Tea, Tonic & Toxin

Carolyn Daughters & Sarah Harrison

Tea, Tonic, and Toxin is a book club and podcast for people who love mysteries, thrillers, introspection, and good conversation. Each month, your hosts, Carolyn Daughters and Sarah Harrison, will discuss a game-changing mystery or thriller, starting in 1841 onward. Together, we’ll see firsthand how the genre evolvedAlong the way, we’ll entertain ideas, prospects, theories, doubts, and grudges, along with the occasional guest. And we hope to entertain you, dear friend. We want you to experience the joys of reading some of the best mysteries and thrillers ever written.
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The Hollow Man by John Dickson Carr
3d ago
The Hollow Man by John Dickson Carr
THE THREE COFFINS (THE HOLLOW MAN) (1935) by John Dickson Carr is celebrated for its exceptional execution of the locked-room mystery, a subgenre demanding ingenious plotting and cerebral depth. Many consider it the best locked room mystery of all time. Carr’s complex puzzles, cryptic clues, and taut, suspenseful atmosphere make it a mystery fiction masterpiece.Read: Buy the book on Amazon.Reflect: Check out the conversation starters below.The Novel as a Riddle“To the murder of Professor Grimaud, and later the equally incredible crime in Cagliostro Street, many fantastic terms could be applied — with reason. Those of Dr Fell’s friends who like impossible situations will not find in his case-book any puzzle more baffling or more terrifying. Thus: two murders were committed, in such fashion that the murderer must have been not only invisible, but lighter than air. According to the evidence, this person killed his first victim and literally disappeared. Again according to the evidence, he killed his second victim in the middle of an empty street, with watchers at either end; yet not a soul saw him, and no footprint appeared in the snow.”Locked Room Lecture / Breaking Down the Third WallCh. 17 contains the oft-cited “locked room lecture,” where Fell speaks directly to readers. Fell says, “[W]e’re in a detective story, and we don’t fool the reader by pretending we’re not.” Fell then describes the various ways murder can be committed in a locked room.From the books we’ve read, Is this the first break in the third wall?Method #7 from The Three Coffins (The Hollow Man) by John Dickson Carr: “The victim is presumed to be dead long before he really is. The victim lies asleep drugged (but not harmed) in a locked room. Knockings on the door fail to rouse him. The murderer starts a foul-play scare; forces the door; gets in ahead and kills by stabbing or throat-cutting, while suggesting to other watchers that they have seen something they have not seen. The honour of inventing this device belongs to Israel Zangwill [The Big Bow Mystery].”Pettis says, “[It] would seem pretty sound to say exclude the impossible and whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” (Sherlock Holmes, The Sign of the Four, 1890) (Compare with Poirot in Murder on the Orient Express, 1934: “The impossible cannot have happened, therefore the impossible must be possible in spite of appearances.”)In The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books (2017), Martin Edwards called this chapter “an extraordinarily bold move.” Do you agree? How did you feel about this chapter? And have the books John Dickson Carr mentioned stood the test of time as greats? G.K. Chesterton was mentioned for the man in the passage. In The Wrong Shape, similar to Israel Zangwill, the killer rushes in pretending they are already dead and kills them while asleep. Support the showhttps://www.instagram.com/teatonicandtoxin/https://www.facebook.com/teatonicandtoxinhttps://www.teatonicandtoxin.comStay mysterious...
Carter Wilson chats about his newest thriller: The Father She Went to Find
Mar 31 2024
Carter Wilson chats about his newest thriller: The Father She Went to Find
Penny has never met anyone smarter than her. That's par for the course when you're a savant - one of fewer than 100 in the world. But despite her photographic memory and superpowered intellect, there's one ystery Penny's never been able to solve: Why did her father leave when she was in a coma at age seven, and where is he now?On Penny's twenty-first birthdya, she receives a card in the mail from him, just as she has every year since he left. But this birthday card is different. For the first time ever, there's a return address. And a goodbye.Penny doesn't know the world beyond her mother's house and the special school she's attended since her unusual abilities revealed themselves, but the mystery of her father's disappearance becomes her new obsession. For the first time ever, she decides to leave home to break free of everything that has kept her safe and use her gifts to answer the questions that have always eluded her. What Penny doesn't realize is she might not be able to outsmart a world far more complicated and dangerous than she'd ever imagined...Check out our guest Carter Wilson at CarterWilson.comSee more of Carter's book, and references from the episode in our specially curated list in our amazon store. Carter Wilson is the USA Today bestselling author of nine critically acclaimed, standalone psychological thrillers, as well as numerous short stories. He is an ITW Thriller Award finalist, a five-time winner of the Colorado Book Award, and his works have been optioned for television and film. Carter lives in Erie, Colorado in a Victorian house that is spooky but isn’t haunted…yet.Born in New Mexico in 1970, Carter grew up primarily in Los Angeles before attending Cornell University in New York. He lived in Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and Miami before moving to Boulder, Colorado in 1996. Throughout his life, Carter has journeyed the globe for both work and pleasure, and his travels have been a constant source of inspiration in his fiction.Carter’s writing career began on a spring day in 2003, when an exercise to ward off boredom during a continuing-education class evolved into a 400-page manuscript. Since that day, Carter has been constantly writing. In addition to his published novels, Carter has also contributed short fiction to various publications, and most notably was featured in the R.L. Stine young-adult anthology Scream and Scream Again.Support the showhttps://www.instagram.com/teatonicandtoxin/https://www.facebook.com/teatonicandtoxinhttps://www.teatonicandtoxin.comStay mysterious...
The Postman Always Rings Twice - with guest Rebecca Heisler!
Mar 10 2024
The Postman Always Rings Twice - with guest Rebecca Heisler!
THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE (1934) is James M. Cain’s gripping, groundbreaking noir tale of passion and betrayal. In a dusty roadside diner, love and lust ignite a murderous plot and challenge conventional notions of right and wrong. As secrets unravel, two lovers are drawn deeper into a web of crime, leading to a shocking and morally ambiguous climax.Read: Buy the book on Amazon.Reflect: Check out the conversation starters below.Our guest, Rebecca Heisler, lives outside Boston with her two rescue mutts, who are usually by her side while she's reading. Outside of her digital marketing day job, she can usually be found with a book, often recommending the most absurd genres to her book club. She also loves writing, drinking wine, and watching and reviewing every Hallmark Christmas movie each year.Check her out @bookworminbostonAnd while you're at it, visit our mutual friend @readfarandwide for bookish travel tips. One of the things we love about book conversations is how the discussion makes so many connections. For this episode, we made a special idea list, and compiled the links here! Check it out and let us know if we missed any references.And while you're at it, pick up the next book here!The Postman Always Rings Twice is on the Modern Library’s list of 100 best novels. Most elements of the hardboiled genre are here. Dark passions. Heroes of dubious morality/amorality in a hardscrabble world. Sudden, squalid violence. Retribution. Albert Camus said the book’s themes and style influenced The Stranger. Dennis Lehane (Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone) has talked about the impact Cain’s dialogue had on him (full of vernacular; true to character). Cain featured the perpetrator of the crime, rather than the detective or law enforcement. Crime novelists owe a lot to Cain.The book feels like another major departure from the types of books we’ve been reading — the brutality, the psychopathy, the sex. What was the context of this development? What was going on in American fiction? Is Cain the first to do this?Did you like any of the characters? How did it feel to read the book from inside the killer’s head? For Sarah it was difficult, like having a one way conversation with a crazy person who wants to tell you all about themselves, thinks they have it figured out, but you don’t agree that they do.In The Postman Always Rings Twice, Nick’s ethnic background is looked down upon, even by his wife. Her distaste for her husband is implied to derive in part from her perception that she is less “white” for being married to him. Mexicans are described as less worthy characters.Desperation, driven by grinding Depression-era poverty, is key to the psychological landscape of the novel, driving Cora first to marriage and then to murder. She went into the marriage assuming that Nick was unchangeable (and maybe he was), but it was the burden she was willing to bear to get out of the hash house.Cora also blames her class as to why she couldn’t Carolyn DaughtersBrand therapy. Persuasive writing courses. Tell the best story possible.Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.Support the showhttps://www.instagram.com/teatonicandtoxin/https://www.facebook.com/teatonicandtoxinhttps://www.teatonicandtoxin.comStay mysterious...
Barbara Nickless tells us about Play of Shadows
Feb 25 2024
Barbara Nickless tells us about Play of Shadows
In this episode we are delighted to chat with Barbara Nickless! She is the Wall Street Journal and #1 Amazon Charts bestselling author of the multi-award-winning Sydney Parnell crime novels. Barbara’s new series features forensic semiotician Dr. Evan Wilding—a man whose gift for interpreting the words and symbols left behind by killers has led him to consult on some of the world’s grisliest cases. She’s the winner of the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence, the Golden Quill Award, Suspense Magazine Best Debut of 2016, Amazon Editors’ Best Mystery, Thriller, and Suspense Novel, and a four-time recipient of the Colorado Authors League Writing Award. In addition, she has been nominated for the Colorado Book Award five times and won three times. Barbara lives in Colorado at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, where she loves to hike, cave, snowshoe, and drink single-malt Scotch. Her most recent travels—while conducting research for a novel—involved taking cover from rocketfire and being grilled at military checkpoints.https://barbaranickless.com/An ancient creature of Greek mythology drives a killer’s unspeakable motives in a pulse-pounding thriller by Barbara Nickless, the Amazon Charts and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Dark of Night.On a stormy Chicago night, renowned semiotician Dr. Evan Wilding and his brother, River, who’s back from an archaeological dig, reunite in a mystery. A package addressed to both of them contains a hand-drawn maze, an ancient Cretan coin, and a cryptic greeting: Let the game begin.The opening move is murder.In a downtown alley, a man has been found nearly cleaved in two, a symbol drawn on his forehead and a savage rip in his throat. Given the clues, Evan sees a parallel to a fearsome Greek myth. Which means his friend Detective Addie Bisset is on the trail of a legendary flesh-eating monster―one terrifyingly human and tumbling a panicked city toward chaos.Evan, Addie, and River scramble to discover who’s behind the appalling crimes and decipher the baffling motives. The body count is rising. The endgame is nowhere in sight. And the stakes are nothing less than life and death.Barbara references Far from the Tree & we can't wait to check it out!Start researching your next book, Barbara-style!grace sigmaConsultancy specializing in lean process, systems design, data storytelling, and data visualization.Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.Support the showhttps://www.instagram.com/teatonicandtoxin/https://www.facebook.com/teatonicandtoxinhttps://www.teatonicandtoxin.comStay mysterious...
The Thin Man, part 2.
Feb 11 2024
The Thin Man, part 2.
Tea, Tonic, and Toxin is a mystery and thriller podcast and book club for people obsessed with mysteries and thrillers. Each month, your hosts, Sarah Harrison and Carolyn Daughters, will discuss a game-changing mystery or thriller, starting in the mid-19th century onward. Together, we’ll see firsthand how the genre evolved.Along the way, we’ll entertain ideas, prospects, theories, and doubts, along with the occasional guest. And we hope to entertain you, dear friend. We want you to experience the joys of reading the best mysteries and thrillers ever written.We’ll read and explore ideas about the book and about ourselves. And we’ll start at the very beginning with “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” by Edgar Allan Poe.This episode we discuss The Thin Man. The allure of THE THIN MAN (1934) lies in its timeless intrigue, captivating characters, and masterful storytelling. Dashiell Hammett’s novel is known for its clever plot twists, witty dialogue, a surprising blend crime and comedy – and the enigmatic detective duo of Nick and Nora Charles.Read: Buy the book on Amazon.Reflect: Check out the conversation starters below.Weigh In: Speak up, and you might get an on-air shout out and a fabulous sticker!Subscribe: Never miss an episode!Our incredible guest is Julie Rivett! Julie M. Rivett is a granddaughter of Dashiell Hammett, an advocate for Hammett’s life and literature, a trustee for his estate, and an essayist, editor, and lecturer. Working with Hammett biographer Richard Layman, she has edited six books by or about her grandfather, including Selected Letters of Dashiell Hammett (2001), Return of The Thin Man (2012), The Hunter and Other Stories (2013), and The Big Book of the Continental Op (2017). She studied literature, culture, and persuasive arts at California State University, Long Beach, where she earned an M.A. in Communication Studies.The Thin Man, Chapter 1 (72 Intro Words and 62 Closing Words That Set the Scene): “I was leaning against the bar in a speakeasy on Fifty-second Street, waiting for Nora to finish her Christmas shopping, when a girl got up from the table where she had been sitting with three other people and came over to me. She was small and blonde, and whether you looked at her face or at her body in powder-blue sports clothes the result was satisfactory. ‘Aren’t you Nick Charles?’ she asked.”    Nick and Nora find a table. Nora said: “She’s pretty.” [referring to Dorothy Wynant]    “If you like them like that.”    She grinned at me. “You got types?”    “Only you, darling–lanky brunettes with wicked jaws.”    “And how about the red-head you wandered off with at the Quinns’ last night?”    ​​”That’s silly,” I said. “She just wanted to show me some French etchings.”Vintage Books is planning to reissue all five of her grandfather’s novels, each with a fresh introduction by a well-regarded contemporary author! Check Julie's Facebook page for updates!Carolyn DaughtersBrand therapy. Persuasive writing courses. Tell the best story possible.Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.Support the showhttps://www.instagram.com/teatonicandtoxin/https://www.facebook.com/teatonicandtoxinhttps://www.teatonicandtoxin.comStay mysterious...
