Nostalgia City Mysteries

By Mark S. Bacon

Category Archives: book groups

Reading group guide for “The Marijuana Murders”

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Discussion questions

1.  How would you describe Kate’s relationship with Arthur Poole?  Does she act appropriately?

2.  The author mentions songs from the 1970s. Do these songs, and their artists, contribute to particular scenes or the overall focus of the book?  How important is the 1970s setting to the story?

3.  What factor’s influence the Nostalgia City CEO’s opinion of legalizing pot?

4.  Excluding Kate, how would you categorize the role of women in the book?

5.  How is the case for legalizing marijuana presented? Do you think the author has an opinion of legal pot?

6.  The author’s narrative technique is to alternate point-of-view chapters between Lyle and Kate. Was each character’s POV obvious with the change of chapters?

7.  When Arthur Poole says that heroin and cocaine are dangerous drugs it elicits laughs from his audience. Why is that? How does this establish what comes next at the public forum?

8.  This is a mystery. What was the biggest surprise in the book?

9.  How does the author differentiate the voices of the various characters? Is it effective?

10.  What do you think happened to Tony Guerra? Was the author specific enough for you about Guerra’s plight?

Reading group guide for Death in Nostalgia City

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Questions for discussion
  1. The book begins in central Arizona, but the plot leads the main characters to Boston and back. How do the multiple settings contribute to the book? How do they affect the actions of the main characters?
  2. Lyle’s relationship with his father generates both anger and guilt. What does he mean by that and how does this motivate him throughout the story? Does he have other motivations?
  3. How would you describe Kate Sorensen’s role in the story? How does her approach to challenges differ from Lyle’s?
  4. How important is the retro theme of Nostalgia City to the theme of the book? How do they differ? Do you think the author has an opinion about the value of celebrating or enjoying the past?
  5. In the face of Lyle’s fairly obvious instability, is Kate justified in trusting him?
  6. This is a mystery, but the author establishes FedPat Corporation as a likely source of criminal activity early on. Did this leave enough questions for the reader to solve? How close to the actual workings of a large insurance company, excluding perhaps murder, do you think this is? 
  7. Kate uses her background in competitive athletics as inspiration to deal with crises without looking back. How does it work?
  8. How does Lyle employ his “loiter and listen” strategy?  Is it effective?
  9. Lyle and others make references to celebrities and events from past decades, some of which may be obscure.  Do references to people such as Vic Tanny and Jeannie C. Riley puzzle you or contribute to the setting of the story? 

‘Death in Nostalgia City’ a choice for your book group

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In the category of patting yourself on the back, I submit this recent email.

Dear Mark,
The mystery book club that read your novel has been together 20 years. They range in age from 55-84. Your novel was a big hit! Many have traveled to the area [Arizona] or have friends who have retired out that way. Their #1 accolade was the car chase scene. It surprised them all to find themselves on the edges of their seats. Most mysteries they read do not include car chases. They felt your journalism background made the prose more comfortable for them to read and follow. They cared about the characters and thought the names used were creative without being too cute or too long (making them unwieldy).

All said they would enjoy reading your next book and want me to update them/purchase books for them once you have it published.

My apologies for the tardy report.

Have a splendid weekend.
Carrie

Carrie C. Wolfgang
Novel Destination~Used Book Emporium
Jamestown, NY. 14701
noveldestination@windstream.net
FB@ Novel Destination
“Home of your friendly neighborhood book lady”

 

[Editors note: The “next book” in the Nostalgia City mystery series, Desert Kill Switch, will be published by Black Opal Books later this year.]

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