The Whiskey Mattimoe Mysteries

humorous whodunnits by Nina Wright . . . starring a Michigan realtor and her felonious Afghan hound

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Book Club Questions Now Available

My publisher, Midnight Ink, has posted Book Club Discussion Questions for all three Whiskey Mattimoe mysteries. Just click
here and then choose the book you wish to discuss. The questions will pop up in a convenient PDF file.

Or, if you prefer, I've got your questions right here! Scroll down this page for Discussion Starters for the book you're reading next. And remember, the fourth humorous mystery, Whiskey and Water, will be out next spring.

As alwa
ys, thanks for reading and talking about Whiskey!

Book Club Questions for Whiskey on the Rocks
the first Whiskey Mattimoe mystery

1. Explain Whiskey Mattimoe’s “survivor guilt” and illustrate how it haunts her.
2. Each of the following characters draws out specific qualities in Whiskey’s own personality. Discuss: Odette Mutombo; Noonan Starr; Chester; Avery Mattimoe; Cassina; Judy “Jenx” Jenkins; Edward Santy; Wells Verbelow.
3. Explain Cassina’s “mystique.” How does it compare or contrast with her actual personality?
4. What is the appeal of the Seven Suns of Solace? Why does Whiskey shun it?
5. Given that a dog can be a man’s best friend, what is Whiskey’s problem with her dog?
6. How would you describe the town of Magnet Springs and its inhabitants?
7. Characterize Gil Gruen, using three of his own quotations or actions to support your case.
8. Would this book appeal more to dog-lovers or to people who don’t want to own a dog? Discuss.
9. Name two characters whom Whiskey cannot abide. Illustrate and explain her reactions to them.
10. Who is Balboa, and what is her role in the story?
11. Explain the significance of Whiskey’s dream in Chapter 16.
12. Specifically, how does Jane VanDam’s arrival complicate Whiskey’s life?
13. Who is Pashtoon, and what is her story?
14. Explain Mooney’s “pedigree” and how it qualifies him for his work.
15. How does a photo of Ipinima Beach affect events in this story?
16. Who are the Schlegels, and how do they contribute to the resolution?
17. Make two columns, one for Whiskey’s assets, the other for her liabilities. Which list is longer and/or more persuasive?
18. Explain Noonan’s role in the death of Dan Gallagher. Should she have stepped forward earlier? Why didn’t she?
19. Describe the tone of this novel and find your favorite passages to support your point.
20. Discuss what each of the following characters wants most: Whiskey Mattimoe; Noonan Starr; Chester; Avery Mattimoe; Cassina; Judy “Jenx” Jenkins; Odette Mutombo; Gil Gruen; Ricardo Anuncio; Ellianna Santy; Darrin Keogh; Marilee Gallagher.

Book Club Questions for Whiskey Straight Up
the second Whiskey Mattimoe Mystery

1) Against her own judgment, Whiskey hires Roy Vickers. What are the factors that drive her to do so? Do you believe people are likely to regret or resent decisions made against their own judgment? Why?

2) What do we know—and what can we predict—regarding Whiskey’s first husband, Jeb Halloran? Specifically how is he different from Whiskey’s late second husband, Leo?

3) How and why does Gil Gruen consistently attempt to humiliate Whiskey?

4) What is it about Leo that motivates Whiskey to do a number of things she wouldn’t choose to do otherwise, including provide room and board for Avery and twins? Why does Whiskey handle Avery so poorly?

5) Whiskey calls Deely Smarr “the Coast Guard nanny.” What exactly qualifies Deely for her new job?

6) What’s the story behind Fleggers and the Animal Ambulance? How are Fleggers both an advantage and an annoyance to Whiskey?

7) What is The System? Compare what you know about it to dogstrainyou-dot-com. What is your personal experience with animal-training “systems”?

8) What is your first impression of C. Richards, R.N.?

9) At what point does Chester’s absence become truly alarming?

10) What is most distressing about Brady’s find at Iberville?

11) When Deely reveals that she and the dogs found a body in the snowy night woods outside Vestige, whose corpse did you think it was? Why?

12) Why were Leah and Leo kidnapped? Does the kidnapper’s reason for the double kidnapping make her more or less sympathetic? Explain.

13) Is it fair to call Whiskey a “reluctant” heroine? Why or why not?

14) The title Whiskey Straight Up alludes not only to Whiskey’s helicopter ride but also to her efforts to do the right thing. How is this theme manifested in the book? What other characters are also “straight up”?

Book Club Questions for Whiskey and Tonic
the third Whiskey Mattimoe Mystery

1) Explain the oddities of the historic Miss Blossom pageant and why the town continues the tradition.

2) Specifically how does Whiskey end up taking care of a teen-ager with a curse on her head?

3) Analyze Whiskey’s consistent inability to keep track of kids and dogs. Why is she called upon to do both when her record is frankly abysmal?

4) Name all the canine characters appearing in this mystery and the role of each. How are the dogs like or unlike stereotypes of their breeds?

5) Why is Whiskey encouraged to do unofficial police work?

6) How capable are the professional law officers in Magnet Springs? Be specific.

7) Bleak sentimentalism was a hallmark of the Victorian era. How does that tradition shape events in this story?

8) The fact that Whiskey’s house could be overrun by stray cats is attributable to what element of her personality? In other words, how does she get into situations like that? And how does she resolve them? Does she learn anything in the process?

9) Compare and contrast Faye, Deely, and Avery.

10) Who is Whiskey’s foremost ally in this story? Explain your choice.

11) Did Nash’s revelations to Whiskey surprise you or confirm what you felt you already knew about him? Explain.

12) In your opinion, what was the most suspenseful scene at Winimar? What was the most shocking? Explain.

13) Tammi LePadanni is the Stage Mother from Hell, among other things. Have you ever heard of, or had to deal personally with, a super-competitive parent who caused problems for other people’s children? What was the real-life situation and outcome?

14) Fenton Flagg’s early book contends that people’s perceptions shape their world more than any other force can. Agree or disagree? How does that connect to this mystery?

15) Which characters in Whiskey and Tonic turn out to be most different from your initial impression of them and why?