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Topic: 2014 HF Mystery Mini-Challenge~~Info and Discussion

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Subject: 2014 HF Mystery Mini-Challenge~~Info and Discussion
Date Posted: 10/22/2013 8:48 PM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
Posts: 4,710
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In keeping with our regular HF challenge, which features game shows, I thought it would be fun to examine the personalities that you find competing in these contests.  Your mini-HF mystery challenge is to read at least six books from the following character categories for a chance to win one credit.  If you feel like a winner, you can read 12 books for a chance at two credits.  This year, if you read all the categories, your name will go into a drawing for a whopping 3 credits!  

Mix and match in any way—use up your TBR pile—and have fun!  This challenge runs from January 1st through December 31st, 2014.

Good Sport

1.  The mystery contains a sporting event.

2.  The main character is a good person wrongly accused of a crime.

3.  The author’s name contains a G or a D.

4.  The title contains an S, P or R.

Sore Loser

1.  The mystery involves the loss of something, or hunting for something.

2.  The main character is hurt or injured either before or during the investigation.

3.  The author’s name contains an S or R.

4.  The title contains an O, E or L.

Lucky Dog

1.  The mystery has an animal in the storyline.

2.  The main character escapes death or imprisonment.

3.  The author was nominated for an award (not necessarily for the mystery you are reading.)

4.  The title contains an L, K or D.

Team Player

1.  The storyline has more than one mystery in it.

2.  The main character works with a partner.

3.  The author writes with a partner.

4.  The title contains a T, M or P.

Comeback Kid

1.  The mystery is about time travel, or has someone with amnesia, or a long-lost relative.

2.  The main character is a child (under age 18.)

3.  The author writes a series (although you may read a stand-alone if available.)

4.  The title contains a C, B, K or D.

Smarty Pants

1.  The mystery is set in a school, university or a college town.

2.  The main character is a teacher, professor or scholar.

3.  The author has won an award (but not necessarily for the book you are reading.)

4.  The book has won an award.

Cheaters!

1.  The mystery involves infidelity or theft.

2.  The main character was a real person.

3.  The author has used a previously created character in this mystery (ie. Sherlock Holmes.)

4.  The title contains the word ‘cheat’ or ‘stolen’ or ‘theft’ or ‘loss.’

Beginner’s Luck

1.  The mystery is the first in a series.

2.  The main character is not a professional, but an amateur sleuth on his/her first case.

3.  The author is new to you.

4.  The title is a debut novel.

Date Posted: 10/23/2013 12:43 AM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
Posts: 2,617
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Very well done, Vicky!!

Question: Can we put our name in the drawing for three credits even if we don't do the challenge?

Before you answer, note that a shipment of chocolate and wine could be headed your way.

Date Posted: 10/25/2013 9:20 AM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
Posts: 4,710
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Thanks Deb (and everyone)...but no, you must compete in order to have a chance at 3 credits.

How much wine and chocolate, exactly?

Date Posted: 10/27/2013 10:20 PM ET
Member Since: 3/2/2010
Posts: 80
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I'm new to this forum.  Can you please explain how this works?  Thanks you.

JoAnne

Date Posted: 10/27/2013 11:28 PM ET
Member Since: 1/24/2009
Posts: 9,498
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Nice Vicky!

Date Posted: 10/28/2013 8:32 AM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
Posts: 4,710
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Hi JoAnne!  Welcome to our little group.  Every year we have a reading challenge, in which one of our members comes up with fun ways to get us to whittle down our TBR piles.  This is seldom successful, but we plug along anyway.  This is the time of year when we begin looking ahead to the new year, and the new challenge.

The regular Historical Fiction challenge for 2014 can be found here.  This challenge is the mini-challenge; it only involves historical fiction mysteries, and is just another fun way to try and get rid of books.  So, during 2014, if you read any mysteries with a historical setting, plug them into one of the categories in the list above.  You can mix and match in any way; you don't have to finish all the "Sore Loser" books, you can just read one.  The number of books you finish by the end of 2014 will determine which drawing you will be eligible for, and you might win a credit or two...or three!

