Our Library has a brand-new website, and all of our discussion group blogs have moved!    We will leave this WordPress blog up, so that readers may read our archived posts — but starting on March 1, 2014, you may find this book group in our new home: http://www.lislelibrary.org/murderamongfriends .

We will continue to have information on the group, and what we’re reading, on that website.   So please update your information if you have this particular site bookmarked or in a feed reader.    We look forward to seeing you visiting our new site!

"Love is Murder" Lovey Award Winners 2014 including Lisle author, Luisa Buehler

Luisa Buehler (on left) won the “Lovey” award for Best Short Story which was titled “Harry’s Loss of Grace”. Click on the picture to go to our catalog’s holdings for Luisa’s books!

Our sincere congratulations to Luisa, and to all the Lovey recipients. It was a warm and friendly night – both at the awards dinner and throughout this remarkable conference.  Click here for the Love is Murder link to the Lovey winners.

There were sessions for both aspiring and current writers, as well as readers & fans of all forms of mystery. The book discussion on Rebecca by Ghost of Honor, Daphne du Maurier was a ton of fun, and a wonderful chance to revisit Manderley again. I got to see Jamie Freveletti’s demo of aikido in which she kicked Naperville mystery author Shane Gericke’s butt (just kidding, Shane was a trooper & extremely nice to talk to)! The luncheon speaker related the story of how a perceptive comment made by his teenage son at a recent conference between Fidel Castro and representatives of the former Kennedy administration led to a luncheon invitiation from Castro to his son — and he got to go too. The Expert Panel track offered sessions on DNA, Polygraphs, Computer Forensics, and Guns, among other things. Other panels ran the gamut from romantic suspense, to red hot thrillers, editing, and publishing ebooks. There was definitely something for everyone!

And there will be even more for everyone next year when two of the Features Authors will be Anne Perry and Joyce Maynard (author of “Labor Day”; movie currently in theaters). Here’s the link out to Love is Murder‘s website: http://www.loveismurder.net/.

Murder Among Friends News Flash Author Appearance LogoAuthor Signing logo  Stashower_Peril

Our good friend Daniel Stashower, will be at Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville tonight!! at 7:00 p.m. to talk about and sign his outstanding non-fiction work, The Hour of Peril: The Secret Plot to Murder Lincoln Before the Civil War, which curiously enough, reads like a mystery…

Very recently, it has also been nominated for an Edgar award and an Agatha award! This is not only a chance to pick up a great read, but to meet a great guy. Members are still telling me how much they enjoyed his call-in to our discussion on The Hound of the Baskervilles and its author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Stop by and let Daniel know that Murder Among Friends is rooting for him, especially during the mystery award season.

To borrow the library’s copy of The Hour of Peril, click on the photo of Daniel & the book cover. For details on his appearance at Anderson’s, click on the Anderson’s logo.

Click to go to the 2014 Conference information!

As the conference date grows ever nearer… Love is Murder (a.k.a. LIM) will be announcing the winners of its coveted “Lovey” awards at the conference next weekend!! It’s still possible to register and come cheer on your favorites as well as enjoy some terrific  authors and panels. Click on the Love is Murder graphic to go to the conference website. Click the Lovey picture below to go to the list of nominees!

Click to go to Lovey 2014 nominees


MAF Book Summary

On The Sherlockian by Graham Moore

MAF members met over scones to discuss our latest turn on all things Sherlock Holmes: The Sherlockian by Graham Moore. In the past year we have taken a look at Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic tale, The Hound of the Baskervilles, talked to Doyle expert Daniel Stashower, author of Teller of Tales: the Life of Arthur Conan Doyle, joined members of the library’s film discussion group, Just Between Frames to see & discuss the BBC TV Sherlock episode of The Hound of the Baskervilles, and finished the year with the first original Sherlock Holmes story to be approved by the Doyle estate: Anthony Horowitz’s wonderful The House of Silk.

The Sherlockian gave us yet another perspective: that of the Holmes scholars who study all things possible about the great detective and what is known in their circles as “The Canon” – the 4 novels and 56 short stories that make up all the Sherlock stories written by Arthur Conan Doyle. The term is useful since many people have gone on to write pastiches and novels involving Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson, and even Moriarty in stories of their own.