The Thin Man, part 1!
Jan 28 2024
The Thin Man, part 1!
It’s time for more mysteries, detective stories, and thrillers! Our 2024 selections include stunners published from 1934-1939.   Get reading, and subscribe so you never miss an episode! (You can find the 2022 schedule here and 2023 schedule here.)The allure of THE THIN MAN (1934) lies in its timeless intrigue, captivating characters, and masterful storytelling. Dashiell Hammett’s novel is known for its clever plot twists, witty dialogue, a surprising blend crime and comedy – and the enigmatic detective duo of Nick and Nora Charles.Read: Buy the book on Amazon.Our guest for The Thin Man is the incredible Julie Rivett, Hammett's own grandaughter & a trustee of his estate. Julie M. Rivett brings a unique personal and professional perspective to the study of Dashiell Hammett. She is one of four Hammett grandchildren, a Hammett scholar, and a trustee for the Hammett literary estate. Although her memories of her grandfather stem from a single childhood visit, she has developed an understanding of Hammett that integrates conversations with family and friends, study of Hammett’s public and private writings, and research on his life.Working with Hammett biographer Richard Layman, she has co-edited six books by orabout her famous grandfather. Selected Letters of Dashiell Hammett 1921-1960 and her mother’s memoir Dashiell Hammett: A Daughter Remembers, both nominated for Edgar Awards, were released in 2001. Return of the Thin Man, with Hammett’s screen stories for two of the beloved Thin Man film series sequels, was published in 2012. The Hunter and Other Stories followed in 2013, featuring unpublished and rarely seen Hammett fiction, screen stories, and an unfinished Sam Spade adventure. The Continental Op: The Complete Case Files collected all 28 of Hammett’s Op short stories in ebook in 2016. The complete collection of Op stories, in addition to the original serialized versions of Hammett’s two novels featuring the Op were released in print for the first time in The Big Book of the Continental Op in November of 2017.Julie has lectured and curated exhibits on Hammett and his works for one-city-read-one-book programs, libraries, schools and universities, writers’ groups, book clubs, andliteracy organizations across the U.S. Her interviews and essays have been published athome and abroad, helping to maintain her grandfather’s legacy and introduce his writings to new generations.When she’s not editing or lecturing, Julie volunteers for arts, literacy, and politicalorganizations and minds her grandchildren. She lives with her husband in OrangeCounty, California, where she raised two daughters and earned degrees in AmericanStudies and Communication Studies from California State University, Long Beach.Vintage Books is planning to reissue all five of her grandfather’s novels, each with a fresh introduction by a well-regarded contemporary author! Check JuLinden BotanicalsWe sell the world’s healthiest herbal teas and extracts.Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.Support the showhttps://www.instagram.com/teatonicandtoxin/https://www.facebook.com/teatonicandtoxinhttps://www.teatonicandtoxin.comStay mysterious...
The Nine Tailors, part 2!
Jan 1 2024
The Nine Tailors, part 2!
Tea, Tonic & Toxin is a book club and podcast focused on the history of mystery. We’re discussing the best mysteries, detective stories, and thrillers ever written — in chronological order.The Nine Tailors, a Lord Peter Wimsey mystery, is quite possibly Dorothy Sayers’ masterpiece. The murder method in the 1934 novel is a stunner to be sure. The idea came from a sixpenny pamphlet that explained bell-ringing. Is it her finest literary achievement? Let us know what YOU think!Dan Drake was born in Los Angeles two months after Pearl Harbor. A year or so after, his family moved to the Bay Area, where he has lived since, with notably rare exceptions – those exceptions being Portland OR, where he took a degree in biology at Reed College; UC San Diego for studies in biology; and San Diego State. At UC Berkeley, he studied in the newly renamed Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, where he earned an MS and worked at a couple of computerish jobs. In 1982, he and some very sharp programmers started a software company for those fashionable new “personal computers.” That venture succeeded and has gone on succeeding for 40+ years under the same name, Autodesk.Now, Dan’s parents were Sherlock Holmes fans, and Dan grew up in a home filled with Holmesiana. His father belonged to a local affiliate of the Baker Street Irregulars, for which he wrote a few pieces of Sherlockian fanfic. Dan found a book by Dorothy L Sayers called Unpopular Opinions, and then he read Whose Body? By good fortune, he read the Lord Peter Wimsey books more or less in order.Dan eventually joined a new newsgroup dedicated to Lord Peter. When he learned about the Peter Wimsey Companion, he gave up his production of notes on the Wimsey corpus. Dan also collects Sayersiana, and on a few occasions he has attended conventions of the Dorothy L Sayers Society in England, along with one held at Wheaton College in Illinois. Today, Dan lives in Mill Valley, California, under redwood trees on a steep hillside, with his wife of many years. He has two adult children.Sarah found Dan's incredible notes on the internet researching Whose Body.Other references Dan Made:His father (Stillman Drake - see, if you like, his entry in Wikipedia) was active in the Northern California Holmesian society, called the Scowrers, and wrote a couple of essays in that capacity. dandrake.com/porlock/index.htmlA group called Lord Peter, which he joined. It's still alive (https://groups.io/g/LordPeter/topics) though not very active. And it got him to writing these annotations.Dorothy Sayers Book on Education: The Lost Tools of LearningVII: Journal of the Marion E Wade Center at Wheaton CollegeChange RLinden BotanicalsWe sell the world’s healthiest herbal teas and extracts.Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.Support the showhttps://www.instagram.com/teatonicandtoxin/https://www.facebook.com/teatonicandtoxinhttps://www.teatonicandtoxin.comStay mysterious...