If you have any more questions, please let me know.  We have one thread for listing our reads, and this thread for discussing the books we've read.  (And frankly, this is how we get into trouble; reading descriptions of all the great books the other members have read..) wink

 

Date Posted: 10/28/2013 11:54 AM ET
Member Since: 3/2/2010
Posts: 80
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Thanks, VickyJo

I read mostly histoical mysteries so this one should be tight up my library aisle.  :)  I saw people posting their blank lists.  But this is for books that we read after January 1, right?  Do people start collecting ones that might fit now and then wait to read them?  (I don't know if I can do that;  I read as fast as I get books!)  For example, right now, I'm gorging on Roman mysteries, which have elements that fit several categories.  Should I wait until January to start them?  And is a separate title for each question within the categories.or can one title fit more than one line?

This looks like fun any way!

JoAnne

Date Posted: 10/28/2013 3:06 PM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
Posts: 4,710
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We wait until Jan. 1st, but some of the group do like to plan ahead and choose mysteries.  I do sort of half and half; I have a few that I know will fit, and then whatever I read in the coming year that works...

We try to keep one title per question, but it's okay to use a title here and a title in the full,regular challenge.

I hope this helped. smiley

 

Date Posted: 1/7/2014 8:54 AM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2008
Posts: 2,482
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I finished The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley for my first entry in this challenge.  I used the book for the "first in a series category.  It did surprise me a bit how much I ended up enjoying this book because at first I thought the main character, a precocious 11 year old girl who loves chemistry and mysteries and especially poison, would really grate on me.  I ended up really liking Flavia, although I can see where at some point she might lose her charm.

Date Posted: 1/7/2014 9:02 AM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
Posts: 929
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Cheryl, I've read all 5 Flavia books and still love her,  although things do tend to get a little over the top at times.  I have #6 on pre-order which I think is coming out this month.

Date Posted: 1/7/2014 9:45 AM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
Posts: 4,710
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I love Flavia!  I have to say, though, that I have listened to the audio versions of all her books.  The reader, Jayne Entwistle (I think) is perfect!  I can't recommend her highly enough, and I've converted quite a few of my library patrons to the Flavia in Audio club. wink

 

Edited to correct spelling of 'Entwistle'



Last Edited on: 1/7/14 9:47 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/7/2014 8:16 PM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2008
Posts: 2,482
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Good to know that Flavia seems to wear well!

Alice J. (ASJ) - ,
Date Posted: 1/9/2014 8:45 PM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2009
Posts: 40,375
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Finished a fun historical cozy Murder at Hatfield House (Elizabethan Mystery, Bk 1) :: Amanda Carmack.

Well written, I want book 2!!

Date Posted: 1/12/2014 12:16 PM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2008
Posts: 2,482
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I finished Rest Not in Peace by Mel Starr, the 6th book in the Hugh de Singleton series.  This was a good one with lots of red herrings that kept me guessing till the end.  I'm using this for the "good sport" category #4.

Date Posted: 1/13/2014 7:44 PM ET
Member Since: 7/6/2007
Posts: 749
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I almost half way through The Outlaw's Tale by Margaret Frazer. It's on my Kindle and is literally the first e -book I've read. For anyone who has read the Dame Frevisse series, can you tell me why there are NO print copies of this book to be found? Even my library doesn't carry it. I was super excited when I saw it in a digital format. Very strange....

Date Posted: 1/16/2014 7:37 AM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
Posts: 929
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Main Character is a Kid Category -  The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches: A Flavia de Luce Novel by Alan Bradley

In this installment, Bradley clears up some old loose threads and steers the series in a new direction.  Flavia is growing up and her vulnerability shows through more than ever as she deals with the return to Buckshaw of her long-lost mother and some startling revelations about the de Luce family.  There's a mysterious murder to be solved but Flavia's emerging insights about her family and extended family take center stage and tug at the heart strings.  I think this is perhaps my favorite in the series because the writing is so sensitive and clever and I was ready to see Flavia grow a little and spread her wings.  5*****

Date Posted: 1/17/2014 6:43 AM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
Posts: 4,710
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Mystery is set in a college or university --  Heresy by S.J. Parris

First, I've been spelling the author's name wrong all over this board, so my apologies.  (It's correct here, finally!)  

Heresy introduces us to Giordano Bruno, a young monk fleeing the Inquisitors for reading a restricted book.  As a librarian, this got my attention right away, and I was settled firmly in Bruno's corner!  Plus, the Inquisition was a pretty nasty time.  He escapes his monastery in Italy, travels around Europe, but ends up in England visiting Oxford University, where the rest of the story takes place.  During his visit, several Fellows of the University are murdered, their deaths mimicking the deaths of well-known martyrs.  There were a couple of mysteries going on during this book, but they didn't confuse me, and I thought they tied together quite nicely.  I enjoyed it, and the writing, and will definitely continue with the series.

