2023 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

General Information

Your host:


  1. No advance signup necessary.
  2. Read a murder mystery. Note the number of named victims.
  3. 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.
  4. Ready?
  5. 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.
  6. 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.


  1. This challenge is open January 1 to December 31 2023.
  2. Genres: You get to decide what is a 'mystery'. Traditional murder mysteries, thrillers, police procedurals, romances, true crime, short stories are all welcome.
  3. Formats: Print books, audio books, radio dramatizations, or e-books may be used.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Bloggers are welcome to copy any image that catches your fancy for your blog.
  7. 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).
  8. 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).
  9. 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
  10. Kilotag for doing your share of the heavy lifting is awarded when you reach 1000 toe tags. This award does not expire.
  11. 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!
  12. 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:

Get your toe tag here:



Goodreads Discussion Group:

Private Messaging:

If you wish to contact another challenger, first try the Goodreads message system:
  1. Click on the Goodreads icon on the challenger's line on the main page. This brings you to their Goodreads profile.
  2. Click the MORE button (with the down arrow)
  3. Click MESSAGE. This - hopefully - brings up a message form. Just fill it out!
  4. If the challenger does not have Goodreads, or is not accepting Goodreads messages, send an email to me (rickmills9@gmail.com) indicating who you wish to message. I will inquire of that challenger if they wish to message with you.


Back to the challenge page • Revised Nov 28 2023