Sunday, October 18, 2020
Vintage Scattergories: Vintage Mystery Challenge 2021
2021 marks the ten-year anniversary of the Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge. I began the celebration this year with a Vintage Mystery Extravangaza which included a look back on all of the variations of the challenge over the years. In order to mark a decade of mystery challenging, I decided to go back to the early days and revive the Vintage Scattergories edition. Once again, I'm offering a bit of a smorgasbord with a huge selection of categories to choose from. Your mission, should you wish to accept it, will be to fulfill at least eight of the categories in a single vintage era and, as always, you are welcome to complete all categories and both eras if you would like. You are also welcome to be creative with the categories as long as you can make a good case for how your book fits.
~Challenge runs from January 1, 2021 through December 31st, 2021. Any books read January 1 or later may count regardless of sign-up date.
~To complete the challenge you must read at least eight books that fulfill eight of the categories listed. All eight books must be from a single vintage era (see descriptions below).
~All books must be from the mystery category (crime fiction, detective fictions, espionage, etc.). The mystery/crime must be the primary feature of the book--ghost stories, romance, humor, etc. are all welcome as ingredients, but must not overshadow the mystery element.
~Each book may count for only one category within the challenge--but you are welcome to use books read for this challenge for other challenges as well.
~For the purposes of the challenge, Golden Age mysteries must have been first published before 1960. Golden Age short story collections (whether published pre-1960 or not) are permissible provided all of the stories in the collection were originally written pre-1960. Please remember some of our Golden age authors wrote well after 1959--so keep an eye on the original publication date and count them appropriately. Silver Age mysteries may be first published from 1960-1989 (inclusive). Again, Silver Age short story collections published later than 1989 are permissible provided none of the stories are first published later than 1989. Yes, I admit my dates are arbitrary (and personal to me) and may not exactly meet standard definitions of Golden or Silver Age.
~If you have a blog please post about the challenge and a little about your commitment--if you're going for Silver or Gold...or perhaps both. Then sign up using the form below. Please use the url link for your challenge post and not your home page. Those without blogs may leave that blank or enter the url for a Goodreads or Library Thing list, etc.
~If all goes well, I plan to offer prizes. I hope to be able to sponsor a drawing among all successful participants as well as provide a prize to our most ambitious reader--the one who reads the most books.
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 or quantity in the title
3. Amateur Night: A book with a detective who is not a P.I.; Police Officer; or other 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: A mystery set in the United Kingdom
6. Yankee Doodle Dandy: A mystery set in the United States
7. World Traveler: A mystery set in any country except the U.S. or U.K.
8. Dangerous Beasts: A book with an animal in the title
9. A Calendar of Crime: A mystery with a date/holiday/year/month/etc. in the title
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 (theatre, musical event, pageant, Hollywood, 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. Impossible Crimes: Any other impossible crime (locks not necessary)
18. Country House Criminals: A standard (or not-so-standard) Golden Age-style country house murder
19. Murder on the High Seas: A mystery involving water
20. Planes, Trains, & Automobiles: A book with a mode of transportation in the title
21. Murder is Academic: A mystery involving a scholar, teacher, librarian, etc. OR set at a school, university, library, etc.
22. Things That Go Bump in the Night: A book with something spooky, creepy, gothic in the title (The Skeleton in the Clock; Haunted Lady; The Bat; etc)
23. Repeat Offenders: A mystery featuring your favorite series detective or by your favorite author or reread an old favorite
24. 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.
25. 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.)
26. Dynamic Duos: A mystery featuring a detective team (Holmes & Watson; Pam & Jerry North; Nero Wolfe & Archie Goodwin, or a little-known team that you introduce to us)
27. 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.)
28. Psychic Phenomena: A mystery featuring a seance, medium, hypnotism, or other psychic or "supernatural" characters/events
29. Book to Movie: A book that has appeared on screen (feature film or TV)
30. The Old Bailey: A courtroom drama mystery OR a mystery featuring a judge, lawyer, barrister, district attorney
31. Serial Killers: Books that were originally published in serial format (from the pulp era) OR a book that includes three or more deaths--all committed by the same person.
32. Killed in Translation: A work that originally appeared in another language and has been made available in English--original publication date determines Gold or Silver Age--OR if your native language is not English, then a work that originally appeared in English which you read in your native language.
33. Blondes in Danger: A variation on "Colorful Crime." A book that features a blonde in the title (The Blonde Died First; The Case of the Black-Eyed Blonde) or another shade of hair color (The Case of the Substitute Brunette)
34. International Detectives: A variation on "World Traveler"--but instead of the crime being set in another country, the detective is not from the U.S. or U.K.
35. Somebody Else's Crime: Read a book that someone else has already read for the challenge.
36. Genuine Fakes: Read a book by an author who wrote under a pseudonym (Josephine Tey [Elizabeth Mackintosh]; Nicholas Blake [Cecil Day Lewis]; etc.)
37. Hobbies Can Be Murder: A mystery that involves a hobby in some way: stamp, coin, book collecting, etc; knitting; birdwatching; hunting; etc.
38. Snatch & Grab: Read the first book you pick up off your shelf or TBR stack/s
39. I've Got You Covered: Pick a book to read based on the cover
40. Get Out of Jail Free: One per customer. You tell me what special category the book fits and it counts--the only thing I won't accept is "It's a vintage mystery!" The genre/time period is a given.