Looking Ahead to 2024
Dec 27 2023
Looking Ahead to 2024
Tea, Tonic & Toxin is a book club and podcast focused on the history of mystery. We’re discussing the best mysteries, detective stories, and thrillers ever written — in chronological order.It’s time for more mysteries, detective stories, and thrillers! Our 2024 selections include stunners published from 1934-1939. Scroll down the page, get reading, and subscribe so you never miss an episode! (You can find the 2022 schedule here and 2023 schedule here.)The allure of THE THIN MAN lies in its timeless intrigue, captivating characters, and masterful storytelling. Dashiell Hammett’s novel is known for its clever plot twists, witty dialogue, a surprising blend crime and comedy – and the enigmatic duo of Nick and Nora Charles.THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE is James M. Cain’s groundbreaking noir tale of passion and betrayal. In a dusty roadside diner, love and lust ignite a murderous plot. As secrets unravel, two lovers are drawn into a web of crime, leading to a shocking and morally ambiguous climax.John Dickson Carr’s THE HOLLOW MAN (THE THREE COFFINS) is celebrated for its exceptional execution of the locked-room mystery, a sub-genre demanding ingenious plotting and cerebral depth. Many consider it the best locked room mystery of all time. It’s a mystery fiction masterpiece.THE LEAGUE OF FRIGHTENED MEN introduces the brilliant and eccentric detective Nero Wolfe and his wise-cracking sidekick, Archie Goodwin. When a sinister secret society seeks revenge, Wolfe’s genius is put to the test. Rex Stout’s classic mystery is a thrilling, witty, page-turning delight.When a man is found dead in a quaint English village, Inspector Hannasyde must unravel the secrets of the eccentric family involved. In DEATH IN THE STOCKS, a beloved classic, Georgette Heyer infuses the traditional mystery with her signature style of historical Regency romance.Harriet Vane returns to her alma mater, Oxford, only to find the tranquil setting disturbed by a series of unsettling incidents. A strong and independent woman, Harriet defied gender norms of her time, and some consider Dorothy Sayers’ GAUDY NIGHT to be the first feminist mystery novel.THE ABC MURDERS is an early example of a “serial killer” novel. A killer strikes in alphabetical order, challenging renowned detective Hercule Poirot to a battle of wits. With ingenious twists and red herrings, Agatha Christie’s classic murder mystery keeps readers guessing until the end.In THE WHEEL SPINS, a young woman’s train journey takes a sinister turn when a fellow passenger mysteriously disappears. Ethel Lina White’s suspenseful, edge-of-your-seat read served as the basis for Alfred Hitchcock’s iconic film The Lady Vanishes. It’s a classic of the genre.A young bride is haunted by the lingering shadow of her husband’s first wife at the eerie Manderley estate. Secrets, jealousy, and suspense converge in a chilling tale of love and deception. Daphne du Maurier’s classic Gothic novel REBECCA won the Anthony Award for Best Novel of the Century.ROGUE MALE is an enduring masterpiece of mystery, adventure, suspense, and the sheer thrill of the chase. Geoffrey Household called it a “bastard Carolyn DaughtersBrand therapy. Persuasive writing courses. Tell the best story possible.Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.Support the showhttps://www.instagram.com/teatonicandtoxin/https://www.facebook.com/teatonicandtoxinhttps://www.teatonicandtoxin.comStay mysterious...
The Nine Tailors, part 1!
Dec 21 2023
The Nine Tailors, part 1!
Tea, Tonic & Toxin is a book club and podcast focused on the history of mystery. We’re discussing the best mysteries, detective stories, and thrillers ever written — in chronological order.The Nine Tailors, a Lord Peter Wimsey mystery, is quite possibly Dorothy Sayers’ masterpiece. The murder method in the 1934 novel is a stunner to be sure. The idea came from a sixpenny pamphlet that explained bell-ringing. Is it her finest literary achievement? Let us know what YOU think!Dan Drake was born in Los Angeles two months after Pearl Harbor. A year or so after, his family moved to the Bay Area, where he has lived since, with notably rare exceptions – those exceptions being Portland OR, where he took a degree in biology at Reed College; UC San Diego for studies in biology; and San Diego State. At UC Berkeley, he studied in the newly renamed Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, where he earned an MS and worked at a couple of computerish jobs. In 1982, he and some very sharp programmers started a software company for those fashionable new “personal computers.” That venture succeeded and has gone on succeeding for 40+ years under the same name, Autodesk.Now, Dan’s parents were Sherlock Holmes fans, and Dan grew up in a home filled with Holmesiana. His father belonged to a local affiliate of the Baker Street Irregulars, for which he wrote a few pieces of Sherlockian fanfic. Dan found a book by Dorothy L Sayers called Unpopular Opinions, and then he read Whose Body? By good fortune, he read the Lord Peter Wimsey books more or less in order.Dan eventually joined a new newsgroup dedicated to Lord Peter. When he learned about the Peter Wimsey Companion, he gave up his production of notes on the Wimsey corpus. Dan also collects Sayersiana, and on a few occasions he has attended conventions of the Dorothy L Sayers Society in England, along with one held at Wheaton College in Illinois. Today, Dan lives in Mill Valley, California, under redwood trees on a steep hillside, with his wife of many years. He has two adult children.Sarah found Dan's incredible notes on the internet researching Whose Body.Other references Dan Made: His father (Stillman Drake - see, if you like, his entry in Wikipedia) was active in the Northern California Holmesian society, called the Scowrers, and wrote a couple of essays in that capacity. dandrake.com/porlock/index.html A group called Lord Peter, which he joined. It's still alive (https://groups.io/g/LordPeter/topics) though not very active. And it got him to writing these annotations.Dorothy Sayers Book on Education: The Lost Tools of LearningVII: Journal of the Marion E Wade Center at Wheaton CollegeChgrace sigmaConsultancy specializing in lean process, systems design, data storytelling, and data visualization.Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.Support the showhttps://www.instagram.com/teatonicandtoxin/https://www.facebook.com/teatonicandtoxinhttps://www.teatonicandtoxin.comStay mysterious...
Murder on the Orient Express, part 2
Dec 4 2023
Murder on the Orient Express, part 2
Agatha Christie is the most widely published author of all time, outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare. Her books have sold more than a billion copies in English and another billion in a hundred foreign languages. Once you read Murder on the Orient Express (1934), you’ll understand why.Read: Buy it used or new on Amazon.Reflect: Check out the conversation starters below.Welcome our guest, Emily Schwartz!Emily Schwartz was the Artistic Director of, and Resident Playwright for the immersive (and mostly macabre) theater company, The Strange Tree Group from 2003 to 2014. For the Trees she penned the Jeff Award-winning The Three Faces of Doctor Crippen, which also won the New York Fringe excellence award.  When it was performed at Steppenwolf in 2011 the forensic scientist who discovered that the remains of Cora Crippen might not be Cora Crippen after all came to opening night where Emily debated him on what actually happened with the murder. Other critically acclaimed productions include The Dastardly Ficus and Other Comedic Tales of Woe and Misery, Mr. Spacky, the Man Who Was Continuously Followed by Wolves, The Mysterious Elephant, and more. You can still find productions of her work across the country. The local Denver theater group The Catamounts, have performed both Dr. Crippen and Mr. Spacky, and the Three Faces of Doctor Crippen has a performance in the planning stages for 2024.Currently Emily is mostly a professional event planner and mom to four year old Henry to whom she is passing on her love of the strange and unusual. She recently wrote an adaptation of Alice in Wonderland for the Latin school of Chicago, and is working on a children's book.  Emily has known Sarah for approximately 50 or 60 years.Here are some conversation starters and questions to get you thinking about the book!The story was partly inspired by the shocking real-life kidnapping case involving the Charles Lindbergh baby. In 1932, aviator Charles Lindbergh’s 20-month old son was held for a $50,000 ransom. The ransom was paid, but Lindbergh’s son was later found dead. The case captivated and outraged the American public. What are the similarities and differences between the real-life story and the fictional account in this book?Which character did you identify with most in Murder on the Orient Express? If you had to choose to be one of the characters on the Orient Express, who would you choose, and why? Or would you choose another alias altogether?Poirot says, “I saw it as a perfect mosaic, each person playing his or her allotted part.” Were you able to identify the murderer before the very end? If so, what tipped you off? If not, who did you think the murderer was? Were you surprised when Poirot revealed whodunit?The first time Poirot sees Samuel Ratchett, he says, “I could not rid myself of the impression that evil had passed me by very close.” What does it mean to be evil? Does pure evil exist? Along those lines, what’s the difference between vengeance and justice? Were the murderers justified in killing Ratchett because he was completely evil?Have you seen either of the film versions of Murder on the Orient Express (1974 or 2017)? Before or after reading the book? Did it affect how you read the book?Support the showhttps://www.instagram.com/teatonicandtoxin/https://www.facebook.com/teatonicandtoxinhttps://www.teatonicandtoxin.comStay mysterious...
