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Winter 2023 TBR

It’s the final new episode of 2023 and Brook and Sarah cap off a great year with what they’re planning to read over the winter break, which we will re-cap in early January. Until then, Clued in Mystery will re-release favorite episodes for listeners to catch up on.


4:50 to Paddington (1957) Agatha Christie

In Cold Blood (1966) Truman Capote

The Appeal

The Twyford Code (2022) Janice Hallett

The Appeal (2021) Janice Hallett

Brook’s list

The Last Devil to Die (2023) Richard Osman

Murder at the Vicarage (1930) Agatha Christie

Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee (2019) Casey Cep

The Christmas Appeal (2023) Janice Hallett

Mother Daughter Murder Night (2023) Nina Simon (Sarah’s recommendation for Brook)

Sarah’s list

The Christmas Card Crime (2018) Martin Edwards (Ed.)

Murder at the Vicarage (1930) Agatha Christie

Opium and Absinthe: A Novel (2020) Lydia Kang

Long Time Coming (2010) Robert Goddard (Brook’s recommendation for Sarah)

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This transcript is generated by a computer and there may be some mis-spellings and strange punctuation. We try to catch these before posting, but some things slip through.

SarahWelcome to Clued in Mystery. I’m Sarah.
BrookAnd I’m Brook and we both love mystery.
SarahHi, Brook.
BrookHi, Sarah are you ready for our upcoming winter break?
SarahI am I always look forward to having a few weeks off to kind of reflect and catch up on some reading. What about you?
BrookYeah, and of course during this time of year there are so many things to do with friends and family so it’ll be a good time to just kind of take a breather but I agree get some reading done.
SarahSo let’s talk about some of the things that we’re planning to read.
BrookExcellent I’ll go first. My first pick is a continuing the series choice and I don’t think anyone will be surprised that I have the next Richard Osman book on my list The Last Devil to Die and this is his brand new one that came out this fall of 2023 and the description goes like this. Shocking news reaches them. An old friend has been killed and a dangerous package. He was protecting has gone missing the gang search leads them into the antiquities business where the tricks of the trade are as old as the objects themselves as they encounter drug dealers art forgers and online fraudsters as well as heartache close to home. Elizabeth, Joyce, Ron, and Ibraham have no idea whom to trust. With the body count rising the clock ticking down and trouble firmly on their tail has their luck finally run out?
SarahOh well I think you’re in for a treat, Brook I know you’ve read the other books in this series and um, yeah I think you’ll ah I hope you really enjoy it.
BrookI think I will I’ve heard ah and seen comments that people feel like this might be the best one yet. So that makes me really excited.
SarahWell, my first pick is a collection of short stories that are also holiday themed. I thought you know it would be a good idea to read something that was festive so this is The Christmas Card Crime. Published in 2018 with Martin Edwards as the editor. A Christmas party is punctuated by a gunshot under a policeman’s watchful eye. A jewel heist is planned amidst the glitz and glamour of Oxford street’s Christmas shopping lost in a snowstorm a man finds a motive for murder. This collection of mysteries explores the darker side of the festive season from unexplained disturbances in the fresh snow to the darkness that lurks beneath the sparkling decorations with neglected stories by John Boode and E.C.R. Lorac as well as tales by little known writers of crime fiction, Martin Edwards blends the cozy atmosphere of the fireside story with a chill to match the temperature outside. This is a gripping seasonal collection sure to delight mystery fans.
BrookOh, so much fun. I can envision you Sarah with your hot cup of cocoa and a blanky and as we’ve said before short stories are so nice because you know you can parcel them out and extend them and just read them when you have time. So I love that idea.
BrookMy next choice is my ah Christie Reid of the TBR list. You guys know I’m working my way through the canon and I had so much fun reading a Miss Marple last time that I’m going to do that again this time. And I went to the first one of the series Murder at the Vicarage. And I also wanted to mention I’m not sure if I’ve done this before but the Agatha Christie website has a really great resource to track your reading of all the all the Christie canon so um we’ll link to that. So if you’d like to print that out and be able to keep track of your reading as I am you can do that but in murder at the vicarage we have colonel. Oh my gosh. How do you say his name Colonel Prothero local magistrate and overbearing landowner is the most detested man in the village. Everyone. Even in the vicar. What. Everyone wishes he were dead and very soon he is shot in the head in the Vicar’s own study faced with a surplus of suspects only in so the inscrutable Miss Marple can unravel the tangled web of clues that will lead to the unmasking of a killer.
