Mystillery Newsletter #10 - June 2021

From The Mystillery

Kathy & I are just back from a little trip up the rails. We take the train up to Brunswick ME periodically, a great little town which happens to have three, yes three, used bookstores within walking distance of the Amtrak station. Here are some pics!

Brunswick, Maine is about 90 minutes by rail. We had our lunch in the dining car so we were ready to hit the bookstores.

First stop! This is "Twice Told Tales", a Friends of the Library store. That reference is to a work by Nathaniel Hawthorne who attended Bowdoin College here. (I say it would be better named Twice Sold Tales, get it?). This is where I found all my Dorothy Sayers and lots of other goodies.

Inside Twice Told Tales. If they have too many of a certain author to shelve, they stick a little note on the shelf to let you know, then you can go to the secret storage room to peruse the overstocks.

This place is called Bull Moose, and is billed as a music and movie store, but savvy book lovers know they also have a huge used book section which is unadvertised!

This rather disorganized place is called Gulf of Maine. This pic is from their web site.

Your host has found yet another "new" author: Mary Plum. I could not find out anything of a biographical nature. Her series detective is John Smith, whom she says uses a "plain name" so he can better blend in. She wrote seven mysteries (so you can satisfy the Six Shooter with one to spare)!

In the Mystillery Lab

Light a candle, come down the basement stairs, and knock on the heavy steel door with the well-oiled hinges. We'll open it for you (there is no doorknob on the outside). You're in the Mystillery Lab!

Let's jazz up your Goodreads reviews! Tired of a plain looking Goodreads review? You can liven it up. Here is how to add bold and italic styles, and add links to other pages - such as your blog. All you need are a pair of tags. The table below shows how to make them.

You will add two tags to the word(s) that you wish to style. A tag is a bit of code enclosed in less than < and greater than > symbols. Tags are always used in pairs, to surround the text you wish to modify.

To add this You need these tags So type this into your review Result
bold style <b> </b> My favorite is <b> Sherlock Holmes. </b> My favorite is Sherlock Holmes.
italic style <i> </i> My favorite is <i> Sherlock Holmes. </i> My favorite is Sherlock Holmes.
link <a href=" "> </a> Read more about <a href=""> Sherlock Holmes. </a> Read more about Sherlock Holmes.

Medical Examiner news

Examiners may now earn honorary badges as follows: Your host has just discovered that Goodreads can sort titles contained within a series. Links will now be added going forward to the SERIES column on the clipboards, which will link to the Goodreads sort for that particular series.

Search updated: The search engine had its monthly update this morning (June 1), so your submissions through May 31 can now be found by it. This searches submissions to all Mystillery challenges, but it is only available from the Medical Examiner challenge page. See "Who else examined my book?" at the top of the table.

Six Shooter news

Gunslingers who achieve a score of 1.000 or better are now given the SHARPSHOOTER badge on the challenge page! 1.000 is a perfect score, which can be achieved by reading six books by one author (only), twelve books by two authors (only), etc. Some achieve scores higher than 1.000 by earning bonus points for additional notches past the first one.

This will be of interest if 2021 is your first year in the Six Shooter Challenge: Since it may take over a year's span to read six books by one author, the challenge rolls over each year. The rolled-over titles from 2020 are shown highlighted in grey on the challenge page. Each January 1, completed targets are removed, but partially-completed targets carry forward. So if you have any other readings done in 2020 that you wish to count towards a target, you can still enter them retroactively!

New Notches during May!

Tina Hilbert of Utah carves four notches, for authors Ransom Riggs, David Baldacci, and Janet Evanovich!

SueC of Utah carves Notch #5, for author Laurie R. King!

Jjean of Missouri carves Notch #2, for author David Baldacci, and Notch #3 for author Agatha Christie!

Traci L of Illinois carves Notch #1, for author V M Burns!

C0NTENTH0MEB0DY carves Notch #3, for author James Patterson!

Beachcomber news

Tina Hilbert of Utah fills her second beach bag full of Detectives!

Bev Hankins of Indiana fills her Weapons beach bag and completes the challenge!

Coming for 2022? The problem with the scavenger hunt format has been selecting items which are achievable yet not too common, and avoiding the bias of loading up the cards with Golden Age or Cozy items that are hard to find in other eras. This was addressed on the Detectives and Victims cards by just replacing the scavenger hunt items with letters of the alphabet. This has been very successful, and the other cards (Weapons and Crime Scenes) still languish behind for many. So the idea for 2022 will be to have all four cards use the letter of the alphabet system. For example, on the Weapons card, if your weapon is a KNIFE, you can use that for K, N, I, F, or E. Likewise, on Crime Scenes, a YACHT will get you Y, A, C, H, or T. This should get you more flexibility, too: instead of "gun" you can use other words the author uses to describe it, such as handgun, shotgun, rifle, pistol, bullet, automatic, revolver (that hard-to-find-V!). This also allows us to add a grid format sheet for tracking, rather than individual cards.

Century Club news

Welcome to the table, Jjean of Missouri, who has become full member #4 by reading a mystery from all ten decades!

Here is an easy way to sort your Goodreads books by publication year, making it easy to identify books you have already read that qualify for this challenge! Read How to sort your Goodreads books by publication date.

It seems like the 1920's decade is the most difficult to find. So here are some 1920's mysteries available free from Project Gutenberg. They are in the public domain in the USA. You can read them online or download to your Kindle:

Abra Cadavers news

The Abra Cadavers Baseball Game (not really a challenge) is open! Reading since January 1 all qualifies! Listen for the National Anthem and swing for the fences! We already have a number of players, three of whom (Bev "Slugger" Hankins, Tina Hilbert, and Jjean) have hit all the pitches to become All-stars!

Come October, when the Abra Cadavers team puts away the bats and balls for the season, The Mystillery plans to open a new off-season game to run alternately with Abra Cadavers, October to April. It is an indoor sport for those cold winter months. This means there will always be a game available year-round for all our challengers!

Back issues

Mignon G. Eberhart is not amused with this Goodreads recommendation.

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