Genre: Mystery Fiction Arc I – Police Procedural

Tuesday, November 3  2015 9:45 – Noon
Location: South Hadley Public Library
Genre: Mystery Genre Arc I – Police Procedural
Benchmark: A Share in Death by Deborah Crombie

Mystery Fiction Resources

Getting Up to Speed in Police Procedurals

Notes on Discussion

Readers’ Advisory Round Table Western Mass
November 3, 2015
South Hadley Public Library

MLS 5 in 15—you can do them too! It’s easy technically, and you can pick your topic, just get in touch with Anna or Kristi at MLS

(No one went to NELA)

Suzanne Brockmann LGBTQXYZ RA—she writes gay characters as normal people (!?!) Molly or Jan will be forwarding a list of resources from the session.

Jan’s list of mystery subgenres has been updated (see handout)

Mystery—murder, investigation, justice (unlike life) character, setting (longrunning series) atmospheric, can go from light (Lisa Lutz’s Spellmans) to dark (Scandinavian)

Police procedural—detective and team (including forensics), sometimes multiple cases. They have law on their side, office politics, heavy workload, play by the rules. Peril. Urban = darker, suburban = mix, rural = cozy. Historicals aren’t usually police procedurals as most cities did not have a police force till the mid 19th century.

A SHARE IN DEATH by Deborah Crombie (benchmark)
Has qualities of a parlor mystery, cozy elements, not very procedural. Kicks off a longrunning series, later entries are more procedural and relationships develop.

[display idea: AS SEEN ON TV (bbc series, movies, etc)]

Second titles around the table:
KNOTS AND CROSSES by Ian Rankin first in Inspector Rebus series, Scotland
THE BLACK BOX by Michael Connelly middle of Harry Bosch series, Los Angeles
THE VANISHED MAN by Jeffery Deaver fifth of Lincoln Rhyme series, New York
THE SECRET PLACE by Tana French fifth of Dublin Murder Squad series
BIRDMAN by Mo Hayder debut, London
COLD MOURNING by Brenda Chapman first in series, Ottawa
OPEN SEASON by Archer Mayor first in Joe Gunther series (first person), Vermont
HOW THE LIGHT GETS IN by Louise Penny ninth in Inspector Gamache series, Quebec
THE REVERSAL by Michael Connelly middle of Harry Bosch/Mickey Haller series, Los Angeles

Second Titles

Name: Lyndsay Johnson
Genre: Mystery – Police Procedural
Title: All Shall be Well
Author: Deborah Crombie
Appeal Factors: Sympathetic, bittersweet, suspenseful
Summary/Thoughts: This is the second book in the Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James series. Over the previous few months, Kincaid has become close to a downstairs neighbor who is suffering from terminal cancer. Once she passes away, he believes there’s more to the story than suicide. Kept me guessing until the end.

Name: Elizabeth Beth
Genre: Mystery
Title: Open Season
Author: Archer Mayor
Appeal Factors: VT setting, 1st in long series
Summary/Thoughts: A former medical examiner, mayor is well qualified to write about crime – at least when it comes to autopsies. Open season is written from a first person perspective, making it very immediate. Mayor introduces a cast of characters still found in his later books. Their writing is smoother and now written in third person.

Name: Jan Resnick
Genre: Mystery – Police Procedural
Title: The Vanished Man
Author: Jeffrey Deaver
Appeal Factors: Fast paced; well developed characters with interesting backstories; intricately plotted; language is detailed; the tone is suspenseful and terrifying; frame: NYC, 2003.
Summary/Thoughts: The murder of a music student immediately followed by the killer’s disappearance from a locked room begins this 5th mystery featuring quadriplegic criminalist Lincoln Rhyme and investigator Amelia Sachs. The murderer is a skilled illusionist, and the misdirection, changed identities and clever ruses switch the reader back and forth in a dizzying progression of plot moves. All are startling in their complexity, believability and consistency. Ultimately all is satisfyingly resolved with enough forensics and details to please hardened mystery and CSI fans.

The Vanished Man should appeal to readers of John Sandford’s Prey series, Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe, Ridley Pearson’s Sgt. Lou Boldt/Daphne Mathews series, Lehane’s Kenzie and Gennaro, and James Patterson’s Alex Cross.

Lincoln Rhyme series #5

Name: Linda Wentworth
Genre: Police procedural
Title: The Black Box
Author: Michael Connelly
Appeal Factors: Fast paced, dark environment, story line, compelling main character

Name: Anna M
Genre: Police Procedural
Title: The Secret Place
Author: Tana French
Appeal Factors: Character development, writing quality
Summary/Thoughts: In this 5th Dublin Murder Squad book, an ambitious cold case detective sees his shot at joining Murder when a teenage girl brings him new information about a case involving the death of a boy on the grounds of a prestigious girls’ boarding school. Explores themes of growing up and changing friendships through alternating detective POV and that of the girls from before the murder occurred. A mild magical element might interest fans of films like The Craft.

Name: Molly Moss
Genre: Police Procedural
Title: Cold Mourning: A Stonechild and Rouleau Mystery
Author: Brenda Chapman
Appeal Factors: strong female detective, gritty, compelling, Canada!
Summary/Thoughts: Officer Kala Stonechild moves south to Ottawa and joins specialized Ottawa crime unit lead by Detective Jacques Rouleau, just as the unit has to prove themselves or be dissolved. They investigate the case of a wealthy businessman who disappears a week before Christmas. Filled with an interesting back story and well developed secondary characters.