SarahWell, Brook I don’t think we’ve ever had this happen before but I also had this on my list. And for a lot of the same reasons as you.
BrookOh how fun we’ll be reading the same book.
SarahI know you read 4:50 to Paddington over this summer and you enjoyed that so much that I thought well I should read a miss marble and why don’t I start at the very beginning so murder at the vicarage was also on my list. So. It’ll be fun for us to compare notes after we finish.
BrookThat’ll be so much fun and I can’t wait to see how she introduces Miss Marble so we’ll have to definitely talk about that.
BrookAh, so I guess I’ll go next since we just revealed Sarah’s pick. So this one is a nonfiction It’s called Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep and it’s a 2019 true crime. Reverend Willie Maxwell was a rural preacher accused of murdering 5 of his family members for insurance money in the 1970s with the help of a savvy lawyer. He escaped justice for years until a relative shot him at the funeral of his last victim. Despite hundreds of Witnesses Maxwell’s murderer was acquitted thanks to the same attorney who had previously defended the reverend sitting in the audience during the vigilante trial was Harper Lee who had traveled from New York city to her native Alabama with the idea of writing her own version of In Cold Blood, the true crime classic she had helped her friend Truman Capote research 17 years earlier Lee spent a year in town reporting and many more years working on her own version of the case now Casey Kap brings this story to life from the shocking murders to the courtroom drama to the racial politics of the deep south. At the same time she offers a deeply moving portrait of one of the country’s most beloved writers and her struggle with fame success and the mystery of artistic creativity.
SarahUm, well that sounds so interesting Brook.
BrookYeah, I think it’s going to be fascinating. I mean rather dark, let’s face it that’s kind of the hallmark of true crime. Unfortunately, but I’m really interested in this um, kind of a different look at Harper Lee and she’s spent somebody that’s always fascinating to me since she published basically one book that is you know, phenomenal and then like what happened to her. So I love to see what other things she was working on and what she was thinking about So I’m looking forward to it.
SarahSo I have a historical mystery on my list and that is Opium and Absinthe: A Novel by Lydia Kang so New York City 1899. Tillie Pembroke’s sister lies dead her body drained of blood and with two puncture wounds on her neck. Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula has just been published and Tillie’s imagination leaps to the impossible. The murderer is a vampire but it can’t be can it? A ravenous reader and researcher Tillie has something of an addiction to truth and she won’t rest until she unravels the mystery of her sister’s death unfortunately, tilly’s addicted to more than just truth to ease the pain from a recent injury. She’s taking more and more laudanum and some of her some in her. And some in her immediate circle are happy to keep her well supplied tilly can’t bring herself to believe vampires exist but with a hysteria surrounding her sister’s death the continued vampiric slayings and the opium swirling through her body. It’s becoming increasingly difficult for a girl who relies on facts and figures to know what’s real. Or whether she can trust those closest to her.
BrookThat sounds really good Sarah all those Victorian era tropes are kind of woven in there. That’s going to be a really good read I think.
SarahWell and I think it’ll be really interesting because the author is also a physician and so it’ll be interesting to see you know she’s got some firsthand knowledge with um bodies and and so see if it’s a little more graphic than that.
SarahThan some of the books I typically read.
BrookTrue. Well my last pick for myself. Hint, hint is ah The Christmas Appeal by Janice Hallett and ah, after the dark true crime one that I mentioned I definitely wanted something festive. So ah, the Christmas season has arrived in Lower Lockwood and the fairway players are busy, rehearsing their festive holiday production of Jack and the bean stock to raise money for a new church roof. But despite the season goodwill is distinctly lacking among the amateur theater enthusiasts with petty rivalries a possible a possibly asbestos-filled beanstalk and some perennially absent players behind the scenes. Of course, there’s also the matter of the dead body on stage who could possibly have had the victim on their naughty list join lawyers Femmi and Charlotte as they investigate. Examine emails and pour over police transcripts to identify both the victim and the killer before the curtain closes. On their holiday production for good.
