Mixed Doubles and Other Dynamic Duos in Crime Fiction

Day of Week: Thursday
Course Length: 10 weeks
Starting: 09/23/2021
Ending: 12/09/2021
Period of Day: Period 2
Course Fee: $100.00
Standard period time.

Course Description:

Two heads are better than one, right? That’s especially true when it comes to solving the most puzzling crimes. We’ll look at five detective “teams” to see how the interplay of perspectives advances the plot and enhances the enjoyment of works by five very different, but very successful contemporary authors of mystery fiction. You’ll have two weeks to read each of the assigned books. Every other week, we will assign three or four short stories, mostly featuring a different “detective duo.”

This will be a highly interactive course, with short explanations, videos, author biographies and lots of time for lively discussion. Among the topics we expect to explore are the impact of differences in age, sex, class, race, ethnicity, and other factors in unravelling the mystery. Expect the unexpected: when we say “mixed,” we mean, not your average Starsky and Hutch! And we’ll explore the many and varied answers the group has to the basic question “What IS a mystery novel and why do you love them?”

Reading time for the short story weeks is about an hour. For the books, that depends on length of book, whether or not it’s a quick read, and of course, how fast you yourself read!

Books and Other Resources:

A Test of Wills, by Charles Todd
Well-schooled in Murder, by Elizabeth George
Sacred, by Dennis Lehane
The Brass Verdict by Michael Connelly
Blue Monday, by Nicci French

The short stories will be provided by email.

Course Leader Bio(s)

Dana Kaplan

I had a varied career as a marketing and sales promotional writer and manager of creative teams. My focus was business-to-business. I have been an avid reader of crime/mystery fiction my whole life, beginning (of course) with Nancy Drew. I enjoy approaching these books the same way I do all fiction worth reading: for plot, narrative progression, description, character treatment, and above all, the author’s underlying themes. With Sandy, I’ve taught two courses on mystery novels and one on the robber barons of the gilded age. We also ran a monthly summer book group, “Food and Memories,” focused on culinary memoirs.

Sandy Grasfield

I was a middle school librarian and media specialist for thirty years. I have taught several courses at LLAIC and elsewhere, including The History and Politics of Food, The Plays and Memoirs of Lillian Hellman, and Great Photographs and Photographers of the Depression Era.

Dana and I have presented two successful courses focused on mystery novels and one on the robber barons of the gilded age. We also ran a monthly summer book group, “Food and Memories,” focused on culinary memoirs.