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Winter 2022 TBR

In today’s episode, Sarah and Brook share what they’ll be reading and watching while Clued in Mystery takes a short break for the holidays. Clued in Mystery will be back in January with new episodes. Until we return, we will release some of our earliest episodes so new listeners can catch up. Happy holidays!

Discussed in order

Monster She Wrote: The women who pioneered horror and speculative fiction (2019) Lisa Kröger and Melanie R. Anderson

The Wintringham Mystery (1926) Anthony Berkeley

Crossing the Witch Line (2022) T.L. Brown

Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six (2022) Lisa Unger

The Ink Black Heart (2022) Robert Galbraith

These Names Make Clues (1937) E.C.R. Lorac

Ballard Down Murder (2022) Rachel McLean

Marple: Twelve New Mysteries (2022)

The Pale Blue Eye (2022) Netflix

Three Pines (2022) Amazon Prime TV

The Luckiest Girl Alive (2022) Netflix

The Perfect Crime (2022) Vaseem Khan and Maxim Jakubowski (editors)

A World of Curiosities (2022) Louise Penny

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SarahWelcome to Clued in Mystery. I’m Sarah.
BrookAnd I’m Brook. And we both love mystery.
SarahHi Brook.
BrookHi Sarah. How are you doing?
SarahI’m good thank you. How are you?
BrookI’m great. And I can’t wait to get into our second episode of TBR lists. This is our winter break TBR list.
SarahYeah, so after today’s episode we’re taking a little recording break, but we are re-releasing a few of our earlier episodes so that listeners can catch up on some of the first episodes that we did while we take a little break to enjoy the holidays and read. So, let’s talk about what we’re going to read.
BrookAll right. So, my first pick is a nonfiction title and it’s called Monster She Wrote: The women who pioneered horror and speculative fiction by Lisa Kröger and Melanie R. Anderson. And so, I’ll just read the description.
Meet the women writers who defied convention to craft some of literature’s strangest tales from Frankenstein to the Haunting of Hill House and beyond. Part biography, part reader’s guide, the engaging writeups and detailed reading lists will introduce more than 100 authors and over two hundred of their mysterious and spooky works. So, I love always having kind of a nonfiction book going on the side and I just, I’m really looking forward to this and I’m hoping that it’ll give me lots of ideas for upcoming episodes.
SarahOh, that sounds really good, Brook. And yeah, I can imagine that there’ll be some good discussion topics that come out of that. So, the first on my list is The Wintringham Mystery by Anthony Berkeley.
So, Anthony Berkeley was one of the founding members of the Detection Club. And this book was republished for the first time in nearly ninety-five years in 2021. It’s a classic winter country house mystery by the founder of the Detection Club with a twist that even Agatha Christie couldn’t solve.
Stephen Monroe, a demobbed army officer reconciles himself to taking a job as a footman to make ends meet. Employed at Wintringham Hall, the delightful but decaying Sussex County residence of the elderly lady Susan Carey, his first task entails welcoming her eccentric guests to a weekend house party at which her bombastic nephew—who recognizes Stephen from his former life—decides that an after-dinner seance would be more entertaining than bridge. And then Cicely disappears. With Lady Susan reluctant to call the police about what is presumably a childish prank, Stephen and the plucky Pauline Mainwaring take it upon themselves to investigate. But then a suspicious death turns the game into an altogether more serious affair. This classic winter mystery incorporates all the trappings of the Golden Age: a rambling country house, a séance, a murder, a room locked on the inside, with servants, suspects, and alibis, a romance—and an ingenious puzzle. First published as a 30-part newspaper serial in 1926, the same year that The Murder of Roger Ackroyd was published, The Wintringham Mystery was written by Anthony Berkeley founder of the famous Detection Club. Also known as Cicely Disappears, the Daily Mirror ran the story as a competition with a prize of £500, which is equivalent to about £30,000 today, for anyone who guessed the solution correctly. And nobody did, not even Agatha Christie, who entered and didn’t solve it.
Brook   Oh my goodness that sounds so good, Sarah. I have never come across this title before.
SarahNo me neither. I don’t remember where I where I came across it. But as soon as I did, I thought “oh this is going to be something that I want to read over the holidays” because it’s set in the winter and it kind of hits a lot of the things that I really enjoy about this kind of book.
