Eighteen members were present for the June meeting.
Pam posed the question: "Does a mystery have to contain a murder in order for it to be a good read?" With the exception of a few who like their stories to be a little gory and love a good murder, most thought that a novel could be considered a good read if the 'mystery' was something as mundane as a theft, a missing person, or the like as long as the characters and plot were interesting.
This month's novel was "Life sentences" by Laura Lippman.
The members present were asked to rate this month's book out of 10. Two members abstained from voting as they had not read the book. The remaining sixteen rated an average of 5/10. Not really a 'mystery' in the usual sense of the genre, this novel was more a study that explores the responsibility writers hold for the content of their work.
"Life Sentences" was inspired by a real-life story of a Baltimore woman whose young son disappeared, whereupon she refused to make any statement and spent seven years in prison for contempt of court. Lippman's protagonist in the novel, Cassandra Fallows, an author, knew a girl in grade school who, as an adult, had that same experience. Cassandra sets out to write a book about herself and her childhood friends and how this girl, Callie Jenkins, eventually went to jail under suspicion of murdering her son. Cassandra returns to her home town of Baltimore and seeks the memories of old friends who no longer feel terribly friendly toward her -- and whose memories often differ dramatically from her own.
The few members who rated this novel highly liked the concept dealing with memory. How the book raised the notion that everyone's 'truth' is different. How different people witnessing the same event can have completely different memories of that event. How, over time, we can reinvent the past to suit ourselves making it all about us.
Those who did not rate the novel highly found that the author did not invest in her characters which left the reader not really caring about them one way or another. The novel seemed comprised of several different story lines without any one being followed through before another started.
The lucky winners of three hardcover novels were: Betty, Kim and Marilyn. Congratulations!
The next meeting will be July 26th when we will discuss "Foul deeds" by Linda Moore.
Reminder: There will not be a meeting of the Whodunit Book Club in August.