Friday, November 12, 2010

A Week of Mystery and Murder

I've praised, heartily and several times on this blog, Unjournaling, a fun writing prompt book by Dawn diPrince and Cheryl Miller Thurston. Every few weeks, I suggest to the kiddo to take a lookie through it to see if any prompt appeals to him and because it's just the kind of book to get him excited about writing, he gleefully agrees, often hiding his writing behind one hand so that I won't peek and then declaring that he's done and watching with eager anticipation to see what I think of it.

I'm reproducing his latest write-up here, errors and all, with his happy permission...can you tell that I'm raising a mystery-loving Anglo-phile?

From prompt 154:
Me: Hi!
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: Cheerio, old chap.
Me: So, what's this I hear about? Some book called "The Complete Sherlock Holmes"? Sounds quite exiciting!
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: Yes, it is. It's about a detective called Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick, Dr Watson.
Me: Yes, I know. I've actually read it. I'm from another time.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: What!
Me: Yes, it's true.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: Good joke, old chap.
Me: I'm telling you, it's true!
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: You cheeky little blighter! Anyway, I must be getting on. It's almost suppertime.
Me: Oh, all right. Bye!

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. HydeI love that ending...don't you? So...unaffected and abrupt. After being called a blighter too (whatever that is). And that bit about asking the man about his book and then saying he's read it is just so typical of the kiddo. Yes, I've sort of given up asking for drafts and edits and rewrites. I take whatever he gives gratefully. And am even enjoying it. :)

The FunSchoolers have been dabbling in darker deeds this week, oh yes...we've just read aloud The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and loved it, although I must admit certain bits got a little too descriptive and rambling for the both of us. But I still think the writing is absolutely exquisite and regret not reading this when I was younger; I regret allowing myself to have had only a misrepresented understanding of it through Hollywood productions. The kiddo, although he already knew what it was about from having heard of it mentioned in other books, was thankfully, less influenced by the movie versions.

The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New YorkAnother book that fueled his interest in mystery, poisons and forensics was The Poisoner's Handbook. It is subtitled 'Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York', so you get the idea. The boy loves poisons (even gave a presentation on the powers of cyanide and arsenic to a group of homeschoolers once) so finding this at one of our fave bookstores was a stroke of good luck for him. I have no idea if it is age appropriate as I haven't read it. He's already too deeply involved in such pursuits for me to censor them.

AlibiWe roped in the hubby as a reluctant accomplice and have been playing Alibi a lot these past couple of weeks. The game has mixed reviews on Amazon but we find it intriguing--after the initial learning curve required to use the clue sheet--because it really requires one to stay sharp.

As a reviewer mentions, it can feel quite unwieldly to hold all those cards so I wouldn't suggest this for a child with smaller hands unless accommodations are made for him/her. But if you have a mystery-addict, chances are the discomfort will be a tiny price to pay. 


  1. Alibi sounds like fun. I'm going to check it out.

  2. Suji, your listing of The Poisoner's Handbook reminds me of a book I'm just finishing. Others have raved about it, so you may have already read it: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley. Not for the younger set, I'd say, but *you* might enjoy it, Anglophile-mystery-lover that you are!

  3. You're right Christina! I enjoyed reading about Flavia's adventures very much...hoping to treat myself to the sequel soon. :)


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