BrookYes, it seems like a perfect holiday read. All right. My next choice is not a mystery, per se, but it has a lot of mystery elements. And I met TL Brown, who’s the author of this book, online via Instagram when she was writing her first series, which is more of a cozy paranormal. And her second series is um, a fantasy, and the book that I’ll be reading is Crossing the Witch Line. It’s book two in her Bellerose Witchline series.
Ever since Lucie Bellerose returned to the Empire, she’s lived amid chaos. Now, three months after a devastating battle in the Walled Zone, she’s desperate to get into The Above to find her lost magic man. With her best friend still missing and her membership at the Congress of Empire Witches suspended, Lucie’s on her own. Down to her last resort, she seeks help from an unpredictable man from her past who is held captive in The Below. A deal is made, but can Lucie trust him to keep his end of the bargain or will his darkness overshadow her light?
So, as I mentioned TL Brown also writes the Door-to-Door mysteries, which would be a lighthearted cozy paranormal. This one is not. It is recommended for readers 18 and up because it does contain adult situations and horror elements. But the fact that I am so into a fantasy series says a lot about her writing skills and her storytelling skills because I really, really have to know what happens next to Lucie Bellerose.
SarahAh, yeah, that sounds really good, Brook. So, next on my list is Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six, which was released in November of this year by Lisa Unger. I’ve not read anything by her in the past, but this is domestic thriller, I believe, is where we would put that. I haven’t read anything by her, but I believe, she writes domestic thrillers and from the description, this sounds very much like that’s where it fits.
So, the description is: what could be more restful than a weekend getaway with family and friends? An isolated luxury cabin in the woods, spectacular views, a hot tub and a personal chef. Hannah’s generous brother founded the listing online. Reviews are stellar. It’ll be three couples on this trip with good food, good company and lots of R and R. But the dreamy weekend is about to turn into a nightmare. A deadly storm is brewing. The rental host seems just a little too present. The personal chef reveals that their beautiful house has a spine tingling history. And the friends have their own complicated past with secrets that run blood deep. How well does Hannah know her brother? Her own husband? Can she trust her best friend? Meanwhile, someone is determined to ruin the weekend, looking to exact a payback for deeds long buried. Who is the stranger among them?
BrookSo this book was almost on my list as well, Sarah, because I read that description and was instantly hooked. So, I’m so glad you included it today. It just sounds great. And it sounds like it hits all the marks that we discussed as being important in a domestic thriller.
SarahYou make a good point, Brook. So, we don’t share our lists with each other before we share them with share them right here. Yeah, it’s interesting that that you had this almost on your list. I will say I had a very hard time narrowing my list down. Because I think there’s just so many great choices. So yeah, we’ll see. I’m looking forward to reading this one.
BrookOh, my next pick is The Ink Black Heart. It is book six in the Cormoran Strike series, which I have read up until this point and so I can’t wait to get back into this one. This is by Robert Galbraith, who is actually of course J. K. Rowling.
So, when Edie Ledwell appears in the office begging to speak to her, private detective Robin Ellacott doesn’t know quite what to make of the situation. The co-creator of a popular cartoon, The Ink Black Heart, Edie is being persecuted by a mysterious online figure who goes by the pseudonym of Anomie. Edie is desperate to uncover Anomie’s true identity.
Robin decides that the agency can’t help with this and thinks nothing more of it until a few days later when she reads the shocking news that Edie has been tasered and then murdered in Highgate Cemetery, the location of The Ink Black Heart.
Robin and her business partner, Cormoran Strike, become drawn into the quest to uncover Anomie’s true identity. But with a complex web of online aliases, business interests, and family conflicts to navigate, Strike and Robin find themselves embroiled in a case that stretches their powers of deduction to the limits and which threatens them in new and horrifying ways.
SarahSo I haven’t read any of the Cormoran Strike books. I have seen the television adaptations of a couple of them. But that sounds yeah that sounds really good, Brook.
