Usual Suspects

Gather around

Posted by on Monday, Oct 15, 2007 - 11:04 AM

detective-magnifying-glass.jpgThree authors of interest to mystery fans will be speaking at the Library over the next few weeks as part of the Authors @ the Library series.

On Tuesday, October 30, at noon Jerry Labriola will discuss his book The Strange Death of Napoleon Bonaparte, a suspense novel that combines equal parts mystery and rich historical detail.

The plot: American historian and international treasure hunter, Paul D'Arneau, receives a mysterious invitation from Gens de Verite, a clandestine organization formed in France after the fall of Napoleon in 1815, and he quickly realizes that his efforts to penetrate the secrets hidden in musty documents and oral histories of Napoleonic lore could cost him his life.

On Wednesday, November 7, at 7:30 p.m. Jed Rubenfeld will discuss his book The Interpretation of Murder, a historical mystery and a psychological thriller - in the truest sense of the term -- with a cast that includes Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung.

The plot: In 1909, Drs. Freud and Jung visit Manhattan. A young socialite is murdered, followed by another attempted murder bearing the same characteristics. In the second case, the victim lives. She has lost her voice and cannot remember anything. Freud is called in to help and he must simultaneously fend off a mysterious conspiracy to destroy him.

On Monday, November 12, at 7:30 p.m. Susan Schaab will discuss her book Wearing the Spider, which Liz Smith called "The Devil Wears Prada in legal Technicolor."

The plot: Evie Sullivan is trying to make partner at a high-profile Manhattan law firm. She discovers that someone at the firm has stolen her identity and that her name is linked to a shady South American deal. When an FBI agent confronts her with insinuations of murder and fraud, Evie decides to do her own investigating.

Copies of the books will be available for purchase and signing after the program.

And do't forget next Sunday's Usual Suspects discussion of this years Agatha Award winner The Virgin of Small Plains, written by Nancy Pickard. Newcomers are always welcome. To reserve a copy of the book call 291-4821.

Fall book discussions

Posted by on Monday, Sep 10, 2007 - 9:18 AM

The Usual Suspects Mystery Reading Group has two award winners up for discussion this fall.

This coming Sunday, September 16th, at 2 p.m. our title will be The Janissary Tree by Jason Goodwin, which was the winner of the this year's Edgar Award for Best Novel.

It is set in 1836. Europe is modernizing and the Ottoman Empire must follow suit. But just before the sultan announces sweeping changes, a wave of murders threatens the fragile balance of power in his court. Who is behind them? Only one intelligence agent can be trusted to find out: Yashim, a man both brilliant and near-invisible in this world, an investigator who can walk with ease in the great halls of the empire, in its streets, and even within its harems—because Yashim is a eunuch.

His investigation points to the Janissaries, who, for four hundred years were the empire's elite soldiers. Crushed by the sultan, could they now be staging a brutal comeback? And can they be stopped without throwing Istanbul into political chaos?

This first book in the Investigator Yashim series is a richly entertaining mystery, full of exotic history and intrigue. A second book, The Snake Stone, is expected in mid-October.

On Sunday, October 21st our title will be The Virgin of Small Plains by Nancy Pickard, which was the winner of this year's Agatha Award for Best Novel.

It is set in Small Plains, Kansas, January 23, 1987. In the midst of a deadly blizzard, eighteen-year-old Rex Shellenberger makes a shocking discovery: the naked, frozen body of a teenage girl. It is a moment that will forever change his life and the lives of everyone around him. In the two decades following her death, strange miracles visit those who faithfully tend to her grave; some even believe that her spirit can cure deadly illnesses.

But what really happened in that snow-covered field? Why did Mitch Newquist disappear the day after the body was found, leaving behind his distraught girlfriend, Abby Reynolds? Why do the town’s three most powerful men – Dr. Quentin Reynolds, former Sheriff Nathan Shellenberger, and Judge Tom Newquist – all seem to be hiding the details of that night?

Three families, their worlds inexorably altered in the course of one night, must confront the ever-unfolding consequences in this remarkable novel of suspense.

This is a stand-alone novel from Nancy Pickard, who is the creator of the acclaimed Jenny Cain mystery series She has also won an Anthony Award for Say No to Murder, a Macavity Award for Marriage is Murder, and two Agatha Awards for Best Novel, for Bum Steer (1990) and I.O.U. (1991).

I hope you can join us. Even if you don’t have time to read (or re-read) the books please feel free to take advantage of an opportunity to meet with some fellow mystery fans.

To reserve a copy of either book, call 291-4821.

Summer school

Posted by on Saturday, Jul 7, 2007 - 2:56 PM

The Usual Suspects will continue to meet through the summer and our July and August selections are mysteries with an academic more

Joie de mort

Posted by on Monday, Jun 11, 2007 - 9:35 AM

Join the Usual Suspects this coming Sunday, June 17th, at 2 p.m. for a discussion of The Circle by Peter Lovesey.

Publisher Edgar Blacker is murdered shortly after speaking to an eccentric group of would-be writers. His body is found in the charred remains of his house.

Will writers really kill to be published?read more

Survivor, 1779

Posted by on Thursday, May 10, 2007 - 8:39 AM

The Usual Suspects Mystery Reading Group will meet again on Sunday, May 20th at 2 p.m. in the Seminar Room.

The book under discussion will be She Walks These Hills, in which an old murder is explained, an even older murder is revealed, and a murder takes place in the present time.

This 1994 Sharyn McCrumb book won the Anthony, Agatha, Macavity and Nero Wolfe awards.

It is part her highly acclaimed Ballad Novels series.

The characters include the ghost of a teenager kidnapped by Shawnees in 1779, an elderly escaped convict who cannot recall recent events because of a rare mental illness, the convict’s former wife and daughter, a radio talk show host interested in the convict’s past, and a frightened girl with an abusive husband and a demanding more


Posted by on Monday, Apr 16, 2007 - 1:52 PM

Several stalwart mystery fans braved the elements and The Usual Suspects Mystery Reading Group met yesterday despite the deluge and had a spirited discussion of The Daughter of Time, although it seemed that Barbara Michaels‘ Buried in the Rain might have been a more appropriate choice.

We proclaimed Richard “not guilty” on all counts of murder and mayhem and concluded that history has not treated him fairly at all. In fact, we found that we shared Josephine Tey’s concerns about the writing of history, which is one of the many themes in the book. read more

It’s almost time …

Posted by on Thursday, Apr 12, 2007 - 9:06 AM

… for Sunday’s discussion of Josephine Tey’s The Daughter of Time.

If you are a mystery fan and looking for a chance to get together with fellow enthusiasts, please join us on Sunday, April 15th at 2 PM in the Seminar Room at the Library and share your thoughts. read more

Mark your calendar for April 15th

Posted by on Monday, Mar 19, 2007 - 1:11 PM

I am excited to announce the upcoming book discussion of Josephine Tey’s classic mystery, The Daughter of Time . Written in 1951, this book came in at #4 on the list of the all-time 100 best mysteries by the Mystery Writers of America.

If you have already read it, give it a quick once over again and join us! If you have never read it, you ought to give it a try. And even if you can't get around to reading it, come any way. This is a great chance to get together with some fellow mystery more

Usual Suspects, unusual detectives

Posted by on Monday, Dec 18, 2006 - 9:25 AM

There has been some interest expressed recently about reviving the Library's Usual Suspects mystery book discussion group. If you would like to see this happen as well, please contact Jane Murphy by either posting a comment to this blog or sending an jmurphy [at] westportlibrary [dot] org (e-mail )and let her know whether you would prefer daytime or evening sessions. read more