Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge 2013: Scattergories

***UPDATE: Review Copy Offer for Vintage Mystery Challenge Participants!  Bello (an UK imprint of Pan Macmillan) has offered up review copies.  Please my post-- Attention Vintage Mystery Challengers -- for details.

Once again it's time to start thinking about Reading Challenges for the new year.  And once again I will be sponsoring the Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge.  This year I'm offering a bit of a smorgasbord with a theme of "Scattergories."  You will see listed below a set of Vintage Categories.  Your mission, should you wish to accept it, will be to fulfill at least 8 of the categories.  Feel free to get creative with the categories--if you can make a book fit the category and sell the fit in your review/comment, then it's in.  

General Rules:

*All novels must have been originally written before 1960 and be from the mystery category (crime fiction, detective fiction, espionage, etc.).  Short story collections (whether published pre-1960 or not) are permissible provided all of the stories included in the collection were originally written pre-1960.  Please remember that some of our Vintage authors wrote well after 1959--so keep an eye on the original publish date

*Each book may count for only one category.

*I am open to additional category suggestions.  Please email me (phryne1969 AT gmail DOT com) with your suggestions.  Once I decide to add a category and it shows up on the list below, then it will be fair game for challenge completion.  Category suggestions will be considered through January 31.

*You are welcome to count these books towards any other challenges as well.

*Challenge runs from January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2013. Sign up any time between now and November 30, 2013.  Any books read from January 1 on may count regardless of your sign-up date.
If you have a blog, please post about the challenge and your theme commitment. Then sign up via one of the linkys below. And please make the url link to your Challenge post and not your home page. (Links that do not follow this rule will be removed.)  Please use the appropriate linky for the mini-challenge.

*I would love to see reviews of your challenge books, but it is not necessary to participate. If you do not have a blog, post to the comments what your challenge commitment will be and then post again at the progress site (see below) when you have completed your challenge (include a list of books read).  If you don't review and you've gotten creative with the categories (i.e. it's not obvious how a certain book fits a category), then please give a brief explanation when you post your completion comment.

*Everyone who completes the 8 book minimum will be entered for a prize drawing at the end of the year. Anyone who completes 16 or more books will automatically receive their choice from a prize list. 

*Once you have met the 8 book minimum, you may repeat any category (except the last one) any number of times to reach the 16+ level.

*Progress and Reviews should be posted HERE (click link).

Mini-Challenge Level--for those who would like to participate at a lower commitment. Choose any 4 categories for a commitment of 4 books. Challengers who complete this level will be eligible for a separate year-end prize drawing.

Vintage Categories:

1. Colorful Crime: a book with a color or reference to color in the title
2. Murder by the Numbers: a book with a number, quantity in the title
3. Amateur Night: a book with a "detective" who is not a P.I.; Police Officer; Official Investigator (Nurse Keate, Father Brown, Miss Marple, etc.)
4. Leave It to the Professionals: a book featuring cops, private eyes, secret service, professional spies, etc.
5. Jolly Old England: one mystery set in Britain

6. Yankee Doodle Dandy: one mystery set in the United States
7. World Traveler: one mystery set in any country except the US or Britain
8. Dangerous Beasts: a book with an animal in the title (The Case of the Grinning Gorilla; The Canary Murder Case; etc.)

9. A Calendar of Crime: a mystery with a date/holiday/year/month/etc. in the title (Hercule Poirot's Christmas, Holiday Homicide, etc.)
10. Wicked Women: a book with a woman in the title--either by name (Mrs. McGinty's Dead) or by reference (The Case of the Vagabound Virgin)
11. Malicious Men: a book with a man in the title--either by name (Maigret & the Yellow Dog) or by reference (The Case of the Haunted Husband)
12. Murderous Methods : a book with a means of death in the title (The Noose, 5 Bullets, Deadly Nightshade, etc).