BrookYeah, it’s a great series. We all know what a great storyteller Rowling is and she’s doing it again now with this series meant for adult readers. I will say that much like the Harry Potter series, the books are seeming to get longer and longer and longer as the series progresses. So, this one is nice and thick.
SarahOh that’s perfect for this time of year, right? You can just really get lost.
So the next one on my book list is another from the Golden Age of fiction. And so this is These Names Make Clues by E.C.R. Lorac. And it was published in 1937 and I came across this because there was an article by Martin Edwards talking about how just really raving about this book and I believe he wrote the introduction for the version that was just recently released, and I think he wrote the introduction but actually I’m not totally sure on that.
Anyway, Chief Inspector Macdonald has been invited to a treasure hunt party at the house of Graham Coombe, the celebrated publisher of Murder by Mesmerism. Despite a handful of misgivings, the inspector joins a guest list of novelists and thriller writers disguised on the night under literary pseudonyms. The fun comes to an abrupt end, however, when ‘Samuel Pepys’ is found dead in the telephone room in bizarre circumstances. Amidst the confusion of too many fake names, clues, ciphers, and convoluted alibis, Macdonald and his allies in the CID must unravel a truly tangled case in this metafictional masterpiece, which returns to print for the first time since its publication in 1937.
SarahAnd so I really liked this one because I think it touches, one of the episodes that we talked about the author is sleuth episode. So I think in this one, it’s authors that are the suspects right? And it’s a detective who’s doing the investigating. But I think this sounds like it’ll be kind of fun.
BrookAnd we can assume that these mystery authors will make the solution really tricky.
BrookMy final book pick is an author that is new to me. This is the Ballard Down Murder by Rachel McLean. And I listened to a podcast interview and Rachel was the guest and I just I loved her take on mystery fiction and about starting an author career. And so, I’m going to read the Ballard Down Murder.
Detective Sergeant Dennis Frampton is struggling with his new role heading up the major crimes unit. But when his former boss and mentor DCI Mackie is found dead, Dennis is suspicious. Did Mackie kill himself or is there something more sinister going on? And one thing I really liked about Rachel, how she describes in this interview is that she writes about murders that take place in the location that she’s very familiar with, so I was immediately intrigued. Because you know, she actually goes to these cliff sides or you know goes to that pub and really incorporates it into her writing, so I’m hoping that it will give it a lot of good flavor.
SarahYeah, that sounds really good. The next one on my list, Brook is a collection of short stories. It’s Marple which is the 12 new mysteries commissioned by the Agatha Christie estate, featuring Lucy Foley, Ruth Ware, Ellie Griffiths among others, each writing a new Marple short story.
Agatha Christie’s legendary sleuth, Jane Marple, returns to solve twelve baffling cases in this brand-new collection, penned by a host of acclaimed authors skilled in the fine art of mystery and murder One doesn’t stop at one murder…
Now, for the first time in 45 years, Agatha Christie’s beloved character returns to the page for a globe-trotting tour of crime and detection. Join Marple as she travels through her sleepy English village and around the world. In St Mary Mead, a Christmas dinner is interrupted by unexpected guests; the Broadway stage in New York City is set for a dangerous improvisation; bad omens surround an untimely death aboard a cruise ship to Hong Kong; and a bestselling writer on holiday in Italy is caught in a nefarious plot. These and other crimes committed in the name of love, jealousy, blackmail, and revenge are ones that only the indomitable Jane Marple can solve.
Bringing a fresh twist to the hallmarks of a classic Agatha Christie mystery, these twelve esteemed writers have captured the sharp wit, unique voice, and droll ingenuity of the deceptively demure detective. A triumphant celebration of Christie’s legacy and essential reading for crime lovers, Marple is a timely reminder why Jane Marple remains one of the most famous detectives of all time.
BrookWell I have to admit, Sarah that this is sort of on my aside TBR list as well. I mean who can resist a Marple collection right? And I think that it’s going to be so fun to see how these very skilled writers in their own right, how they take it and how they how they interpret writing these stories. So hopefully we can have some conversations in the future of what we thought of that collection because I just think it’s going to be great.
SarahYeah I’m really looking forward to it and yes we can definitely talk about it in in future. Once we both read it. And I love that you have a side TBR list, because I do as well.
