Private Detectives – Genre Study

August 21, 2012

Our grant has paid for end of stack displays. Half will go on the main floor and half on the mezzanine. They can be moved around. We are all asked to fill them when they are empty and because they are so close to their regular shelving location we will not bother to change their status. Try to pick books that are attractive looking and from the aisle they are in front of.

Adult & Teen summer reading seems to be going well. All genre study members should fill out an entry form to be entered in the raffle. The patron response seems to be up a bit this year. Patrons really like the t-shirts and we may be able to sell them if we wanted to. Next year’s theme is “Groundbreaking Reads”.

There is still some money left in the grant and Molly is still accepting suggestions. (very little left now – 09-09-12)

Next month’s genre study will be the last in the grant and it will focus on international mysteries. Please select a book not set in Canada, US, or the UK and let Molly know what you are planning on reading so she can review it.

Benchmark Discussion

Monkey’s Raincoat and Sunset Express are both from the Elvis Cole series by Robert Crais.

Appeal: The side stories such as the romance, Elivs Cole’s life and multifaceted character, the cat, the secondary characters with strong personalities, Joe Pike, a different turn at the end (resolved and unresolved at the end), strong sense of setting (LA area), film references, jokes, textured descriptives, some parallels to Robert Parker (shining knight and setting) although very different writing style

Unappealing: Graphic violence, felt dated, Elvis Cole was annoying (self-satisfied), simplified mystery

How does PI contrast with other types of mysteries?

PIs have fewer resources than the cops and use chutzpah and luck.   They tend to stress the individual. PIs often go beyond when they are told the case is over. Reader can’t always trust the system or even the client. Not a career in terms of a financial interest. Not in it for the money. Amateur detectives often stumble upon things and are generally more cozy where the PI is more of a “tough guy” with a recognized skill set to solve crimes. Sidekicks are prevalent in this genre.

Second Titles

Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler – Ben
Descriptive, stylistic, great language, noir, witty word play. See the movie too! On his own, quite a bit of drinking, some violence and suggestive material (gritty and underworldly), organized crime, hard boiled, great plot twists, literary.
Noir, gritty, clever.

The High Window by Raymond Chandler – Jason
Darker setting, stylistic, witty, some great lines.

S is for Silence by Sue Grafton – Janet
In a series, female PI and lots of other female characters, not very violent, easy to read, story is stereotypical as were characters, set in 1980s but published in 2005.
Light, non-violent, women characters

A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton – Julie
Female detective, fictional CA in early 80s, funny, light, non-violent, great secondary characters, strong series character, predictable storyline.
fast paced, strong female lead, light

Dashiell Hammett – Steven
Pulp noir, literary, cynicism, no unnecessary detail, quasi-misogynistic, themes of justifying actions carry through this genre,

Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett – Faith
Classic, cornerstone of genre, dated, tough guy that doesn’t reveal what he is thinking, just the facts (not feelings), misogynistic, mostly clean, obviously drawn bad guys, some plot twists, movie is better.
Classic, stylistic, jaded

Dead Beat by Val McDermid – Susan
My computer crashed here so I didn’t get anything down. Sorry!

Moonlight Mile by Dennis LeHane – Lisa
From the Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro series. Patrick is on the hunt for a missing teenager who he tracked down before as a small child (Gone Baby Gone). The story includes some witty dialog, fast paced, suspenseful, interesting secondary characters, MA setting.
Gritty, witty dialogue, suspenseful

Maltese Falcon and Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allen Poe – Frank
Classics, reading for appeal to older audience, Victorian ideals, why our fascination with murder, intellect rules, launched a genre, genius, works independently, lack of trust

Girl in the Green Raincoat by Laura Lippman – Paula
Award winning, protagonist is bed ridden pregnant woman, reminiscent of “rear window”, side kicks help her solve mystery, well plotted, interesting ending, dog character, strong sense of place, good characterizations
Strong sense of place, fast-paced, for animal lovers

Trouble of Fools by Linda Barnes – Molly Moss
Set in Boston, well drawn characters, female PI – ex-cop, interesting secondary characters, good story, series characters, compelling plot

Reader’s Profile Asssignment
Novelist only helpful for more mainstream titles and recently published. Hard not to recommend from your own reading likes, uncomfortable recommending those haven’t read, time consuming, Nancy Pearl book lists are helpful Give a reaction anonymously to Molly via email to the recommendations we received.

Molly has a list of reading suggestions. Please try to choose soon and we’ll meet for the last time in about 4 weeks. (September 13)

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