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, November 27, 2012

Whodunit Meeting November 27, 2012

The last Whodunit meeting of 2012 was a lively gathering of eighteen diverse mystery lovers.  We all know each other fairly well by this time which makes the club discussions even more interesting.
Those who were absent were missed, but we realize that this busy time of year - on a clear and crisp November evening there are many reasons why members might miss a meeting. To those members we wish a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

The novel discussed this evening was "Fall from Grace" by Canadian novelist Wayne Arthurson. Set in Edmonton, Alberta, the novel's protagonist is a journalist who is struggling to get his life back on track after losing everything he held dear.

Leo Desroche is assigned to cover the murder of a young native prostitute named Grace. His article starts a chain of events that leads him to a much, much bigger story, and puts his life in danger. Meanwhile he tries to re-establish relations with his family with whom he has been estranged since his own personal 'fall from grace'.

As is our usual custom we canvassed the group to vote for the novel out of ten.  Our votes reflect our reading experience overall and do not necessarily reflect directly on the plot. Other factors can influence our vote such as cover art, poor editing, etc.  It was the latter that was mentioned frequently at tonight's meeting.  The editor missed omitted words, misspelled names and added words where there should have been none.  Many readers (of which I am one) find this very off-putting.
The group's overall rating was 6.47 out of a possible 10 points.  Only five of the members in attendance said they would likely read another book by this author.

The protagonist of the novel was deeply flawed.  A flawed central character is often appealing, but we must ask ourselves "How much will we accept?"  Leo Desroche is a compulsive gambler, a dead-beat Dad, a bank-robber and a recovering addict who formerly lived on the streets.  He is an army brat who comes from a mixed race family with Cree blood on his mother's side. These two factors seems to have created issues for him growing up.

Some readers found his many flaws acceptable, others found that though he seemed very intelligent he was a narcissist who tried to blame others for his many problems.  He appeared to be a character you either love or hate. He seemed to be constantly calculating risks. The title "Fall from Grace" seemed well chosen and reflected the novel's plot.  There seemed to be too many story lines happening concurrently.  However, there were many gripping passages that showed the true potential of the author's writing.

Wayne Arthurson is a journalist in real life, so his descriptions of the busy newsroom come from first-hand knowledge. The setting was well described and accurate according to those members familiar with the Edmonton area.  The descriptions were well written with the imagery so skillfully done that the reader could vividly picture the places and feel the cold...

"Fall from Grace" won the 2012 Alberta Reader's Choice Award.
Visit Wayne Arthurson's blog "Big Time Writer? Yeah right!".

The lucky winners of this month's book giveaways were:

There will be no Whodunit meeting in December.  The club will reconvene January 29th when we will discuss Mark Billingham's novel "Sleepy Head".

Review of "Three Graves Full"

My latest book review for Simon & Schuster has just been posted to my 'Fictionophile' blog.
I reviewed "Three Graves Full" by Jamie Mason.  This is a debut novel that I highly recommend.
See my review: http://fictionophile.wordpress.com/2012/11/27/three-graves-full-by-jamie-mason/

Thursday, November 8, 2012

October 30, 2012 Whodunit Meeting

The Whodunit Book Club met on a dark and blustery October 30 to discuss the Reluctant Detective by P.E.I. writer, Finley Martin. Twelve members attended and one sent an assessment in absentia. The reluctant detective of the title refers to a young, recently widowed mother (Anne with an “e”) who returns to Prince Edward Island to work as a receptionist for her Uncle Billy, a private detective. When Billy dies and leaves her the agency she decides to keep it and become a detective as well. 

As we went around the circle to give our assessments of the book the comments were not favourable. They included: improbable, far-fetched, unbelievable, cartoonish and silly. We discussed the structure of the book, its short chapters and uneven pacing. Most liked the way it started by introducing a new, reluctant, detective, finding her way, but then found it veered off into improbable action thriller mode. There was some humour in the book but many readers wanted more. One person pointed out inaccuracies concerning Africa and the use of the derogatory term “natives” when referring to African people. Despite these negative comments about 5 people said they would consider reading another book if it were to become a series. The Charlottetown setting rang true and the characters around the detective, although not necessarily the detective herself, were likeable. This combination has potential for another book. It was agreed that the blurb and publicity around the book created high expectations which were not met, especially when compared to other books we have been reading lately. The average rating was 5/10.
Gaye recommended a British writer, Sophie Hannah, and a book, "The Keeper of Lost Causes" by Danish writer Jussi Adler-Olsen.
Congrats to the winners of the book draw: Marlene, Cathy, Carolyn and Heather.

Many thanks to Marlene for writing this post in my absence.  I did read the book and heartily agree with the above comments.  I think it very unlikely that I will read another book my this author.
Next month’s book is Fall from Grace by Edmonton writer Wayne Arthurson