Book Clubs

Readers’ Guides

Insinuendo: Murder in the Museum

1. Book and literary festivals often dismiss “genre fiction”. There is a category of mystery and crime fiction that is called “literary mysteries”. Discuss Insinuendo or other mystery novels you’ve read with the question, “Is it literature or is it genre, and when does one slip into the other?”

2. What question would you most like to ask the author about Insinuendo?

3. This murder mystery is not a thriller, nor is it towards the softer end of cozies; it’s almost medium-boiled. Even if this is not your favourite sub-genre, what drew you in to read the whole book, or, conversely, what made you put it down unfinished?

4. If clues and events in the plot intrigued you, what were they related to . . . the collections? Workplace dynamics? The personality or work specialty of the characters? A contemporary museum setting? Anything else? If the elements of the plot did not intrigue you, did that relate to any of the categories just mentioned?

5. Does the Museum of Anthropology as represented in this novel resemble your own knowledge and experience of museums and art galleries? If not, how would you have changed the setting?

6. There are many ways to describe collections. In Insinuendo, several characters describe the museum’s collections differently. For you, is there a difference between “artifact” and “antiquity”, for example? What word(s) does Berry prefer? Theo? Indigenous people? What word(s) do you prefer?

7. This question is especially for book clubs whose members are different ages; what do you think of Berry at 53 years old—does she ring true for you?

Fate Accompli: Murder in Quebec City

1. If you’ve visited or lived in Quebec City, does the setting ring true for you? If you haven’t been there, did the setting intrigue you? Maybe make you want to go there?

2. Was Quebec City a good/bad/useful setting for a murder mystery plot in this particular story?

3. Did you guess who the perpetrator was? If so, when? If not, was it a surprise?

4. Berry Cates is a year older than in Insinuendo: Murder in the Museum. Did she change in any way?

5. Berry Cates feels she is still half-outsider despite speaking French and living in Quebec. Have you had the same experience visiting or living in a different place? If so, did living there affect how much you enjoyed the experience, or, did your enjoyment of at least being partially an insider override this? How did your experience eventually turn out – did you feel you became a full member of the community or remained still somewhat of an outsider?

6. Did the archaeology intrigue you, confuse you, seem like an authentic dig? Did it add to the story in more ways that simply as a setting or to provide clues –for example, did it add to the nature of the characters?

7. What question would you most like to ask the author about Fate Accompli?