Murder on the Orient Express, part 1
Nov 28 2023
Murder on the Orient Express, part 1
Agatha Christie is the most widely published author of all time, outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare. Her books have sold more than a billion copies in English and another billion in a hundred foreign languages. Once you read Murder on the Orient Express (1934), you’ll understand why.Read: Buy it used or new on Amazon.Reflect: Check out the conversation starters below.Welcome our guest, Emily Schwartz!Emily Schwartz was the Artistic Director of, and Resident Playwright for the immersive (and mostly macabre) theater company, The Strange Tree Group from 2003 to 2014. For the Trees she penned the Jeff Award-winning The Three Faces of Doctor Crippen, which also won the New York Fringe excellence award.  When it was performed at Steppenwolf in 2011 the forensic scientist who discovered that the remains of Cora Crippen might not be Cora Crippen after all came to opening night where Emily debated him on what actually happened with the murder. Other critically acclaimed productions include The Dastardly Ficus and Other Comedic Tales of Woe and Misery, Mr. Spacky, the Man Who Was Continuously Followed by Wolves, The Mysterious Elephant, and more. You can still find productions of her work across the country. The local Denver theater group The Catamounts, have performed both Dr. Crippen and Mr. Spacky, and the Three Faces of Doctor Crippen has a performance in the planning stages for 2024.Currently Emily is mostly a professional event planner and mom to four year old Henry to whom she is passing on her love of the strange and unusual. She recently wrote an adaptation of Alice in Wonderland for the Latin school of Chicago, and is working on a children's book.  Emily has known Sarah for approximately 50 or 60 yearsHere are some conversation starters and questions to get you thinking about the book!The story was partly inspired by the shocking real-life kidnapping case involving the Charles Lindbergh baby. In 1932, aviator Charles Lindbergh’s 20-month old son was held for a $50,000 ransom. The ransom was paid, but Lindbergh’s son was later found dead. The case captivated and outraged the American public. What are the similarities and differences between the real-life story and the fictional account in this book?Which character did you identify with most in Murder on the Orient Express? If you had to choose to be one of the characters on the Orient Express, who would you choose, and why? Or would you choose another alias altogether?One of the early assumptions that Dr. Constantine, the Greek doctor, and M. Bouc make about the murderer is that it must have been either a woman or Antonio Foscarelli, the American of Italian descent. The narrator even says Foscarelli has a “typical looking Italian face, sunny looking and swarthy.” What role do stereotypes play in the novel?The characters in Murder on the Orient Express are traveling from Syria to Istanbul and on to Calais and then London. Why did Agatha Christie set the murder on a train? What does the train symbolize in the novel?The characters constantly reference America. Colonel Arbuthnot calls Americans “sentimental and idealistic.” Mr. Hardman says, “Europe wants waking up. She’s half asleep.” What does America symbolize in the book? How does diversity shape American culture? How is this diversity shown through the passengers, and how does it affect Poirot’s investigation of the case?Support the showhttps://www.instagram.com/teatonicandtoxin/https://www.facebook.com/teatonicandtoxinhttps://www.teatonicandtoxin.comStay mysterious...
Recipes for Murder, part 2: All about Agatha
Nov 13 2023
Recipes for Murder, part 2: All about Agatha
Karen Pierce, a detective-fiction devotee, food lover, and Agatha Christie superfan, has attended and volunteered at several Anthony Boucher Memorial World Mystery Conventions and has taken pilgrimages to Torquay and Greenway House, Christie’s hometown and home. Pierce lives in Toronto, Canada.Drink and dine with recipes inspired by the best-selling novelist of all time in Recipes for Murder: 66 Dishes That Celebrate the Mysteries of Agatha Christie, by Karen Pierce (Countryman; Aug 22, 2023).Poisons, knives, and bullets riddle the stories of Agatha Christie, but so does food, which she uses to invoke settings, to develop characters, and, of course, to commit murder. This to-die-for cookbook offers recipes written by the author for one accessible, easy-to-follow dish or drink for each of Christie’s 66 mysteries. Recipes include Fish and Chips at the Seven Dials Club, Literary Luncheon Meringues, Oysters Rockefeller on the Orient Express, Sixpence Blackbird Pie, Orange Marmalade from Gossington Hall, and more. Along the way, you’ll learn how to make an exquisite omelet, how to roast a leg of lamb properly, and how to serve perfectly timed steak frites.Framing these dishes are insightful essays and headnotes that detail the history of the recipes, their context in Christie’s life and times, and the roles they play in the source works. Based on extensive research and investigation, all dishes appear traditional to their respective eras, so steak fried for 1923 but marinated and grilled for 1964. Completing the collection, thematic menus assemble recipes for a Halloween murder mystery gathering, a “Christie for Christmas,” a book club buffet, and other occasions, making it a filling tribute to the grand dame of detective fiction.Join us as Carolyn, Sarah & Karen dive into this delicious volume, and discuss all things Agatha Christie!Follow Karen on social @recipesformurderSupport the showhttps://www.instagram.com/teatonicandtoxin/https://www.facebook.com/teatonicandtoxinhttps://www.teatonicandtoxin.comStay mysterious...
Recipes for Murder, part 1!
Oct 31 2023
Recipes for Murder, part 1!
