- Welcome! I am a mystery enthusiast and pleased to serve as your host for this challenge. Here is my personal web page and my Mystillery blog. You can email me at email@example.com - Rick Mills
- No advance signup necessary.
- Read a murder mystery. Note the number of named victims.
- Submit one Death Certificate per book, indicating the number of victim(s). Any death (accidental, natural causes, homicide, suicide) counts, as long as the person is significant enough to be named in the book.
- Please note there is a checkbox at the bottom of the Death Certificate form which, if checked, will simultaneously submit your entry to the Six Shooter Challenge, and save you typing everything all over again.
- The challenge does not update in real time. Your submission generates an email to me, then I post it. Generally, you should see your submission posted within 24 hours. Some days the pages are updated frequently. If you do not see your submission, click the REFRESH button on your web browser to load the latest version.
- This challenge is open January 1 to December 31 2023.
- Genres: You get to decide what is a 'mystery'. Traditional murder mysteries, thrillers, police procedurals, romances, true crime, short stories are all welcome.
- Formats: Print books, audio books, radio dramatizations, or e-books may be used.
- You get one Toe Tag per victim. What counts? If the person is significant enough to be given a name (more about that below), then it counts.
- Reviews: Writing reviews is optional. If you supply a link to your blog or Goodreads review, the title of your submission will link to it.
- Bloggers are welcome to copy any image that catches your fancy for your blog.
- Short Stories are welcome in all Mystillery challenges. Short Stories may be submitted individually, regardless of length; or in one submission if it is a collection (The toe tag total is the same either way).
- Omnibus (multiple full length stories bound in one book): Stories may be submitted individually, regardless of length, or all in one submission if you prefer (The toe tag total is the same either way).
- Honorary badges are conferred to autopsy leaders as follows. Fame is fleeting: an examiner holds a badge until someone else qualifies for it, with a minimum of ten days. The date of award is noted on the challenge page, e.g. "@2/10"
- Gold Gurney Most Toe Tags Tied
- Silver Scalpel Most Books Read
- Bronze Body Bag Most Authors Read
- Garnet Gloves Most recent 50th Toe Tag
- Lavender Lab Coat Most recent 100th Toe Tag
- Fuchsia Forceps Most recent 200th Toe Tag
- Brass Bone Saw Most recent 300th Toe Tag
- Scarlet Sponge Most recent 400th Toe Tag
- Magenta Magnifier Most recent 500th Toe Tag
- Kilotag for doing your share of the heavy lifting is awarded when you reach 1000 toe tags. This award does not expire.
- Poaching is allowed! Sometimes it is hard to keep track of deaths - particularly when listening to audiobooks. Feel free to poach - that is, put your title in the search box and see if another examiner has already submitted that title. Then just "poach" their death count for your own Death Certificate. We're all in this morgue together!
- DNF (Did Not Finish): If you bail out midway through a book, you may count the deaths which occured up to that point.
About those names:
- Why do we need a name when you don't ask for it on the Death Certificate? This is just a rule-of-thumb to see if the character is significant to the story. We don't want someone to reference, say, an airplane crash and claim 200 deaths. Names are not reported on the Death Certificate, as it is a summary of the deaths in the story, and some stories have lots of deaths. The challenge should be fun and not a record-keeping burden.
- Does it have to be their full name? Can just a first or last name work? Either a first name or a last name is sufficient. That is enough to identify them throughout the story.
- Do only murders count? - No, that would lead to layoffs in the M.E. office. Anyone who winds up in the morgue gets a toe tag.
- What about past deaths? Many times past deaths are mentioned in a story. As long as the person is named, you can count it.
- Can we presume a death? If a person is mentioned in a story, and you can figure the person would now (at the time of the story) be more than 100 years old, you can safely assume the person is dead - even if that fact is not explicitly stated. This could happen, for example, if a character is referring to ancestors, historical figures, or reading names off some historical document. As long as the person is named, you can count it.
- Can we count an animal who is named and dies? Yes, it gives the M.E.s something to do on slow days!
- Same deaths, different book: I will call this “series deaths”. I read The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman (#1 in the series) and recorded the deaths as usual. Now in The Man Who Died Twice (#2 in the series), the characters are discussing the characters who died in the first book! These poor folks can be counted (again) since their death mentions have returned in a different book.
Get your toe tag here:
- Participants in this challenge may get their own real morgue toe tag, complete with flirty string, perfect to use as a bookmark or make a point by attaching to people who interrupt your reading. Just send your mailing address to your host.
- 2019 Medical Examiner's Reading Challenge
- 2020 Medical Examiner's Reading Challenge
- 2021 Medical Examiner's Reading Challenge
- 2022 Medical Examiner's Reading Challenge
- The title/author search engine function is only indexed on the first day of each month. Any submissions you make cannot be found by the search engine until the next first day of the next month passes.
- The search engine is provided free by a third-party service, in exchange for displaying a banner ad on the results page. The content of the banner ad is determined by the provider, not by your host.
- While we use this search engine as a title/author search, it actually searches every word on this site; so you can use other terms or names as well.
Goodreads Discussion Group:
- If you are on Goodreads, you may wish to join the Mystillery discussion group, which is a companion to the challenges. There is a separate discussion group for each Mystillery challenge, an Announcement board, and a virtual coffee shop. A shortcut icon appears at the top right of each challenge home page.
Private Messaging:If you wish to contact another challenger, first try the Goodreads message system:
- Click on the Goodreads icon on the challenger's line on the main page. This brings you to their Goodreads profile.
- Click the MORE button (with the down arrow)
- Click MESSAGE. This - hopefully - brings up a message form. Just fill it out!
- If the challenger does not have Goodreads, or is not accepting Goodreads messages, send an email to me (firstname.lastname@example.org) indicating who you wish to message. I will inquire of that challenger if they wish to message with you.
- Your name: You can choose how you wish your name to appear. If you wish to change it, just let me know.
- Your preferred pronouns will be honored if provided.
- Your image: You can choose your icon image. Initially, this is set to a publicly available image if I can find one (Google account, Goodreads profile, etc.) If you do not wish your image to appear, a generic icon may be used. Just email it to me. Keep in mind they are tiny (50 px wide).
- Your location is optional.
- Your email address is never posted, and is not shared with other challengers unless you specifically allow.
Back to the challenge page Revised Nov 28 2023