Virtual Mystery Book Group

This group is a permanently virtual book group focusing on all kinds of mysteries. We will explore a new Theme for 3 months in a row at 3 times during the year.

It meets 9 times a year by Zoom on a Wednesday from 4:30-5:30 during the months of January-March, May-July and September-November.

You can join for one session, all sessions or any time a book or theme interests you. Register in the library’s Event calendar to have a Zoom Link sent to you before the meeting.  Please send questions and theme or book suggestions to Phoebe Acheson, Facilitator. 

Winter 2023 Theme : Classic Mysteries

To start off 2023, we’ll delve into some classics of the genre. In January, we’ll read three short stories from the early days of mysteries, by the pioneering authors Arthur Conan Doyle, Maurice Leblanc, and G.K. Chesterton. In February, we’ll learn about bell-ringing in Kent England as well as solving two distinct crimes when we read The Nine Tailors by Dorothy Sayers. In March, we’ll explore the historical mystery of Richard III with hospitalized Alan Grant as we read Josephine Tey’s The Daughter of Time.

Wednesday January 11, 2023, 4:30pm: Three Short Stories. Register.

All of these stories are out of copyright and thus available online, directly linked above. They are also collected in various anthologies; please let us know if we can help you find a print copy!

Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) wrote the first Sherlock Homes novel in 1886, and is given almost single credit for the wild popularity of crime fiction which persists to this day. In addition to writing fiction he was a physician and spiritualist and wrote widely on a variety of topics. Leblanc (1864-1941), Doyle’s contemporary, began his career as a journalist and novelist but found true success writing the adventures of the thief, Arsene Lupin, who was his main character. Chesterton (1874-1936) also wrote widely, but is best known for his Christian apologetics, so it is fitting that his detective is a Roman Catholic priest.

Descriptions: Is there any need to describe Sherlock Holmes? “A Scandal in Bohemia” was the first short story featuring Holmes, and one of the author’s favorites. It also includes his most notable female character, Irene Adler. “The Arrest of Arsene Lupin” introduces the ‘gentleman thief’ whose exploits, while illegal, are perhaps not of entirely dubious morality. “The Hammer of God” is classic Chesterton, with a cryptic Father Brown turning the mystery upon its head and quietly walking away after determining the true story.

Wednesday February 8, 2023, 4:30pm: The Nine Tailors, by Dorothy Sayers. Register.

Available in CLAMS.

Dorothy Sayers (1893-1957) was ranked with Christie (and Margery Allingham and Ngaio Marsh) as top mystery authors of the Golden Age, although she also had a career as an essayist and published an English translation of Dante’s Divine Comedy. The Nine Tailors (1934) is the ninth of her novels featuring Lord Peter Wimsey, a British aristocrat who solves crimes as a hobby.

Description: The nine tellerstrokes from the belfry of an ancient country church toll out the death of an unknown man and call the famous Lord Peter Wimsey to investigate the good and evil that lurks in every person. Steeped in the atmosphere of a quiet parish in the strange, flat fen-country of East Anglia, this is a tale of suspense, character, and mood by an author critics and readers rate as one of the great masters of the mystery novel.

Wednesday March 8, 2023, 4:30pm: The Daughter of Time, by Josephine Tey. Register.

Available in CLAMS.

Josephine Tey was the pseudonym of the Scottish author Elizabeth MacKintosh (1896-1952), who wrote plays as well as eight mystery novels. Six of them featured police detective Alan Grant, but The Daughter of Time (1951) is unusual in that the detective is flat on his back in a hospital bed, the crime took place five hundred years earlier, and the sources are historical documents.

Description: In The Daughter of Time, Tey focuses on the legend of Richard III, the evil hunchback of British history accused of murdering his young nephews. While at a London hospital recuperating from a fall, Inspector Alan Grant becomes fascinated by a portrait of King Richard. A student of human faces, Grant cannot believe that the man in the picture would kill his own nephews. With an American researcher’s help, Grant delves into his country’s history to discover just what kind of man Richard Plantagenet was and who really killed the little princes.

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