Karen Pierce, a detective-fiction devotee, food lover, and Agatha Christie superfan, has attended and volunteered at several Anthony Boucher Memorial World Mystery Conventions and has taken pilgrimages to Torquay and Greenway House, Christie’s hometown and home. Pierce lives in Toronto, Canada.Drink and dine with recipes inspired by the best-selling novelist of all time in Recipes for Murder: 66 Dishes That Celebrate the Mysteries of Agatha Christie, by Karen Pierce (Countryman; Aug 22, 2023).Poisons, knives, and bullets riddle the stories of Agatha Christie, but so does food, which she uses to invoke settings, to develop characters, and, of course, to commit murder. This to-die-for cookbook offers recipes written by the author for one accessible, easy-to-follow dish or drink for each of Christie’s 66 mysteries. Recipes include Fish and Chips at the Seven Dials Club, Literary Luncheon Meringues, Oysters Rockefeller on the Orient Express, Sixpence Blackbird Pie, Orange Marmalade from Gossington Hall, and more. Along the way, you’ll learn how to make an exquisite omelet, how to roast a leg of lamb properly, and how to serve perfectly timed steak frites.Framing these dishes are insightful essays and headnotes that detail the history of the recipes, their context in Christie’s life and times, and the roles they play in the source works. Based on extensive research and investigation, all dishes appear traditional to their respective eras, so steak fried for 1923 but marinated and grilled for 1964. Completing the collection, thematic menus assemble recipes for a Halloween murder mystery gathering, a “Christie for Christmas,” a book club buffet, and other occasions, making it a filling tribute to the grand dame of detective fiction.Join us as Carolyn, Sarah & Karen dive into this delicious volume!Follow Karen on social @recipesformurderSupport the showhttps://www.instagram.com/teatonicandtoxin/https://www.facebook.com/teatonicandtoxinhttps://www.teatonicandtoxin.comStay mysterious...
The Case of the Velvet Claws
Oct 24 2023
The Case of the Velvet Claws
The Case of the Velvet Claws (1933) introduces criminal defense lawyer and detective Perry Mason and Della Street, his secretary. Perry is hired by Eva Belter, who’s being blackmailed and soon falls under suspicion for murder.The book sets the stage for one of the most popular series in crime fiction history. Author Erle Stanley Gardner went on to write 150 books that sold 300 million copies worldwide.Read: Buy it on Amazon. (Read time: ~4 hours)Reflect: Check out the conversation starters below..Here are some conversation starters and questions to get you thinking about The Case of the Velvet Claws!Book Comparison – The Case of the Velvet Claws vs. The Maltese FalconTwo books leap to mind as a comparison to Velvet Claws. The first is The Maltese Falcon. The second is The Innocence of Father Brown. In many ways, The Case of the Velvet Claws mirrors The Maltese Falcon. There’s a hardboiled detective in a sparsely furnished office, his Girl Friday faithful secretary, and a vicious, double-crossing, beautiful lady client. Each secretary even chides him on his behavior. Della Street is Effie Perine-like. Her eyes see far below the surface.Then the contrasts begin. Effie Perine in The Maltese Falcon is totally taken in by the wonderful Miss Wonderly. Her feminine intuition is way off. Della immediately hates Eva Belter and spends most of the book excoriating her. When both secretaries chide their “chief,” it’s for not doing enough for their client. When Effie scolds Sam, Effie doesn’t understand that Wonderly is a cold-blooded murderer and feels that Sam betrayed her by turning her over to the cops. When Della scolds Perry Mason in The Case of the Velvet Claws, she understands exactly what Eva is but feels that Perry has somehow betrayed himself and his own ethics.In The Maltese Falcon, Wonderly is Sam’s love interest, the woman he’s drawn to in spite of everything. One feels that if he ever wanted to settle down into a stable domestic life, he should probably go for an Effie, but that’s not who he is, and Effie’s love goes unrequited. Perry, on the other hand, ignores several of Eva’s attempts at flirtation. Instead, it’s Della who he loves and whose respect he craves. Whereas Spade can blow Effie off for being on the wrong track, Perry pleads with Della to have confidence in him.What Most Attorneys Are Like …In The Case of the Velvet Claws, Mason tells Eva, “Most of the attorneys that you’ve consulted have had expensive suites of offices and a lot of clerks running in and out. You’ve paid them big money and haven’t had anything much to show for it. They’ve bowed and scraped when you came in the room, and charged you big retainers. But when you get in a real jam you don’t dare to go to them.”“I’m different. I get my business because I fight for it, and because I fight for my clients. … People that come to me don’t come to me because they like the looks of my eyes, or the way my office is furnished, or because they’ve known me at a club. They come to me because they need me.”grace sigmaConsultancy specializing in lean process, systems design, data storytelling, and data visualization.Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.Support the showhttps://www.instagram.com/teatonicandtoxin/https://www.facebook.com/teatonicandtoxinhttps://www.teatonicandtoxin.comStay mysterious...
Rumor of Evil- a chat with Gary Braver
Oct 13 2023
Rumor of Evil- a chat with Gary Braver
Carolyn & Sarah are thrilled to speak with author Gary Braver on his latest mystery: Rumor of Evil. Just in time for spooky season, it was selected as one of Amazon Editors' Pick of Best Mysteries of October.Gary Braver has been touted as “one of the best thriller writers in America.”  His novels have been translated into seventeen languages; three have been optioned for movies, including Elixir by director Ridley Scott. And he is the only author to have three books listed on the top-10 highest customer-rated thrillers on Amazon.com at the same time.Now, on the heels of the bestseller CHOOSE ME, Braver brings us his latest title, the “unpredictable whodunit” (Publishers Weekly) RUMOR OF EVIL.Detectives Kirk Lucian and Mandy Wing are charged with investigating a reported suicide of a Cambridge, Massachusetts woman in her backyard on the anniversary of her young son’s death. After further investigation, the hanging appears staged. Once Kirk and Mandy' s suspicions are confirmed, they make a list of suspects. Clues begin to connect the recent murder to the decades-old mysterious death of a beautiful 16-year-old Romany exchange student who perished when a treehouse she was asleep in caught fire. The girl, Vadima Lupescu, had done “odd” things among her American peers that stirred up prejudices and suspicions, leading to her brutal death— and cover-up. As Kirk and Mandy investigate the bizarre rumors— that Vadima had “gypsy powers” and put curses on those around her— they discover a cauldron of dark secrets. Will they uncover the true cause of this tangled web of deaths and horrors before it spirals out of control?Gary Braver is the award-winning, international bestselling author of nine critically acclaimed medical thrillers and mysteries.  His novels have been celebrated for their high-concepts, careful craftsmanship, well-rounded characters, and page-turning momentum.  His novel FLASHBACK, which received a starred review in Publishers Weekly, is the only thriller to have won a Massachusetts Book Award for Fiction.  His previous book, CHOOSE ME (co-authored with Tess Gerritsen) was a #1 bestseller on Kindle and a bestseller in several foreign countries.Under his own name, Gary Goshgarian is an award-winning Professor Emeritus of English at Northeastern University where he taught Fiction Writing, Science Fiction, Horror Fiction, and Bestsellers.  He has also taught fiction-writing workshops throughout the United States and Europe and was founder of the London Writers Workshop. He is the author of six popular college writing textbooks.Goshgarian holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in physics from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, an MA in English from the University of Connecticut, and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Wisconsin. He lives in Arlington, MA with his family. To learn more about him and his novels, visit www.garybraver.com.Join us as we chat with Gary about what inspired him to write this story, authors that influence him, his writing process, and more!Linden BotanicalsWe sell the world’s healthiest herbal teas and extracts.Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.Support the showhttps://www.instagram.com/teatonicandtoxin/https://www.facebook.com/teatonicandtoxinhttps://www.teatonicandtoxin.comStay mysterious...