Alice J. (ASJ) - ,
Date Posted: 1/27/2014 8:19 PM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2009
Posts: 40,375
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I finished A Dangerous Affair (Liberty Lane, Bk 2) :: Caro Peacock for the author writes a series. Very good myster set in Vicotian London. Good mystery and characters. I like how Ms. Caro uses Benjamin Disraeli in the storyline.

Alice

Date Posted: 2/3/2014 7:26 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
Posts: 10,417
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For the "Good Sport" category, I "listened" to Seven For a Secret by Lyndsay Faye. This author does her research! The focus of this book was on the issue of Northerners (blackbirders) who captured free blacks and sold them to Southerners as escaped slaves - very sad. There were many predictions throughout the book of how a war was going to break out over this issue. The writing was superb and the character development was so detailed that you really felt like you knew these people. I will definitely continue with this series.

Date Posted: 2/13/2014 11:17 AM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2008
Posts: 2,482
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Cheaters category #3

Timothy Cratchit lives in a brothel and teaches it's madam to read in reparation for room and board.  He is also seeing his father's ghost all over London.  He's avoiding visiting his "uncle" Ebenezer Scrooge and he has found the bodies of two dead young girls while on his nightly salvaging prowls on the river Thames.  When a third young girl mysteriously crosses his path, Timothy becomes involved in her rescue.  Mr. Timothy by Louis Bayard is a very different sort of  Christmas Carol, but one I am sure that Mr. Dickens would recognize.  It's not quite at the level of the author's very excellent Black Tower, but I thought it was a very good book nonetheless.  4 1/2 out of 5 stars for me.

Date Posted: 3/19/2014 10:30 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
Posts: 10,417
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Beginner's Luck: The Mangle Street Murders by M R C Kasasian. This could actually apply to most of the topics in this category since it is also a debut novel and the first I've read by this author in addition to being the first in a series.

March Middleton comes to London from the country to live with her guardian after her father dies. She has never met the man but Sidney Grice is a well -known "personal" detective in 1880's London and she quickly gets involved in a murder case to solve. Grice is a real curmudgeon - totally unlikeable. His personal habits (e.g. his diet) are a real switch for March and thank heaven she makes the acquaintance of Harriet Fitzgerald who introduces her to a women's club much like those the men frequent where she can have a cigarette and a drink (or two or three). March and Sidney are polar opposites: she is likeable, he is not; she is caring, he is not, etc. The humor in this book was like nothing I've read so far in a historical mystery - had me laughing out loud at times. The characters are so well developed - even the secondary ones, that you get a sense of being right there with them. I will definitely try to get hold of the next in the series, but it won't be released for some time yet.

Date Posted: 3/21/2014 4:16 PM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2008
Posts: 2,482
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Smarty Pants #3- The author has won an award

The Secret Speech by Tom Rob Smith is the second installment in his series of books that feature Leo Demidov, a former Soviet state security officer who starts up a fledgling homicide department.  The action of this book begins in 1956 after the death of Stalin and Nikita Krushchev's speech to the Soviet Union denouncing his predecessor and promising change.  Leo and his family are caught up in political and personal events that could threaten the welfare of the entire state and need to seek out the assistance (or is it?) of  Leo's former chief, a Vladimir Putin like character, Frol Panin.  This was a good book, not a great one and I gave it 3 out of 5 stars.  It does help to have read the author's first book, Child 44.

Mary (mepom) -
Date Posted: 3/25/2014 3:34 PM ET
Member Since: 1/23/2009
Posts: 1,192
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Hello all,  I have a question. Is it ok to count books for a category that I read  yrs ago.  I am re-reading the RENNINE AIRTH  John Madden trilogy before obtaining the New one. Yes, I understand that a trilogy is 3, but he has written a 4th in the series. Seriously.

Date Posted: 3/25/2014 9:26 PM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
Posts: 929
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Well, Mary, at my age, a book I read years ago is just like a brand new book, so my vote is heck, yea.

Mary (mepom) -
Date Posted: 3/25/2014 10:55 PM ET
Member Since: 1/23/2009
Posts: 1,192
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Donna, Thanks for your comment. The books are only slightly familiar on the re-read.



Last Edited on: 4/28/14 5:31 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
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