The group talked about the ongoing appeal of Holmes, his world, his creator’s life, and how in this novel, that world is juxtaposed against  modern times, and real facts and events, in the alternating chapters that deal with “Sherlockian” Harold White.  White is just being admitted into the Baker Street Irregulars (a real Sherlockian society) when a (fictional) noted Holmes scholar, Alex Cale, is found strangled by a shoelace in his hotel room – just before he was to reveal the contents of Arthur Conan Doyle’s missing diary. Both the murder of a Sherlockian, and missing Doyle papers and journals, are historical facts as well. As the author mentions in the end notes, “the world’s foremost scholar of Sherlock Holmes”, Richard Lancelyn Green announced he had found Doyle’s lost papers, a dispute about them arose, and he rightly feared for his life when on March 27, 2004 he was found strangled with one of his own shoelaces. We talked about other things in the book that had been fictionalized but based on real facts – a style that occurred in both the storyline involving Doyle and Bram Stoker in the 1900s, and the current day events involving White and his “Watson”, Sarah Lindsay.

Several members commented on how some readers have read the book by reading only the chapters with Doyle & Stoker (who really were friends) and then reading the chapters about White’s search for the missing diary. They felt it was easier to keep track of the two storylines by reading it that way. We talked about what these readers may have lost by not reading the interweaving of the two. Some felt it works either way, some felt that Moore’s comparison between the age of Holmes and Doyle both when the stories were written and today comes across more strongly when you’re reading the past & current story lines together.

We talked about how the Holmes stories of “the Canon” are highly influenced by Romance (with the capital R) where there was “An artistic and intellectual movement originating in Europe in the late 18th century and characterized by a heightened interest in nature, emphasis on the individual’s expression of emotion and imagination, departure from the attitudes and forms of classicism, and rebellion against established social rules and conventions.” (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/) Exemplified in some ways by Holmes (rebelling against established rules and conventions) and Watson/Doyle (who emphasize their expression of emotion and imagination), and how the Romantic poets and authors such as Wordsworth, Byron and Shelley would all have been influences on Doyle and his peers. At the same time, we also discussed how (particularly Sherlock) both story lines explore the advantages of rationalism, and the coming age of scientific discovery and modernization (shown through the installation of electric lights on Baker St. for example) can (literally!) bring clarity to situations.

What drives both story lines and brings home the universality of Holmes appeal, is how we are all driven by the “need to know“. One member mentioned how Harold – a lifelong fan of all things Holmes – is willing to smash anything in the Sherlock Holmes museum to find the diary and finally know: both that it exists and what it contains however unpleasant or ugly its contents may be. This led to talk about what happens concerning the diary and whether or not it was a fitting conclusion. We also speculated on whether the contemporary story’s ending will lead to a relationship and/or further adventures for Harold and Sarah. There was also discussion about the final story resolution about the diary that would create a spoiler here. Please click here to go to this point if you have read the whole story or do not care about spoilers.

While the group will be taking a break from the world of Sherlock for the remainder of the year, the group’s enthusiasm for it and all the books and shows we have covered on Holmes and Doyle prove Sherlock is doing fine in the 21st century!

Next month, the group is highly looking forward to talking with author favorite, Hank Phillippi Ryan when she calls in on Thursday, Feb. 20th to join us on the second Jane Ryland mystery, The Wrong Girl. The group is following this series, as we did with Bryan Gruley’s Starvation Lake trilogy.


Link to The Sherlockian on the LLD Catalog

Click on the book cover above to go to our catalog and reserve a copy!

Cozy Mystery Christmas TreeThe following seasonal gifts just came to  my attention through the latest issue of Mystery Scene. magazine, and I couldn’t resist sharing a few with you! Click on the graphic that is with each item to go to the site where you can buy them. Merry Murderous Holidays!

I couldn’t believe it when I saw this one in the magazine! I just may have to pick one of these up myself!Hound of the Baskervilles T shirt

These dolls are so fun, and have such great details!  Dashiell Hammet Doll

And you can top off your holiday celebrations with a nice cuppa No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency teas! Cheers to all!
No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency Teas