Malice Aforethought, episode 2!
Oct 9 2023
Malice Aforethought, episode 2!
Malice Aforethought is considered one of the first examples of the “inverted detective story.” Here, both the murder AND murderer are revealed at the beginning. The intrigue builds as the reader sees how the detective unravels the clues to solve the mystery.Published in 1931, the book ranks #16 in the Crime Writers’ Association’s Top 100 Crime Novels of All Time.Read: Buy it used or new on Amazon. (Read time: ~4 hours)Reflect: Check out the conversation starters below.Our Guest: Nate Harrison is a Geophysicist that works in the field of environmental remediation. He grew up in Palo Alto, California and attended college at the University of California at Davis and graduate school at the University of Montana. He's been living in Denver for the past 16 years now where he met his wife Sarah. In addition to geology and the environmental work Nate enjoys hobbies such as biking and photography. His primary interests today include being a father to his two children and working on the house that he and his wife helped design and build. Desire and ObsessionInfatuated with Madeleine, Teddy in Malice Aforethought is willing to take extreme measures to be with her. Ivy pretends to be pregnant. Chatford goes to Scotland Yard.At first, Teddy isn’t even attracted to her (she’s nondescript and dowdily dressed). However, she’s described as “one of those fortunate people who can make every stranger feel that he or she is the person they’ve been longing in secret all their lives to meet.” She’s a​​lso very deferential, a throwback in a day and age that’s increasingly feeling “modern.” (“she never said a single word about her own aspirations and accomplishments. Yes, a girl like this was to be met only once in a lifetime.”)Infatuation grows into obsession. Teddy leads a rich fantasy life. He dreams of being summoned to Buckingham Palace — Lord Bickleigh, the greatest surgeon, tennis player, and artist of all time. What starts out as a life without Julia fantasy morphs into a how to murder Julia fantasy. Were you able to identify with this sort of fantasy life? Do you have any idea seeds that grow to become consuming?Human PsychologyAnthony Berkeley Cox, author of Malice Aforethought, was known for his dry, sardonic wit and looked “beyond the straightforward puzzle aspect of the classic British Golden Age mystery and had begun to examine the psychological aspects of his protagonists” (Barry Forshaw). He was more interested in the puzzle of character than of plot (time, place, motive, and opportunity).Malice Aforethought delves into the psychology of the murderer, the dark corners of the human mind, and the fine line between sanity and madness.Teddy has what they call an inferiority complex. “In these days of glib reference to complexes, repressions, and fixations on every layman’s lips, it is not to be supposed that Dr Bickleigh did not know what was the matter with him. He could diagnose an inferiority complex, … But to diagnose is not to cure.” (p28) These words ring so true these days as well. Daily references to diagnoses of the self and others. What is the power of a di​​agnosis? Is a cure something we even work toward? Teddy “liked to be liked by the people he liked – and he did like most people.” (p30)Carolyn DaughtersBrand therapy. Persuasive writing courses. Tell the best story possible.Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.Support the showhttps://www.instagram.com/teatonicandtoxin/https://www.facebook.com/teatonicandtoxinhttps://www.teatonicandtoxin.comStay mysterious...
Malice Aforethought, episode 1
Sep 29 2023
Malice Aforethought, episode 1
Welcome to the Tea, Tonic & Toxin book club and podcast! Our focus is the history of mystery. We’re reading and discussing the best mysteries, detective stories, and thrillers ever written.Malice Aforethought is considered one of the first examples of the “inverted detective story.” Both the murder AND murderer are revealed at the beginning. The intrigue builds as the reader sees how the murderer’s scheme starts to falls apart.Published in 1931, the book ranks #16 in the Crime Writers’ Association Top 100 Crime Novels of All Time.Read: Buy it used or new on Amazon. (Read time: ~4 hours)Reflect: Check out the conversation starters below.Here are some questions about Malice Aforethought to get you started. Read, reflect, weigh in above, and listen to the podcast!Detection ClubAnthony Berkeley Cox, author of Malice Aforethought, was one of the founding members of the Detection Club, formed in 1930. Members included Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, Hugh Walpole, E. C. Bentley, and Baroness Emma Orczy. Berkeley Cox came up with the idea of fellow crime writers gathering for dinner. The first president was G. K. Chesterton. The club aimed to provide a social gathering for crime writers and use its influence to promote high standards.Dorothy Sayers wrote the initiation oath: “Do you promise that your detectives shall well and truly detect the crimes presented to them using those wits which it may please you to bestow upon them and not placing reliance on nor making use of Divine Revelation, Feminine Intuition, Mumbo Jumbo, Jiggery-Pokery, Coincidence, or Act of God?”At first, the Detection Club restricted membership to respectable detective novelists. The club eventually relaxed the qualification criteria and now allows writers of spy thrillers, etc. Today, the Detection Club still holds regular meetings in London.Inverted MysteryMalice Aforethought is an inverted mystery, which is a mystery that reveals the murderer early in the story. The real ​​mystery of the story is why the murder was committed or how the murderer is caught. Here are the opening lines: “It was not until several weeks after he had decided to murder his wife that Dr. Bickleigh took any active steps in the matter. Murder is a serious business. The slightest slip may be disastrous. Dr. Bickleigh had no intention of risking disaster.”How did you feel about getting all this information right up front?DeceptionIn Malice Aforethought, Teddy maintains the façade of a devoted husband while secretly planning his wife’s murder. Characters manipulate and betray others to achieve their desires.Beyond external deception there is the deep self-deception that Teddy practices. I was often reminded of George Costanza: “It’s not a lie if you believe it.” Teddy sees his petty degradations in a grandiose light. His petty affairs he sees as finding the “one woman in the world he ought to have married”grace sigmaConsultancy specializing in lean process, systems design, data storytelling, and data visualization.Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.Support the showhttps://www.instagram.com/teatonicandtoxin/https://www.facebook.com/teatonicandtoxinhttps://www.teatonicandtoxin.comStay mysterious...