13. Staging the Crime: a mystery set in the entertainment world (the theater, musical event, a pageant, Hollywood, featuring a magician, etc)
14. Scene of the Crime: a book with the location of the crime in the title (The Body in the Library, Murder at the Vicarage, etc.)
15. Cops & Robbers: a book that features a theft rather than murder 
16. Locked Rooms: a locked-room mystery
17. Country House Criminals: a standard (or not-so-standard) Golden Age country house murder
18. Murder on the High Seas: a mystery involving water 
19. Planes, Trains & Automobiles: a mystery that involves a mode of transportation in a vital way--explicitly in the title (Murder on the Orient Express) or by implication (Death in the Air; Death Under Sail) or perhaps the victim was shoved under a bus....
20. Murder Is Academic: a mystery involving a scholar, teacher, librarian, etc.  OR set at a school, university, library, etc.
21. Things That Go Bump in the Night: a mystery with something spooky, creepy, gothic in the title (The Skeleton in the Clock, Haunted Lady, The Bat, etc.)
22. Repeat Offenders: a mystery featuring your favorite series detective or by your favorite author (the books/authors you'd read over and over again) OR reread an old favorite
23. The Butler Did It...Or Not: a mystery where the butler is the victim, the sleuth....(gasp) the criminal....or is just downright memorable for whatever reason. 
24. A Mystery By Any Other Name: any book that has been published under more than one title (Murder Is Easy--aka Easy to Kill [Christie]; Fog of Doubt--aka London Particular [Christianna Brand], etc.)
25. Dynamic Duos: a mystery featuring a detective team--Holmes & Watson, Pam & Jerry North, Wolfe & Goodwin, or....a little-known team that you introduce to us.
26. Size Matters: a book with a size or measurement in the title (Death Has a Small Voice, The Big Four, The Weight of the Evidence, etc.)
27. Psychic Phenomena: a mystery featuring a seance, medium, hypnotism, or other psychic or "supernatural" characters/events
28. Book to Movie: one vintage mystery that has appeared on screen (feature film or TV movie).
29. The Old Bailey: a courtroom drama mystery (Perry Mason, anyone? Witness for the Prosecution...etc.) OR a mystery featuring a judge, lawyer, barrister, D.A., etc.

Additional Categories (thanks to JC from Wollamshram)
30. Serial Killers: Books that were originally published in serial format, probably from the pulp era.  Frank Packard's works come to mind.
31. Killed in Translation: Works that originally appeared in another language and have been made available in English (works published in English post-1960 would be acceptable, provided the original was published pre-1960).  Georges Simeon's works come to mind. OR If your native language is not English, then works that originally appeared in English and have been made available in your native language (same dating rules apply).
32.  Blondes in Danger:  A variation on "Colorful Crime".  Books that feature a blonde in the title role, like The Blonde Died First, or Blonde for Danger.
33. International Detectives.  A variation on "World Traveler" but instead of the crime being set in another country, the detective is not from the US or UK.   This may include Hercule Poirot as well as such notables as Judge Dee,
34. Somebody Else's Crime:  Read one book that someone else has already reviewed for the Vintage Mystery Challenge. 
35. Genuine Fakes: Authors who wrote under a pseudonym (Josephine Tey [Elizabeth Mackintosh]; Nicholas Blake [Cecil Day Lews]; etc)

36. Hobbies Can Be Murder: A mystery that involves a hobby in some way: stamp or coin collecting; knitting (a la Patricia Wentworth's Miss Silver); bird watching; hunting (particularly the British hunt); scrapbooks; etc.  [thanks to S from Snaps and Snippets for the idea]

37. Get Out of Jail Free: This is a freebie category.  One per customer.  You tell me what special category the book fits ("It's got an awesome cover!"..."First book I grabbed off my shelf") and it counts.  Only thing I won't take is "It's a Vintage Mystery!"--that's a given. :-)


neer said...

Ooh la la. It is back and with more interessting features. (Quick dance)

Will soon do a sign-up post.

Thanks for hosting it once again.

Bev Hankins said...

Oh, yeah! I'm ready to start. Darn...over a month and a half to go.

Ryan said...

I'll be back to sign up after I've finished this years!

J F Norris said...

I was rather ambitious this year and I only managed to complete one of the three lists of eight I thought I'd do. But of course I'm signing up again!

Please tell me the name of the book from which you took the DJ illustration for next year's logo. I know it's a Boardman edition of something, I can see the Bloodhound logo at the lower left. But I haven't a clue which book. Maybe something by Wiliam Campbell Gault?

Jean said...

Hm, very tempting...I just discovered that Christianna Brand wrote mysteries! (From here, maybe?) I only knew her as Nurse Matilda and cousin of my favorite illustrator, Edward Ardizzone.

Bev Hankins said...

Jump in Jean! The water's fine. :-)

TracyK said...

Oh my gosh. I am very excited. Off to compose a post to join the 2013 challenge. The categories sound great.

Book Dragon said...

Wow, this took some time setting up! I don't usually read the older mysteries so I've got to think a bit more.

TracyK said...

I have signed up now. This will be fun. I still have two to review and one more to read and review for the 2012 challenge.

Landslide said...

Yay! Love the Scattergories, Bev!
Looking forward to start reading and trying to fit my books in the categories.

Darlene said...

Bev, your categories are awesome! It would be so cool to try to do them ALL, LOL!

I have never read a Vintage Mystery, and I so appreciate the Mini-Challenge option so that I can try them out!

