Let’s Talk About it: Refreshing the Whodunit

Sponsored by the Maine Humanities Council

This Let’s Talk About It series provides new and experienced mystery and detective fans with an opportunity for in-depth conversation about how this fiction has incorporated the contemporary world’s globalism; dilemmas of race, gender, ethnicity and class; religious conflict; historical revision; and others.

Get the books: Copies of each title are available for checkout at the Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library.  Call the Library (207-633-3112) to reserve a copy, or drop by.

Facilitated by Larissa Vigue Picard, discussions will take place in the Great Room of the Library.

Light refreshments will be served. No registration is required.

To refresh the whodunit, participants will read from a selection of novels by writers more marginal and contemporary than Doyle and Christie – though in some cases playing off of the classics –and ponder questions of the mystery’s relationship to history and culture.  Does the mystery merely reflect its cultural environment or does it help to elucidate or even change that same environment?  What do contemporary mysteries bring today’s readers that we really need, though we may not have known we need it?  How much social change can a formulaic plot generate or reflect?

The perpetual argument about mystery fiction claims the publishers determine the possible plots, the plots determine the outcome and the genre determines plots again for every writer. Yet there must be some potential for social change or effect if Native American, women’s, gay and lesbian, Jewish, and other categories of mystery fiction are emerging for publishers, marketing departments, and consumers – and if the reinventions of Sherlock Holmes and Victorian England are even more fun than the originals.  This series samples writers from these categories and asks of ourselves how they are different, what they are teaching us, and what our pleasure in the mystery is – while providing the immense joy of reading and talking together about this popular but sophisticated and very modern genre.

About the Facilitator: A native of Maine, Larissa Vigue Picard has been executive director of Brunswick’s Pejepscot Historical Society since 2015. Larissa holds a B.A. in English Literature from Bates College and an M.A. in English Literature from Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English. She lives in Topsham with her husband and son and enjoys supporting local organizations and initiatives.

TL;DR
Mystery Book Discussion series starting in February at the Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library. Second Saturdays at 10:30 AM.

February 10: The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie King
March 10: Dance Hall of the Dead by Tony Hillerman
April 14: The Skull Mantra by Eliot Pattison
May 12: A Cold Day for Murder by Dana Stabenow
June 9: Murder at the Nightwood Bar by Katherine V. Forrest

Second Saturdays at 10:30 AM starting in February

Saturday, February 10, 10:30 AM: The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie King

Saturday, March 10, 10:30 AM: Dance Hall of the Dead by Tony Hillerman

Saturday, April 14, 10:30 AM: The Skull Mantra by Eliot Pattison

Saturday, May 12, 10:30 AM: A Cold Day for Murder by Dana Stabenow

Saturday, June 9, 10:30 AM:  Murder at the Nightwood Bar by Katherine V. Forrest