Crime & Beyond Wiki

Merry Christmas Crime & Beyond!

We’ve had another wonderful year of books and book club. I want to thank everyone for leading, bringing snacks, and making me look forward to the 4th Monday of each month. We’ve welcomed a few new members this year too, so our group has grown and gotten even more fun.

We were sad to hear that Lorraine couldn’t make the holiday party due to medical reasons, and she was greatly missed. I was very pleased that our last minute party location change didn’t seem to phase anyone. I still had 16 people show up at my house in Denver (even if it was only 20 minutes after I got home from the airport, thank you Southwest Airlines). Thanks to Sharon L’s help, we were more or less ready to go & the party started on time.

We had lots of great appetizers and ate and drank in the true holiday spirit (which means too much). I think Sharon L. has already sent everyone her recipe for Sausage & Cheese Dip. Sharon K. we still need your eggplant recipe please. I did find a blue and silver metal bowl that was left at my house. If it’s yours, send me and email & I’ll bring it to you at the January meeting. BTW we are reading Robert CraisSuspect in January. Books were passed out in November, so if you need one, check with a librarian – there should be a copy or two on our shelf.

We started out by talking about Agatha Christie’s A Mysterious Affair at Styles. A few people hadn’t read an Agatha Christie before, so it was fun to hear their first impressions. We had quite a few scores of 10 out of 10 and even a 10+. Many of us agreed that AC wasn’t called the Queen of Crime for nothing. She really perfected the traditional mystery style we now call the “cozy” mystery. Lorraine provided me with a great introduction from her copy of the book, and in it author Clea Simon describes one of the rules for whodunits: the blood is dry before it hits the page. When you read an Agatha Christie, you won’t find blood, gore, or sex. You will find “intrigue rather than shock.” I was particularly pleased with the positive response from everyone because, as most of you know, Agatha Christie is my all time favorite mystery writer. I was glad that we all enjoyed our December read so much.

As stated above, the book didn’t have much blood and gore. However, I can’t say the same for our gift and book exchange. It was particularly competitive this year, and we had quite a few stolen gifts. We started with the white elephant-like gift exchange. Roxanne loved her Charlie Brown Christmas tree (this year’s was musical – if you were there last year, you’ll realize that that is an upgrade). Pat then enjoyed taking it off her hands, only to have it stolen out from under her as well. I knew right away that I’d become predictable when I heard someone say “which one is the Starbucks card.” Me? Starbucks? Who would have guessed that? Oh, everyone, ok.

We then moved on to the quiz. I have to start out by telling everyone that I wrote that Christmas quiz on the plane ride to Buffalo after re-reading each book’s synopsis. I didn’t write the questions each month when the book was fresh in my mind. With that said, I realize that different things stick in my mind from a book than might stick in another person’s. Which was clear when Sharon L. suggested that someone else write the quiz next year and make me take it along with everyone & see how well I do. My only response is…..Jeff gets them almost all right. So it can’t be that hard! Ok, so Jeff isn’t a good example because he seems to have a literary photographic memory, which is why he won again this year. I threw a little bit of a curveball and had a prize for runner up, which was Dave. If you were at the party last year, you will remember that Dave lost to Jeff by ½ of a point and vowed to beat him this year. I think he was only a point or two behind him this time, yay Dave, and won the runner up prize: a Christmas Story Leg Lamp. I don’t want to know what Peggy thinks about that, but my only answer to her is “it’s a major award.”

Finally, we did the book exchange. There was quite a bit of stealing going on there too, and I know a couple of titles hit their 3 steal maximum and were removed from the running. Hopefully everyone went home with a great new book to add to their TBR pile. Mysteriously, there was a book in the mix with a nametag on it that read “Dave.” And what to Dave’s wondering eyes should appear, but a Lisa Jackson book, which caused him to shed many a tear. Dave has promised to actually read it and report back, and was so thankful to Sharon L. for thinking of him. Thankful, suicidal….po-tay-to, po-tat-o.

Janice won the door prize. My craft this year was a wreath made of book pages. I found a great copy of A Christmas Carol by Dickens and made it into a wreath.

I think the party was a huge success and fun was had by all. Thank you very much to everyone who contributed to my wonderful gift. I have already reserved seats for the Speakeasy mystery dinner theater at Adams Mystery Playhouse. I got the last night of that show and can’t tell you how excited I am to go. I’ve wanted to check out their dinner mysteries ever since I moved to Colorado, and the fact that it’s a speakeasy show just makes it that much better. I’ve got to find something to wear, I’m thinking something Gatsby-esque. I will take photos if we dress up. Oh yeah, and the Oreos are almost gone (along with the leftovers I stole from Jeff’s appetizer).

Thanks everyone, can’t wait for great reads in 2014. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!