Mystillery Newsletter #11 - July 2021

From The Mystillery

ANNOYING FORM BUG FIXED: Just fixed a bug in the submission forms. The "email address" field is intended for first-time challengers, so I have it on file. Once you are in the challenge, I know who you are and you need not put anything in that field. However, I just realized it was coded as a "Required Field", forcing you to complete it against your will. So I un-required it. If you have been in any Mystillery challenge before, you can leave it blank now and save yourself some typing. Sorry I have been forcing you to fill it in every time! RM

Medical Examiner news

FINDING MISSED STATS: If you have completed a book and forgot to note down the stats or lost them, what to do? Here is where your fellow examiners can help you out. Put your book title in the search box on the challenge page (at the top of the table, where it says Who Else Has Examined My Book? and see if another examiner has submitted it already. The search looks back through all three years of the challenge. Then you can go to their clipboard and retrieve the stats they submitted for that book. It is not unethical. Avid Series Reader points out this is also a handy way to find a title to fulfill the "stolen base" requirement (where you read a book someone else already read) in the Abra Cadavers.

NON-EXISTENT PEOPLE: OutsmartYourShelf writes: Would you count the following? A book I have read has deaths happen in the course of the book but the final twist is that the people never actually existed. I suppose that means they wouldn't go through the morgue? The Chief M.E. says we may accept these deaths and report them in the usual manner. All deaths in detective fiction (as opposed to True Crime) occur to people who do not really exist anyway, and in this case the only difference is that the author has admitted it! :-)

HONORARY BADGES are now conferred to autopsy leaders as follows:

SEARCH ENGINE UPDATED: The search engine had its monthly update this morning (July 1), so your submissions through June 30 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.

PUNCTUATION MATTERS: Tracy submitted to the challenge Local Woman Missing: A Novel by Mary Kubica. Goodreads managed to move the colon and completely change the meaning of the title.... now it is Local: Woman Missing A Novel. It is so annoying to lose a novel, especially when you are in the middle of it. If you see her novel lying around anywhere, please return it to her.

Six Shooter news

WHAT IS A TCP, ANYWAY? TCP is Target Completion Percentage. This is similar to a baseball batting average, in that a perfect TCP is 1.000. Here is how it works:

BONUS POINTS REAPING DIVIDENDS: Bonus points were added to the challenge this year to address a quirk that showed up last year. Under the old scoring system, a person could read [only] six books by one author, and stop cold; having gained a perfect 1.000 score; and rest on their laurels while everyone else shot their targets all to pieces all year. This year, bonus points are provided for every target completed beyond the first one, directly adding 0.100 per completed target. Thus, completing your second target gets you 0.100 bonus points, completing your third target gets you 0.200 bonus points, and so on. This has made the score more indicative of total effort, and caused lots of exciting movement up (and down) the Reader Board.

EFFICIENCY COUNTS: Unlike many reading challenges, just reading more books may not necessarily help your score. Scores are not based upon quantity, but rather efficient shooting in reaching your target(s). Every shot that completes a target increases your score, but every shot that does not complete a target actually decreases it!

LOOK FOR THE YELLOW LINING: The fastest way to gain a notch, and up your score is to plug away at any target which is highlighted yellow (indicating you only need one more shot at that target to carve a notch).

EMPTY TARGETS AVAILABLE: You may find it helpful to set up empty targets as you plan your reading. An empty target (with no books read) has no effect on your score. To set one up, you can just submit the form listing the author, leaving the title blank. Or if you have a bunch just send them to your host in an email.

NEW NOTCHES CARVED IN JUNE:

C0NTENTH0MEB0DY, who carves notch #5 with author Kevin O'Brien, notch #6 with James Patterson, and notch #7 with Jonathon King

Bev Hankins of Indiana, who carves her third notch with author C. S. Harris

Tina Hilbert, who scores her fifth notch with author Bobbi Holmes and the Haunting Danielle series, and her sixth notch with author Lisa Jewell!

C0NTENTH0MEB0DY gains her fourth notch with author David Baldacci!

Sanacrow of Tennessee scored 5 additional notches with a big upload of her shooting history all at once, all with author J. D. Robb (Nora Roberts)!

SueC of Utah scores notch #6 with author C. S. Harris and notch #7 with author Alexander McCall Smith !

BECOME A SHARPSHOOTER: The sharpshooter badge Sharpshooter Badge is awarded for achieving a score of 1.000 or greater. To achieve that score, you must carve at least one notch in your gun. The All-Compassionate Host has ruled that once the coveted Sharpshooter Badge is earned, it shall remain in effect for the remainder of the Challenge Year, even if subsequent submissions cause the Score to fall below the 1.000 threshold. This is in keeping with the concept that the Badge is an honor, and thus cannot be taken away by Subsequent Events, no matter how dismal.

NEW SHARPSHOOTERS IN JUNE:

sharpshooter badge C0NTENTH0MEB0DY

sharpshooter badge Bev Hankins

sharpshooter badge Tina Hilbert

Beachcomber news

Congrats to Sanacrow of Tennessee for filling all beach bags and completing the challenge!

Coming in 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 Sanacrow of Tennessee! She has read all ten decades and joins us as member #5!

It seems like the 1920's decade is the most difficult to find - those books are pushing 100 years old! 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:

Remember, ALL past reading counts for this challenge - no matter when you read it! Check your bookshelves!

Abra Cadavers news

FINDING THAT STOLEN BASE: One of the requirements in the game is to read a book someone else already submitted to the challenges. But how do you find out? Avid Series Reader points out this method. Put your book title in the search box on the Medical Examiner challenge page (at the top of the table, where it says Who Else Has Examined My Book? and see if another examiner has read it already. Or just browse the Medical Examiner clipboards.

Welcome to our newest player! OutsmartYourShelf of the United Kingdom is on the field!

Congrats to our newest all star! SueC of Utah touches all the bases!

Reading since January 1 all qualifies! Check your Medical Examiner clipboard to review all your 2021 titles!

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!

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