Book Club Discussion Questions
Topics 1-4 apply to most mysteries and topics 5-8 to the Five-Ingredient Mysteries.
1. The most important characters in a mystery are the sleuth, the victim, and the culprit. What impression did those characters make on you? Did their motivations and actions make sense?
2. Traditional mysteries include a number of characters who are suspects. Did you figure out the culprit before the end? If not, which suspect did you think committed the crime?
3. The setting or the main character’s job / hobby is often a key element in the plot of a mystery. How does location or vocation play a role in the mystery?
4. Most mysteries contain subplots that illuminate characters, present red herrings, provide comic relief, or parallel the main plot. What subplots appear in this mystery and what is their function?
5. In any mystery featuring an amateur sleuth, the question arises what would induce an ordinary person to pursue a murderer. What prompts Val to do that? Can you imagine yourself trying to solve a murder and, if so, under what circumstances?
6. What traits or skills does a good detective have? Does Val possess any of them? Does she have any characteristics that make it hard for her to uncover the truth about other people and about the crime she tries to solve?
7. Discuss the relationship between Val and her grandfather. They both face the challenge of living with someone from a generation far removed from their own. What conflicts arise between them? Would you find it difficult to live with a grandparent or grandchild?
8 . The characters in the Five-Ingredient Mysteries display a variety of attitudes towards food and cooking. What do their food quirks tell you about the characters? Do you know people whose approach to cooking and eating gives you clues about their obsessions, values, or fears?
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