SarahI think you’re going to enjoy that I haven’t read it but I’ve read Janice Hallett’s other books, The Appeal and The Twford Code. Um, so I hope you really enjoy this.
BrookUm, well that was my actually my first inclination was I was going to read the appeal and then when I went to look online I I realized that she had a Christmas story. I thought ok for this time of year. That’s where I’ll start with ah with some hallet.
SarahSo I don’t know how much you’ve looked into it but the format of the book is very different from um from most books that you read.
BrookUm, okay.
SarahSo I’m looking forward to talking about that I might see if I can track that down and read it myself too.
BrookOkay, good. Okay, this happens to us. We hear the other ones we’re like oh I’m going to try to read them.
SarahI’m gonna I can read that. Um, because yeah I did see that she had another book out. But um I already had a Christmas collection on my list. So I mean it doesn’t stop me from reading another. Ah I’m reading another Christmas book.
SarahSo I have a book on my list for you, Brook. I thought it would be really nice as part of the season of giving to make a suggestion for a book that I thought you would enjoy and so this this is the Mother Daughter Murder Night. Which was released earlier this year and written by Nina Simon.
BrookThank you Sarah.
SarahHigh powered businesswoman Lana Rubicon has a lot to be proud of her keen intelligence impeccable taste and the l a real estate empire. She’s built but when she finds herself trapped three hundred miles north of the city convalescing in a sleepy coastal town with her adult daughter Beth. And teenage granddaughter Jack, Lana is stuck counting otters instead of square footage and hoping that boredom won’t kill her before the cancer does. Then Jack, tiny in stature but fiercely independent, happens upon a dead body while kayaking. She quickly becomes a suspect in the homicide investigation and the Rubicon women are thrown into chaos. Beth thinks Lana should focus on recovery but Lana has a better idea. She’ll pull on her wig find the true murderer protect her family and prove she still has power with Jack and Beth’s help Lana uncovers a web of lies family vendettas and land disputes lurking beneath the surface of a community populated by folksy conservationalists and wealthy ranchers. But as their amateur snooping advances into ever more dangerous territory. The headstrong rubicon women must learn to do the one thing they’ve always resisted. Depend on each other.
BrookWell you know me really well because that sounds great. I can’t wait to dive into that one.
SarahWell I read it earlier this year and I immediately thought of you.
BrookOh good. Yeah I’m excited. Well, I too have a book for you this year, Sarah. Robert Goddard is an author I found in my little rural library as a teenager so these are you know he started writing a long time ago, but I just really love his sort of quiet literary mysteries and it was kind of difficult to choose but I’m going to go with his Edgar award winner Long Time Coming and this was published in 2010 in Antwerp in 1939 a Jewish diamond trader flees nazi Europe leaving his priceless collection of Picasso paintings and diamonds with a friend who takes them to London the boat. He flees on sinks leaving no survivors fast forward to 1977 when his penniless family tries to track down the missing paintings a classic thriller with Goddard’s trademark plot twists.
SarahSo, Brook is it a dual timeline? Some of the story set in the 1930s and some in the 1970s?
BrookI’m trying to think this particular title Goddard often has these things that happened in the past and then the contemporary usually amateur sleuth trying to put all the pieces together and many times the part of the past comes to in either like letters or diaries. But not so much you know actual dual point of view. Um, and for this particular one I can’t recall how he does this but he loves to weave the past with the present which is part of why I thought you would really enjoy this.
SarahOh I think this is I think I definitely will so I’m looking forward to it I’ve never heard of um Robert Goddard so I think this will be great. Thank you so much.
BrookYou’re welcome.
SarahWell, Brook I think we’ve got lots of reading to do and lots of um goodies to taste I hope over the next few weeks. We will be taking a break from recording new episodes but we will re-release some of our older episodes and listeners can have a chance to catch up.
BrookYes, and when we come back, we’ll do a recap of our reading lists and let you all know what we thought of the titles that we chose and that we chose for each other and it’ll be a lot of fun. So happy holidays, Sarah.
SarahSame to you, Brook.
BrookAnd happy holidays to all of you. Thank you for being listeners to Clued in Mystery I’m Brook.
SarahAnd I’m Sarah and we both love mystery.