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Mystery Reading Group

Event Type: Book Discussion
Age Group(s): Adults
Date: 12/9/2019
Start Time: 6:30 PM
End Time: 8:00 PM
Description:
 Do you enjoy reading "who-done-its" whether they are courtroom thrillers or cozies? Want to discuss these books with other mystery lovers & discover new authors? Join the Mystery Reading Group! This month: Anne Perry's Christmas Mysteries: "A Christmas Guest" & "A Christmas Secret"

Funded by the Fountain Hills Friends of the Library.
Library: Fountain Hills Branch    Library location
Location: Conference Room
Other Information:
 Mariah Ellison, vinegar-tongued Grandmama from the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt series, believes Christmas is no reason to celebrate. When the Pitts plan a Christmas vacation to Paris sans hers truly, she cantankerously retreats to the chilly, windswept, provincial Romney Marshes of her daughter's parents, Caroline and Joshua Fielding. Joshua's cousin Maude Barrington is well-traveled and friendly, but her strangeness and impropriety send Grandmama over the edge. When Maude fails to wake, Grandmama senses foul play.

Dominic Corde is thrilled to “fill the robe” as substitute vicar in the village of Cottisham, while the Reverend Wynter is away on holiday. Dominic and his beloved wife, Clarice, set off for what they hope will be a lovely winter getaway. In the midst of a frigid, exceptionally snowy season, Dominic and Clarice are welcomed by warm, hospitable neighbors and enchanted by the cozy, inviting vicarage. Everything seems almost too perfect. Dominic’s only concern is how he will be received by the congregation, who hold the Reverend Wynter in such high regard. But as Clarice soon discovers, she and Dominic have much more dire matters to worry about. It turns out that the Reverend Wynter isn’t on holiday at all–and that something very sinister has transpired. As a blizzard leaves Cottisham treacherously snowbound and the isolated village swirls with unsavory secrets, Dominic and Clarice suddenly find themselves in deadly danger.

1. Did you like the book? If so, why? If not, why not?
2. Did you like the characters? Did you find them believable? What do you think of Mariah Ellison? If you’ve read the Charlotte & Thomas Pitt series, how much more developed is this version of Mariah Ellison?
3. Did you find the dialog in the story realistic?
4. What did you think of the plot line development? How credible did the author make the plot? Did the plot take turns you did not expect, or did you find it predictable?
5. Did the author convey the era well? Did it feel like the author did her homework? Were the details unobtrusive or jarring?
6. The writer has a very descriptive style. Did you enjoy the period language and terms or find them distracting?
7. What were some of the constraints placed on women in the Victorian era that Mariah and Clarice have to deal with? Do any of those same constraints exist today?
8. In the golden age of classic murder mysteries, the Detection Club, whose founders included Dorothy L. Sayers and Agatha Christie, drew up a list of rules for crime fiction that included the following: “No clue that is important to the solution of the puzzle may be concealed from the reader.” What are the clues in A Christmas Guest & A Christmas Secret, and how does Anne Perry hide them in plain sight?
9. Why do you think these two books were paired together? What similarities did you find in terms of setting, characters, themes or motifs?