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First of all, thank you to everyone who played along with Death on the Menu. We had lots of winners! For those who solved the whole puzzle & figured out the food, drink, room, mask combos for each of the 5 suspects, you will be receiving an email from me separately. Each of you will receive a book of your choice from our upcoming read list. The winners were: Amy, Kim, Kelly & Christina.

We had 10 people who guessed that the killer was Busty Betty (including Betty herself - you can always accuse yourself). I found this cool online random wheel & spun for a winner. Check it out below to see who also won a book.

Thank you to all the actors who read lines for the game. Amy and Jay got Kudos for their character props too!

Crime & Beyond Wheel of Winners

On to the book. We had some scathing reviews for Sophie Hannah's The Killings at Kingfisher Hill. It seemed that we either loved it or hated it. And far more fell into the latter category than the former. I think the scores speak for themselves.

  • 9 Stars: 1
  • 8 Stars: 2
  • 7 Stars: 1
  • 6 Stars: 3
  • 5 Stars: 3
  • 4 Stars: 2
  • 3 Stars: 2
  • 2 Stars: 2
  • 1 Star: 1
  • DNF: 1

Let's start with the positives. Some of us higher scorers (yes, I was in that category) loved the book. We loved that there were 2 murders with different killers, we liked that Helen told us she did it and she actually did. It was a great traditional British mystery (albeit not quite up to Agatha Christie's standards).

The middle of the roaders (I guess some neither loved nor hated it after all) wished it had been better. The dialogue was good but the motives week - even those who loved it felt that Helen's motive was weak. We actually thought it would make a good movie because the funny dialogue would come out better on screen. Our middle of the roaders were disappointed that they didn't devour the book and had no problem putting it down. Cindy wanted the author to develop the symbolism more: the ruby ring, the house named Little Key, etc. And speaking of the house, it was weird to us that the couple sold their house because they didn't want to live in the same neighborhood as their friends. Another weak plot point.

The lower scores mentioned the super weak motive for Helen pushing her fiancé to his death. Catchpool was tedious and Poirot insensitive. There weren't enough clues to solve the murders and that bugged some of us who like to try and figure it out. There was no way we would have been able to guess the whole French teacher thing or the assisted suicide angle. The low scorers also mentioned the convoluted plots that Hannah writes for her Poirots (I am a fan and I still agree with this - I think she maybe tries too hard). The whole beginning lead up to the murder, with the bus ride, was extremely tedious for many.

Those who have read Agatha Christie's Poirot know that he was always pretty insensitive, to the point where Christie wanted to kill him off because he bugged her. Hastings was just as hapless as Catchpool, but I don't think he came across as tedious. He wasn't, however, a policeman, so his cluelessness was acceptable whereas Catchpool's made us want to suggest that the Metropolitan Police (or was it Scotland Yard) retest some of their officers.

Votes for most despicable character went mostly to the Dad, Sydney. But we also had a lot of votes for the sister, Daisy, as well as votes for both parents together.

I don't think I need to point out that we probably won't see another of Hannah's Poirot novels on the Crime & Beyond book list. We know what we like, and more importantly, we know what we don't like. The good part is that when there is a series that isn't super popular for the club, those of us who do like them can read them on our own. At least we tried and can now move on to other authors.

Our next book is The Night Swim by Megan Goldin and we will discuss that via Zoom on May 24. We read Goldin's The Escape Room, which was the one where the employees were locked in the elevator of death. Team building? I think not.

Stay tuned for an invitation to the next Crime & Beyond Virtual Quiz Night. Coming to your inbox soon. I'm still working on the next Virtual Murder Mystery as well, I think this summer will be good. As soon as we're safe to meet in a group of about 20, I will have a live one at my house!!!

At the end of the meeting we discussed books and movies that we've been watching. Here is what I wrote down:

Books:

Movies/Series:

Hoopla was suggested for Roku, it's a way to stream things from the library.

Jay's niece writes a blog in Manhattan & she recommends some shows for those who like true crime:

That's all for now!

Happy reading,

Kerry

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