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Mystery Book Club - Past Titles: June 2023

Titles from the Mystery Book Club at the Islington Branch *No longer an active club*

"Invitation Only Murder" by Leslie Meier

  1. What did you like most about the book?
  2. What did you like the least?
  3. What was the cozy trope or tropes? (i.e. baking, tea, pets, travel, crafts, etc.) How well did the author integrate the trope into the story? Would you have liked to see anything done differently?
  4. How well did the author integrate the mystery into the story? Was it an integral part or did it seem like an afterthought? What could the author have done better?
  5. Were you able to figure out who the killer or culprit was? Why or why not?
  6. Who was your favorite character? Why?
  7. Who was your least favorite character? Why?
  8. What was your favorite subplot?
  9. If the cozy mystery takes place in a small town, what was your favorite part? Your least favorite? Why?
  10. What three words would you use to best describe this book?
  11. What was your favorite moment in the book? Your least favorite?
  12. What do you think the purpose of this book was? What ideas or themes was the book trying to get across?
  13. Did the main character grow or change in this book?
  14. Was there another character other than the main character who grew or changed? Who was that character and how did that character transform the course of the book?
  15. Was there anything you initially thought was one way, but it turned out to be something else?
  16. If you got the chance to ask the author of this book one question, what would it be?
  17. Would you read more books by this author? Why or why not?
  18. Did you find any of the writing offensive or uninformed?
    1. “I hate to say it, but I think that if there is some sort of evil afoot and this isn't all  a series of unfortunate coincidences, it's gotta be one of us. And it follows that I’m the only one of us who’s kind of different. I’m clearly Latino, right, with my skin and hair and accent. I can even speak Spanish…So here I am, the odd one out, and it's just a matter of time before somebody accuses me.” (pg. 75)
    2. “I know I shouldn't speak ill of the dead, and were not supposed to get into slut shaming, but the truth is that Parker was really rather promiscuous. She was probably planning to have a little fling with each of the guys before the summer was over, kind of a sexy smorgasbord.” (pg. 95)
  • I started writing in the late ‘80s when I was attending graduate classes at Bridgewater State College. I wanted to become certified to teach high school English and one of the required courses was Writing and the Teaching of Writing. My professor suggested that one of the papers I wrote for that course was good enough to be published and I sent it off to Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine’s Department of First Stories. I got $100 for the story and I’ve been writing ever since. The teaching, however, didn’t work out.
  • My books draw heavily on my experience as a mother of three and my work as a reporter for various weekly newspapers on Cape Cod. My heroine, Lucy Stone, is a reporter in the fictional town of Tinker’s Cove, Maine, where she lives in an old farmhouse (quite similar to mine on Cape Cod!) with her restoration carpenter husband Bill, and four children. As the series has progressed the kids have grown older, roughly paralleling my own family. We seem to have reached a point beyond which Lucy cannot age–my editor seems to want her to remain forty-something forever, though I have to admit I personally am dying to write “Menopause is Murder!”
  • I usually write one Lucy Stone mystery every year and as you can tell, my editor likes me to feature the holidays in my books. Of course, Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year, and my newest mystery “Eggnog Murder,” is included in an anthology with two other Christmas novellas by Barbara Ross and Lee Hollis. I’ve long been a fan of the classic English country house mystery, and was a faithful watcher of “Downton Abbey,” so I couldn’t resist trying to write one. I think I succeeded rather well if I do say so myself, with “British Manor Murder,” which came out in October 2016.
  • My books are classified as “cozies” but a good friend insists they are really “comedies of manners” and I do enjoy expressing my view of contemporary American life.
  • Now that the kids are grown — we have five fabulous grandchildren — my husband and I enjoy dividing our time between Braintree and Cape Cod, along with our cat, Sylvester.
  • "I was recently asked to describe my writing space for a story about writers and where they write, and it occurred to me that Lucy fans might also be interested. Laptops changed everything for me, like most writers, as I can now write wherever I happen to be. My favorite place to write, however, is at the beautiful table my brother-in-law, Leon Long, made for me. It’s a narrow table that fits along one wall of my living room. The idea was that I could use it for writing but, if I had guests for dinner, I could put the laptop and writing stuff away and use it as a sideboard since it is next to a round table that usually holds books and a plant but can seat four. This arrangement works brilliantly!” (Leslie Meier)


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