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It's a Mystery is a blog about the Mystery genre and its many subgenres.

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It's a Mystery 4/29/08

Popular Mystery Authors

Ingram Book Group, the vendor from whom we order most of our books, has an author standing order program.  This program allows us to develop a list of the most popular authors here at Westlake Porter Public Library.  When these authors publish a new title, Ingram automatically sends us our designated number of copies just before the release date so we can process the books and have them ready to go.

Twilight Children

A four-year-old boy who had never spoken, a seven-year-old girl severely troubled after years of various abuses, an 82-year-old woman who stopped speaking after suffering a stroke: All were in danger of becoming casualties of an overburdened mental health care system until one woman entered their lives and brought to them the compassion, hope, dignity, and understanding they so desperately needed.

Torey Hayden, educational psychologist and former special education teacher, chronicles her work with these three memorable individuals in Twilight Children: Three Voices No One Heard Until A Therapist Listened. Hayden has written 10 other books, eight of which, including Ghost Girl and Beautiful Child, recount her experiences with children with special needs.

Live Your Best Midlife

With a message similar to that of Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth and Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements, Marianne Williamson’s The Age of Miracles: Embracing the New Midlife advocates for change from within, a spiritual and psychological personal awakening with the potential power to change the world. Williamson directs her message specifically toward those who have reached what society deems as middle age - mid-40s and beyond. Instead of slowing down, compromising, or giving up, Williamson says that this stage in life can be a rebirth, a time of change, a shifting of priorities, and a rejuvenation of the body and spirit if only we are open to new possibilities and perspectives.

Legendary Scottish History!

Lady Macbeth by Susan King
Lady Gruadh is the last heir in a royal Celtic family whose unwilling marriage to Macbeth, a warrior lord who killed her husband, will unite Scotland for the first time. Together they survive treacherous and violent politics to save the country they were both born to rule. A rich and dramatic historical novel!

Chore Wars!

If chores are a constant battle in your family, then there is a Website for you: ChoreWars.com.

Basically, your household's chore workload is transformed into an online role-playing game, like the ones your kids are already playing.

The family determines what the chores are, and how many "experience points" each one is worth, making a nice little competitive incentive between the players. So, a little healthy sibling rivalry could give you a much cleaner house!

A Year's Worth of French Cooking

Facing 30 and feeling that she didn't have much to show for it except an unrewarding secretarial job, Julie Powell decided she needed a project, something that would motivate, challenge, excite, and satisfy her. She found it in Julia Child's classic cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. With support from her husband, friends, and eventually her family, Powell gave herself a year to make every recipe in the cookbook. What began as a simple daily blog resulted in Julie & Julia: 365 days, 524 recipes, 1 tiny apartment kitchen. How Powell accomplished her goal and what she learned will inspire, amaze, and amuse even those with the most basic cooking skills. 

What Really Happens at Your Local Library

You'll view the public library in a whole new light after you read Free for All: Oddballs, Geeks, and Gangstas in the Public Library by Don Borchert. This memoir of an assistant librarian at a California library reveals, among other things, that sex offenders, drug dealers, and gang members are just as likely to roam the stacks as preschoolers, students, and senior citizens; that books are not the only items put in the book drops; and that even seemingly cheery, mild-mannered librarians have a breaking point. Often laugh-out-loud funny, occasionally poignant, and always entertaining, this book features a library that is a microcosm of public libraries around the nation.

It's a Mystery 4/14/08

Mystery Readers' Resources

Where can a mystery reader go to find answers to questions, such as "What title is next in the Maisie Dobbs mystery series?  Who writes the mysteries featuring the character Jack Daniels?  Does my favorite author have a new mystery coming out soon?  What authors write police procedurals?"

There are a number of print and online resources that can answer these questions, as well as many others about the mystery genre.  One of my favorites is Stop, You're Killing Me!   (http://www.stopyourekillingme.com)  This website provides a wealth of information about mysteries, authors, series, and read-alikes.  The main search is by author or character and provides a link to the author's website (if available), a brief description of the series the author writes, and then lists the titles in chronological order.  There are also great links on the left side of the page - mysteries by location, occupation, historical time period, genres, read-alikes, etc.

An Exciting Equine Mystery

Dead Heat by Dick Francis Max Morton is a well-respected chef whose career is nearly ruined after a food poisoning incident and a bomb blast occur at two of his catering affairs. To salvage his restaurant business he sets out to discover who is behind these crimes that are somehow connected to the world of horseracing. He will need to protect himself and his loved ones before the truth is uncovered. A highly enjoyable read!

It's a Mystery 4/1/08

What Exactly is a Mystery?

The meanings of the terms Mystery, Suspense, and Thriller are often used interchangeably, but can also be confusing.  A helpful explanation comes from the Cluelass website:  http://cluelass.com.

    "There are no hard-and-fast rules, but Mystery and detective fiction emphasizes the puzzle aspect of the plot, with clues and "fair play" for the reader - i.e. the readers should be able to determine the solution at the same time as the protagonist.