BrookThere’s like the main, the side, the side of the side.
SarahYeah, totally.
BrookWell so my next pick is I actually have two picks of things that I would like to watch over the holiday time. And the first is… and I might say that both of these are based on books. So, if I could be so lucky to read and then watch, I could do that but let’s face it I’ve got a lot on my plate already. So, we’ll see what order this happens in.
So the first is The Pale Blue Eye, based on the book by Lewis Bayard. A world-weary detective is hired to investigate the murder of a West Point cadet stymied by the cadets’ code of silence. He enlists one of their own to help unravel the case, a young man the world would come to know as Edgar Allan Poe. And this releases in select theaters December 23rd and then on Netflix in January 6th. And I think this is the first of two this month Netflix is doing a similar thing where they’re releasing to theaters Knives Out Two. And then Knives Out Two will be available on Netflix in December. So I like this, that things are going to the big screen from Netflix. I think that the big names in the movies probably contribute to that. I mean in Pale Blue Eye we have Christian Bale, Lucy Boynton, Robert Duval. So that’s kind of exciting to see Netflix going into theaters.
SarahYeah, that sounds like a great story and I haven’t read the book. Like you, I think I prefer to read the book first and then watch whether it’s the show or the film. I don’t know if I would have time. But I’ll definitely be checking this out because it does sound really good.
So I actually have a television series on my list. And this is the Three Pines TV series that Amazon Prime is releasing. And it is based on Louise Penny’s first book, Still Life. This first series is at least. And yeah, I’m super looking forward to this. So, I’ll just read a really brief description that I found.
A man investigates murders in Three Pines; he sees things that others do not: the light between the cracks, the mythic in the mundane, and discovers long-buried secrets and faces a few of his own ghosts.
Which, to be honest, I’m not sure if that if I didn’t know who—If I didn’t know that the stories were based on Louise Penny’s stories, I’m not sure that that description does it does it justice. But this is based on her first inspector Gamache novel and will be on Amazon prime video starting December 2nd. And there’s going to be eight episodes released over four Friday nights. So, yeah I think that’ll be definitely lots of fun to watch.
BrookYes! I love that series so much. Do you know has she had other film adaptations or are television adaptations yet or is this Louise Penny’s first?
SarahSo there was a film adaptation. And I can’t remember what it was call now. That I don’t think it did any justice to her writing and I don’t know how involved she was in that. But I think she’s been more involved in this process. Yeah I don’t know.
Anyway, to answer your question. Yes, there have been. There’s been at least one other attempt at adapting her stories. But um, yeah, it’ll be really fun to see this and and I I believe it was filmed in um, the eastern townships of Quebec which is where three pines is set so viewers will be able to see the place that she. Has her books. You know that she writes about in her books.
BrookOh that’s very exciting I’ll definitely be looking for that one. Well my last pick for this TBR show is also another Netflix production and it is a movie, not a series. It’s The Luckiest Girl Alive based on the book by Jessica Knoll. And Jessica Knoll does do the screen play as well.
A writer’s perfectly crafted New York city life starts to unravel when a true-crime documentary forces her to confront her harrowing high school history and question the choices she made as a teenager.
So it’s just a really brief little description I kind of want more but we’ve got that author as main character. It’s got a lot of the things that I love about you know the past comes back to haunt you and I’m just looking forward to that. It is on Netflix now and has been for some time.
And I wanted to note that I was recently watching a German series on Netflix and found that when I went to turn my subtitles on, I could choose which language I wanted to hear the voices in. So maybe this has been around for a while and I’m late to the game, but I get so kind of distracted by reading subtitles. So, I miss things on screen. So, if I could change the language to English, it really was a joy. So you might check that out next time and in case that so you might check that feature out next time you’re watching a show on Netflix that wasn’t filmed in your preferred language.  
SarahWell that’s a great tip, Brook. And yeah, so I actually have this on my side to-watch list and my side to-read list.
