Genre: Mystery

February 25, 2014
Pelham Library

Benchmark: Still Life by Louise Penny

Mystery Resources:
Stop, You’re Killing Me!

Notes on Discussion

Introductions were made by all attendees.

MLS Webinars are beginning: in February there was a Mystery webinar by Donna Goldthwaite from Springfield City Library. This webinar is archived on the MLS Vimeo channel and on the MLS RA LibGuide page: URL: In March, John Charles from Scottsdale PL will be covering Romance and Joyce Saricks will be doing webinars April-August. All of this information is on the RA LibGuide page and will be on their Eventkeeper for registration.

The western Reader Advisory Round Table (RART) is modeled after the North Shore RART, which has been running for several years. Each meeting (every other month) the group will read a benchmark title in a specific genre, then choose another title to compare appeal factors. Since patrons tend to describe books by plot, knowing how to discern appeal factors is an important part of RA.

Categories of appeal terms/factors:

  • Story
  • Characters
  • Tone
  • Style
  • Pace

Some “rules” of suggestions (use suggestion instead of recommendation) – pick three titles for a patron – two similar to what they have read, one as a “stretch” but with some similar appeal.

RA can be done passively: Jan showed binders of booklists that she has developed through the years. They can be more than just by genre, use appeal terms also.

Bookforms adapted from Joyce Saricks – use for yourself (or give to patrons) to make reading notes. These are helpful as reminders of plot, tone, character, etc. Use as technique to focus on discovering appeal factors for recommendation, and to find “red flags” for factors patrons may not want.

Discussion of Still Life:

Some thought it seemed a cross between a cozy mystery (based on setting) and police procedural.

Compelling story of two groups of characters. Use of art and poetry are appealing and accessible. Well-developed characters, serial arc, great sense of setting.

NoveList – available to C/W MARS patrons and members. Excellent web resource, especially for readalikes. Fantastic Fiction is another good resource, especially for serial fiction.


  • Bookform
  • Appeal Terms for Adults (from Novelist)

  • Saricks, Guide to Genre Fiction, Chapter 11 – Mysteries

  • Saricks, Guide to Genre Fiction, Chapter 8 – Romance  (t0 prepare for April meeting

  • Mortal Coils: a killer list of mysteries (by Jan Resnick)

  • Sixteen Differences Between Mystery and Suspense by Carolyn Wheat


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s