Thanks for hosting!

Darlene said...

Bev, thanks for fixing my link-up. I didn't realize that there was a separate linky for the mini-challenge.

Bev Hankins said...

No problem, Darlene. I'll have two prize drawings and wanted to keep things organized.

Jane said...

Looks like fun!

carol said...

I'm in this year. I'll link up my most as soon as I write it.

Susanne said...

I'm working on my post now - the only other category that I could think of would be "Hobby Lobby" mysteries featuring a hobby. Mine would be about scrapbooking, if I can find any tales that were published pre-1960. There are several series now that are too new to qualify.

Bev Hankins said...

S: I'm not sure how many vintage mysteries one could find that feature a hobby--at least not in the way recent series do it. You might find a character who was a stamp/coin collector or a knitter (Miss Silver by Patricia Wentworth, for instance)....But I can't think of a single one with scrapbooking--or even where a scrapbook plays an integral part. But--I'm willing to consider the Hobby category (I think I'll call it Hobbies Can Be Murder just to keep it crime-like) and I'll put out a call to some of my fellow bloggers who know WAY more about vintage mysteries than I do and see if we can find one with scrapbooking for you. :-)

Michelle Stockard Miller said...

Newbie here...to the challenge and to the genre. I have read a few Agatha Christie novels, but that's it. Ready to dip my toe in! Thanks for hosting again!

Donna said...

I wrote my sign-up blog post a month ago, but forgot to post it. I'll have a review up soon.

Bev Hankins said...

Donna: Ahhh. That's why I didn't see it. I was worried that I'd missed welcoming you to the challenge. :-)

Mic said...

I started to collect older mystery novels a few years ago at antique stores, small indep book stores and the like. I can't wait to dig through them and see if the ones I haven't read fit any categories. I would like to try for 16 books read. Thanks, 2013 is starting to look up.

Bev Hankins said...

Welcome Mic! Glad to have you join us!

Darrell said...

Signing up for 21!

Anonymous said...

I'd like to sign up and try to read 16 books. This challenge looks very interesting and it might help me to read more. Anyways, thanks for hosting this challenge. I will write a sign-up post on my blog shortly.

Pikkon (Lay on the Crime Scene)

Donna said...

Bev, I've tried to post my sign-up blog post several times, but it doesn't seem to go through. Today I got the message that I was already linked, but my post doesn't show up on your list. Perhaps you can help.


Donna @ ScrambledBooks.com

dkioppolo at gmail dot com

Marj said...

I just found out about this challenge! It is definitely the one for me, I love vintage mysteries! Thanks for hosting this challenge!

Gypsi said...

Just stumbled on this challenge--right down my alley! Do audio books count toward the challenge or do they have to be visually read?

Gary McDole said...

I hope the other participants reading this can excuse me for coming late to the party (five days before the deadline).

I’ll admit to having read about the contest a few months ago, but I was reluctant to sign up, since I don’t have a blog and didn’t think I could commit to keeping up with posting comments each time I finished a book.

However, I’ve read quite a few vintage/Golden Age mysteries this year, even more than usual. Some were very good, some very obscure, some both. It would be fun to share short (sometimes very short) comments about the books and perhaps introduce some people to writers as little-known (I assume) as M.M. Mannon, Susannah Shane, H.C. Branson, and Margerie Bonner.

I keep a computer list of all the books I read, so it was easy for me to separate out the Vintage mysteries from the others. I’m in the process of matching as many of them as I can (retroactively) to the categories in the contest. I’ve checked with Bev, and she said it would be permissible for me to sign up here and then at some point in December (once I’ve completed a list of books read, categories they fall under, and brief reviews), post a link in the wrap-up section to a page I’ll place on my seldom-used web site that would contain all the information.

I already have short (one- to three-sentence) reviews I made for myself as I finished reading a book, and I hope to slightly (possibly more than slightly in some cases) expand most of these for the final wrap up document.

It turns out I’ve read 22 Vintage mysteries this year, and I think I can fit most or all of them into one category or another. I apologize to those who took the more disciplined approach of determining books and categories in advance and posting on their blogs as they went along.

Bev Hankins said...

Gary: So glad to have you plunging in (even at the last minute). Can't wait to see your list and, yes, you are tempting me with those little-known names you've dangled in front of us. I'm betting you haven't stumped John from Pretty Sinister Books though.

Hope you'll consider joining us for the 2014 version of the challenge (see my sidebar for the link--just click on the picture). You are welcome to post a comment saying you're in for Bingo. Feel free to print the Bingo cards and then let us know on the review/wrap-up site (coming soon) what bingos you make.