Saturday, February 18, 2017

2017 #MarchMysteryMadness Challenge

#MarchMysteryMadness GOODREADS GROUP
#MarchMysteryMadness on TWITTER

~~~~~ The Classic Mystery 50 Years or Older~~~~~
(Read a classic mystery from or before 1967)
“But suppose one doesn't quite know which one wants to put first. Suppose," said Harriet, falling back on words which were not her own, "suppose one is cursed with both a heart and a brain?

'You can usually tell,' said Miss de Vine, "by seeing what kind of mistakes you make. I'm quite sure that one never makes fundamental mistakes about the thing one really wants to do. Fundamental mistakes arise out of lack of genuine interest. In my opinion, that is.” 

Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers

There’s a phrase that’s been popular at lot less longer than these old classic pioneers of the mystery genre. It’s “she gets it from her mamma.” In this case, we’ve tumbled deep into getting it from our great-grandmothers and fathers. Now I’m not one to manage numbers well, but anyone shooting for Patricia Wentworth or Mary Roberts Rinehart will nail this one. Unless I’ve miscalculated once again.

But hey. The default is anything by Poe or Christie, right?

They’re always a safe bet. But who wants to be safe this year?
~~~~~ The First or Sequel~~~~~
(Read the first book in a series, or the sequel to another) 
“Even at a glance, even in this light, I could tell my friend was dead. He lay on his side in what common sense told me must be blood. Only it didn’t smell like blood.

My fingers clutched the flash. I stood for a moment, several moments. It seemed like hours. Finally I knelt and dipped my finger into the pool of liquid. It was thick and sticky. Paint. Bright-red house paint.

I straightened, wiping my finger on my jeans before I realized what I was doing.

‘Oh, Jake,’ I said, louder. My words echoed in the cavernous room, and then the old house enveloped me in ponderous silence. From outside came the bellow of foghorns on San Francisco Bay.

The Cheshire Cat’s Eye by Marcia Muller

The question everyone wants to know is what happens next to our sleuth? What is the next logical or illogical step? Should the sleuth immediately call the police? Should the sleuth exam the body and, effectively, tamper evidence? Or the most important question: what is our sleuth's background? Or are you acquainted with his or her background and here for the next row of shenanigans? Or are you totally new to his or her system?

I guess the question is would you rather have new shoes or stick with your old hats?

~~~~~ The New-to-You Author~~~~~
(Read an author who is new to you) 
“Having squeezed fifteen feet into the rocky maze, Anna wedged herself tightly into a crack and turned off her head-lamp. Covering mouth and nose, she tried to smother the rasp of her breathing. As it ebbed, she was overwhelmed by a different, greater noise. Thrumming, distant and roaring, as if a dam had broken and water poured down into the rooms and passages of the cave. Water or gas. Could his bullets have damaged a pipe, killing him, her, and the cave? The sound grew more intense, an explosion forced through arteries and veins of stone.”

Blind Descent by Nevada Barr

You may see this from a commercial standpoint, but it doesn’t hurt to have a gimmick–a hook. Editors love books they can market. Books with a unique feature that communicates instantaneously to readers and their interest. It can be a sleuth’s profession, and how crime and murder seeps into his or her everyday. Or it can be a particularly intriguing backdrop set up for some good ole crime-solving.

Dick Francis takes readers into horses and horse racing. Tamar Myers does Pennsylvania Dutch mysteries like no other. Victoria Laurie is not afraid of employing a psychic detective to solve murder. The variety is out there and never ending. Too many options in fact. So step out and try an author who has always had his or her hook stuck deep in your peripheral. Though not yet reeled. 
~~~~~ The Paranormal or Futuristic Murders~~~~~
(Read mystery with a paranormal or futuristic theme/setting)
“For the poor and displaced in the bowels of New York City in the icy dawn of 2059, the pain, the despair, the terror were constant companions. For the mental defectives and physically flawed who slipped through society’s cracks, the city was simply another kind of prison.”

Conspiracy in Death by J. D. Robb

The story of Cain and Abel marked the beginnings of murder. The first criminal mugshot emerged in Britain 150 years ago. 