SarahI don’t know if I’ll get to it over the over the holiday break. But yeah, definitely something that that I want to check out as well. And, yeah, hits a lot of the boxes of things that certainly that we’ve been talking about but things that I enjoy.
Okay, so I do have another on my list and it is another collection of short stories. It’s called The Perfect Crime and it’s edited by Vaseem Khan and Maxim Jakubowski.
It was released in November of this year and the tagline is: Around the world in 22 murders. MURDER. BLACKMAIL. REVENGE.
From Lagos to Mexico City, Australia to the Caribbean, Toronto to Los Angeles, Darjeeling to rural New Zealand, London to New York – twenty-two bestselling crime writers from diverse cultures come together from across the world in a razor sharp and deliciously sinister collection of crime stories.
So, what appealed to me about this was just reading about crimes set in in different locations. We’re not going to be going away over the holidays and so this will be a nice way to sort of escape to some other destinations.
BrookThat’s a great way to do that. And I like the idea of choosing short story collections because it’s similar to what we discussed on our short story episode that you don’t have to start it and finish it. And you know you don’t have to do these beginning to end. You could have this collection by your bedside for even several months and just be able to finish ah self-contained stories over time and really enjoy them that way. It’s not so much of a commitment.
SarahExactly. And if you’ll permit me, Brook, I do have one more. I think I’ve got quite a lot on my list. So I’m not sure if I’m going to get through everything. But this time of year is when I typically read Louise Penny’s new release and so I do have A World of Curiosities on my list. So, you know after watching the Amazon series I can maybe pick this up. And this is I believe her eighteenth in the Three Pines series. Or her eighteenth in the Inspector Gamache series.
It’s spring and Three Pines is re-emerging after the harsh winter. But not everything buried should come alive again. Not everything lying dormant should re-emerge.
But something has. As the villagers prepare for a special celebration, Armand Gamache and Jean-Guy Beauvoir find themselves increasingly worried. A young man and woman have reappeared in the Sûreté du Québec investigators’ lives after many years. The two were young children when their troubled mother was murdered, leaving them damaged, shattered. Now they’ve arrived in the village of Three Pines. But to what end? Gamache and Beauvoir’s memories of that tragic case, the one that first brought them together, come rushing back. Did their mother’s murder hurt them beyond repair? Have those terrible wounds, buried for decades, festered and are now about to erupt?
As Chief Inspector Gamache works to uncover answers, his alarm grows when a letter written by a long dead stone mason is discovered. In it the man describes his terror when bricking up an attic room somewhere in the village. Every word of the 160-year-old letter is filled with dread. When the room is found, the villagers decide to open it up.
As the bricks are removed, Gamache, Beauvoir and the villagers discover a world of curiosities. But the head of homicide soon realizes there’s more in that room than meets the eye. There are puzzles within puzzles, and hidden messages warning of mayhem and revenge. In unsealing that room, an old enemy is released into their world. Into their lives. And into the very heart of Armand Gamache’s home.
BrookOh my goodness. I’m so glad you shared that. It sounds so wonderful, and I love the full circle hint that we have that these cases from Gamache’s past are coming back. Yeah, that sounds fantastic. It’s such a great series. I highly recommend if anyone hasn’t started that one. I’ve only read a few but they’re such great books.
SarahThey are yeah… I, wholeheartedly agree. If you haven’t read any of the books, then it’s definitely a series worth starting. They’re just they’re just wonderful. So yeah, hopefully I’ll get to that as well. Cool. So, Brook I think we’ve got a lot of, reading and watching ahead of us, which is perfect for this time of year. I hope you’re going to have lots of festive goodies while you’re reading and while you’re watching. Because I know I will.
BrookThanks, Sarah. Yes, I envision lots of yummy hot drinks and maybe some sweet treats to go along with my reading this holiday season and we wish you the same listeners. We hope that you have a wonderful time with friends and family. And get some reading and watching of your favorite types of mysteries done and until next time. Thank you for joining us on Clued in Mystery. I’m Brook.
SarahAnd I’m Sarah and we both love mystery.