Working at my local library over the years has been a perfect fit for my varied interests, particularly literary ones. In 2004, I began a book discussion group focused on the mystery genre. This Mystery Book Club has evolved over the years and continues to meet at the library today.
In the 15 years since the group first met, the Mystery Book Club has read more than 150 mysteries, suspense thrillers, and a few true crime tales. And recently, I thought it was time to celebrate with a look back at all the titles we read. Follow along as I take you through the years in a look back at “15 Years of Mysteries.”
The Mystery Book Club I started officially launched in September 2004. Our small group originally met on Thursday nights at 7:00pm for an hour-long discussion. The very first book we read was Carolyn G. Hart’s The Christie Caper. Originally written in 1991, The Christie Caper is the 7th book in the Death on Demand mystery series and an homage to Agatha Christie. I thought it would be a fitting start to our tour of the genre.
September 2004 selection
The Christie Caper by Carolyn G. Hart
Synopsis: Annie and Max Darling host a week-long celebration of Agatha Christie’s posthumous 100th birthday at their Death on Demand bookstore. When a despised critic shows up and spoils the celebration, two attempts are made on his life. The Darlings investigate hoping to prevent a murder. Lots of Christie trivia are included throughout the novel.
Thoughts: When I began The Poisoned Martini blog, this was one of the first books I revisited for a review. By my count, I believe it was the 23rd post on the site. It’s one of the few books I would consider re-reading again. Probably more for the nostalgia factor than anything else.
October 2004 selection
A Morbid Taste for Bones by Ellis Peters
Synopsis: This medieval murder mystery set in the 12th century sees Brother Cadfael use his knowledge of herbs and observation skills to solve the murder of a landowner. Published in 1977, it was the first of 21 novels featuring the Benedictine monk.
Thoughts: When selecting books for the initial launch of the Mystery Book Club, this one was high on my list of must-reads. I was familiar with the TV series, Cadfael, starring Derek Jacobi, but hadn’t seen any of the episodes. The next best thing was to read the books that the series was based on. Naturally, I picked the first book to feature Brother Cadfael. It’s interesting to note—as I later found out—that this particular book is the basis for the 3rd episode of the 2nd season of the TV series. I never formally reviewed the book for The Poisoned Martini, but it did feature as part of a 2014 post about weeding books and the rise of ebooks.
November 2004 selection
Murder at Ford’s Theatre by Margaret Truman
Synopsis: Part of Truman’s Capital Crimes series, published in 2002, this one focuses on the murder of a woman who worked for a powerful senator. Two D.C. cops investigate the crime and the attempts to cover it up.
Thoughts: The first Margaret Truman book I ever read was Murder at the Cathedral. I enjoyed it and went on to read several others of hers before picking this title for the Mystery Book Club. This one was a solid read, but I do prefer the books featuring Mac Smith and Annabel Reed. I should revisit these novels, many featuring famous Washington, D.C. landmarks, as I realize I’ve never reviewed one for my blog.
December 2004 selection
Busman’s Honeymoon by Dorothy Sayers
Synopsis: In this 1937 classic, Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane have married and travel to Talboys, their new county getaway where a man is found dead at the bottom of the cellar stairs.
Thoughts: Ten years prior, I had seen a stage production of this at the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake. The play had been my first exposure to Sayers’ work and I’d thought it ingenious at the time. Having seen it performed as definitely a plus when it came time to reading it. The howdunit part of the novel was easier to visual. Surprisingly, I’ve never done a review of this one either.
And that’s it for Year One. Stay tuned for a look at the years that followed as I look back at the more than 150 books read in 15 years of mysteries.