Over at The Stone House, my Gladys Mitchell tribute site, I have posted a review and summary for the last title that remained unrepresented in the site's Bibliography section: the historical adventure for young adults called Outlaws of the Border, published in 1936 under Mitchell's pseudonym Stephen Hockaby. That means all 86 novels (66 of them in the Mrs. Bradley series) from the author are accounted for on the site.
To celebrate, I want to sponsor an interactive web project where everyone is invited to read and discuss Gladys Mitchell and one of her books. I am happy to announce the first Mitchell Mystery Reading Group month-long event. Here's how it will work:
Wed. November 7 will be dedicated to Chapters One ("Inconsiderate Behaviour of a Passenger to America") to Six ("Thursday")
Wed. November 14, Chapters Seven ("The Tale of a Head") to 12 ("The Inspector Has His Doubts")
Wed. November 21, Chapters 13 ("Margery Barnes") to 18 ("The Man in the Woods")
Wed. November 28, Chapters 19 ("The Skull") to 24 ("The Murderer")*
*we will have to tread lightly to minimize spoilers
I invite everyone -- seasoned Mrs. Bradley fans, new readers, and everybody in between -- to be a part of the discussion of this lively mystery tale. You can participate by sending your observations and comments via email by midnight the Monday prior to the blog post. I'm interested to hear and learn what struck you upon reading that specific section. What engaged you? Surprised you? Made you say, "That's not the way Christie would do it"? Plot, characters, pacing, tone, textual turns of phrase, themes and ideas that GM will continue in other books: all thoughts on all elements are welcome, in praise or in criticism.
As moderator, I will incorporate the received email replies into each week's post and offer the comments -- with editing, for flow -- as a way to connect themes and start a group conversation. Ideally, I am looking for a few lines to a few paragraphs of your thoughts, as space in the column will be limited. When sending me your observations through email, briefly tell me how you wish to be identified on the blog post: "Sarah" or "Sarah T." or "Sarah from UK" or whatever you choose. (And if you run a blog with a mystery/literary theme or content, let me know that too and include a link!) Readers are also welcome to continue the book discussion through the blog's reply function if they wish.
And if you prefer to use this Mitchell Mystery Reading Group event to read (or reread) The Mystery of a Butcher's Shop and choose not to send comments, that's fine too. But the more the merrier, and I'm excited to communicate with readers as we explore the strange goings-on in the village of Wandles Parva, in tandem with that unique elderly detective Mrs. Beatrice Lestrange Bradley and her ingenious creator Gladys Mitchell.