowledge to the subject of her novels. Her protagonist, Liz Carlyle goes on to feature in 5 other books in the series the most recent of which is "Rip tide" which comes out this year. She writes of plausible situations in a fashion that was appreciated by many, but was too verbose and detail driven for some. It was generally agreed that the first third of the book was slow, but that the plot gained momentum and was a page-turner toward the end. Most members spoke of their dislike for the MI6 character, Bruno. The author seemed to fully develop the personalities of her women characters -- much more than her male characters. Her portrayal of the terrorists was sympathetic. No small feat when you think about it... The target of the terrorists was kept a secret from the protagonists AND the reader which was appreciated by most of us. We were suprised when the target was revealed. The physical descriptions of setting were well done. So much so that the reader could almost feel the cold and hear the explosion.
Stella Rimington's first book was a memoir, "Open Secret". This work tells of her career in the MI5, which she joined in 1969 and worked with for close to 30 years. In 1992 she was appointed as the first female Director General of MI5. In 1993, Stella Rimington became the first DG of MI5 to pose openly for cameras at the launch of a brochure outlining the organization's activities. She became a Dame Commander of Order of the Bath in 1996. She has been called the First Lady of Espionage and has been chosen to chair the 2011 Man-Booker Prize.
You can see a video clip of an interview with Stella Rimington online.
Members were asked the question: "Do you usually read the acknowledgements, dedication and thank-you in the book you are reading?" Most do citing that they want to learn a little bit about the author and are curious to ascertain from where they got their research and support. Some said that it depended upon whether they liked the book or not.
Lucky book winners this month were: Jody, Cathy, Betty and Tracey. Congratulations girls!
Next month's meeting on June 28th we will discuss the novel: "Life sentences" by Laura Lippman.