For freedom or retribution. For love or hate. So long as there are humans, there will be murder. No matter the chronology of evolution and our lessons in history. Or geographical scope. It will always be there so long as we breathe and feel. Even as the earth changes and we shuttle off into the depths of space. Or, perhaps, seek the capabilities of the dead to assist us. Murder will always be just an emotion–an impulse–away. And there will always be someone on the opposite end to reconstruct the chaos it leaves behind. Even if it never, ever makes sense. 
~~~~~ The Kid or Youth Detective~~~~~
(Read a mystery with a adolescent/teen detective)
“I tried to tell my mother not to send me here to live. Besides the graveyard around the corner, there’s the Sunrise Funeral Parlor two blocks over. The undertaker is always asking how I’m doing. Like he hopes I’ll get sick again and come to be with him soon. My mother sent me anyhow. Even after I cried and made myself throw up.”

Unstoppable Octobia May by Sharon Flake (thanks, Arlene)

Nate the Great.

A to Z Mysteries.

Cam Jansen.

Encyclopedia Brown.

The Boxcar Children.

Shoot, even the Ghostwriter series had spin-off books.

So what do all these series have in common? Well, their sleuth can hardly drive a car to a crime scene–let alone apply for a learners' permit. Yet, a Royal Blue BMX Freestyle without training wheels usually suffices. Some of our most dogged sleuths are usually right on the cusp of puberty or below. And capable and crafty enough to capture any criminal who underestimates the inquisitiveness youth.

~~~~~ The Diverse Character~~~~~

(Read a mystery with a protagonist outside your background)

“A fine rain was falling as Detective Marti MacAlister made her way through the tall grass to the wooded area where the arm had been found. It was cool for early September, and the rain, little more than a mist, felt cold. She shivered as she reached the shelter of a stand of red oaks. Ahead, she could see a small cluster of men, perhaps half a dozen, all but one in uniform. Plastic yellow tape banded around a cluster of tree trunks identified the crime scene, and she could see the bent figure of the pathologist squatting near the remains. A photographer was taking pictures. Marti had her camera, too. Behind her, wood snapped as her partner, Matthew ‘Vik’ Jessenovik, caught up with her.”

Whisper in the Dark by Eleanor Taylor Bland

Crime and murder has no limits. No color. Except for RED!

~~~~~ The Cozy Mystery~~~~~
(We all know the drill on this one)
“Susan looked down at the Mark Cross bag, a present from her mother-in-law on her last birthday. Did this meek-looking man think she was going to pull a knife from its smooth interiror and stab him? Or anyone else? ‘This is my purse. I had it with me when I came into the library. It has nothing to do with this… this death,’ she insisted."

All Hallow’s Eve by Valerie Wolzien

Librarians to gardeners. Shop keepers to teachers. Murder to amateur sleuth. What makes a cozy mystery? Is it the small-town setting seen through a busy-body sleuthing? Specifically one who suspects his or her neighbor of small-town murder? Is it the fun and lighter tone served without the darkness that makes up other mystery sub-genres? Or is simply the “safety” they provide as sex and murder usual occurs off-stage, as opposed to in your face?

~~~~~ The True Crime or Thriller~~~~~
(Read a true crime story or thriller)
“A girl who’d sent one e-mail after another to a guy with no interest in her had been murdered at Mitsuse Pass. Keigo, sitting next to him, hadn’t murdered her. Still, if Keigo hadn’t met her that night–even if was just coincidence–the girl would never have wound up at the pass.”

Villain by Suichi Yoshida

What is it about true crime and thrillers that causes our pulse to race? Why does our body flood with adrenaline as we turn the pages? Is it because they are emotional roller-coaster rides? Is it because they are rides where we are less likely to slip into the pace of a careful detective? Yet, more inclined to find ourselves seeking cover from raining bullets? We grit our teeth and bite our nails while evading danger–alongside our detective. Maybe there’s little need for logic or competence to wrap up a case when one is too busy surviving.

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