The Maltese Falcon, episode 2!
Sep 11 2023
The Maltese Falcon, episode 2!
Tea, Tonic, and Toxin is a book club and podcast for people who love mysteries, thrillers, introspection, and good conversation. Each month, your hosts, Sarah Harrison and Carolyn Daughters, will discuss a game-changing mystery or thriller from the 19th and 20th centuries. Together, we’ll see firsthand how the genre evolved.Along the way, we’ll entertain ideas, prospects, theories, doubts, and grudges, along with the occasional guest. And we hope to entertain you, dear friend. We want you to experience the joys of reading some of the best mysteries and thrillers ever written.Consider Subscribing for an on-air shout out and merch!Thanks to our Sponsor! gracesigma.com: Consultancy specializing in lean process improvement, continuous improvement, Six Sigma, systems design, metric development, data storytelling, and data visualization.Meet our guest:Mike Nugent has worked as a lawyer, lobbyist, litigator and business executive in thetechnology, intellectual property and financial services fields, and has always worked at being a writer. He has self-published three political mystery novels and has a fourth about to be submitted. He has self-published a children’s book and has had several short stories published in various journals in the US and abroad, one of which he’s turned into a short screenplay. One of his books was a Writers &  Readers Magazine’s Authorlink! Featured Thriller for two straight months and another made it to the semifinalist round in the 2015 James Jones First Novel Fellowship contest, meaning it was selected in the top 30 of over 675 submissions.Mike’s work can be found at amazon.com/author/pmnugent.https://www.facebook.com/pmnudgeMike is a member of Lighthouse Writers’ Workshop in Denver, Colorado where he completed a 2-year Book Project program on writing novels led by 2023 Edgar Award winner Erika Krouse. He lives near the Jersey Shore.THAT ENDING: Spade tried to turn the thugs against each other - In the end, Spade sees right through Brigid. Like the Op, nothing escapes his attention. How do you interpret Spade’s actions in the final scene? THE FLITCRAFT PARABLE: Is the search for meaning futile in our chaotic, unpredictable, morally ambiguous world? Here’s the story Spade tells Brigid. Back in 1922, a man named Flitcraft left his real estate office in Tacoma and never returned. In 1927, Mrs. Flitcraft came to the detective agency where Spade was then working, claiming someone had seen a man in Spokane that looked like her husband. Spade checked it out, and sure enough the man was Flitcraft. Going by the name Charles Pierce, Flitcraft had a car business, a wife, and a baby son. Flitcraft explained to Spade that one day he was walking down the sidewalk when a beam fell from a construction site and almost killed him. Though he wasn’t seriously injured, the incident made him realize that we can die at random at any time. “He felt like somebody had taken the lid off life and let him look at the works.” He decided to change his own life at random by simply disappearing. After drifting around the country for several years, he settled in Spokane and got married. Spade is fascinated by the fact that Flitcraft’s new life wasn’t that different from his previous life. “He adjusted himself to beams falling, and then no more of them fell, and he adjusted himself to them not fallinSupport the showhttps://www.instagram.com/teatonicandtoxin/https://www.facebook.com/teatonicandtoxinhttps://www.teatonicandtoxin.comStay mysterious...
The Maltese Falcon, episode 1
Sep 6 2023
The Maltese Falcon, episode 1
Published in 1930, The Maltese Falcon is gritty, gripping noir at its best. As far as detective stories go, this one’s a game changer.Detective Sam Spade’s cool, cynical nature turned him into one of the most memorable characters in literature and film, most notably the 1941 release starring Humphrey Bogart. Both the book and the movie are stunners.Read: Buy it used or new on Amazon. (Read time: ~4 hours)Reflect: Check out the conversation starters below.Meet our guest:Mike Nugent has worked as a lawyer, lobbyist, litigator and business executive in thetechnology, intellectual property and financial services fields, and has always worked at being a writer. He has self-published three political mystery novels and has a fourth about to be submitted. He has self-published a children’s book and has had several short stories published in various journals in the US and abroad, one of which he’s turned into a short screenplay. One of his books was a Writers &  Readers Magazine’s Authorlink! Featured Thriller for two straight months and another made it to the semifinalist round in the 2015 James Jones First Novel Fellowship contest, meaning it was selected in the top 30 of over 675 submissions.Mike’s work can be found at amazon.com/author/pmnugent.https://www.facebook.com/pmnudgeMike is a member of Lighthouse Writers’ Workshop in Denver, Colorado where he completed a 2-year Book Project program on writing novels led by 2023 Edgar Award winner Erika Krouse.He lives near the Jersey Shore.WRITING STYLE + NOIR MYSTERY: Spade’s gruff “matter of fact” voice lacks any sign of emotion and seems hyper-masculine, modern, and American. The Maltese Falcon’s mystery at the center of the story – how is it different from prior (pre-1929) mystery styles? Does it hold up? Do Hammett’s writing craft, methods, and tricks work? SANITARIUMS, SAN QUENTIN & SAN FRANCISCO: Spade tells Brigid, “Most things in San Francisco can be bought, or taken.” (Ch.6) How important is the novel’s setting in The Maltese Falcon?“Cold steamy air blew in through two open windows, bringing with it half a dozen times a minute the Alcatraz foghorn’s dull moaning. A tinny alarm-clock, insecurely mounted on a corner of Duke’s Celebrated Criminal Cases of America—face down on the table—held its hands at five minutes past two.” (Ch.2)“This is my city and my game. I could manage to land on my feet—sure—this time, but the next time I tried to put over a fast one they’d stop me so fast I’d swallow my teeth. Hell with that. You birds’ll be in New York or Constantinople or some place else. I’m in business here.” (Ch.18)SAM SPADE: He’s 6’ tall and “looked rather pleasantly like a blond satan.” What’s his moral code? Is it hard (impossible?) to have one in so violent a world as the one in The Maltese Falcon? In Ch.12, he says he’s “no damned good.” Is that true? Is he a hero? Anti-hero?“It’s tough, him getting it like that. Miles had his faults same as the rest of us, but I guess he must’ve had some good points too.” [Tom Polhaus speaking]“I guess so,” Spade agreed in a tone that was utterly meaningless ….” (Ch.2)“Have the Spade & Archer taken off the door and Samuel Spade put on.” (Ch.3) Spade stopped pacing the floor. He put his hands on his hips and glared at the girl. He addressed her in a loud savage voice: “Nobody followed her. Do you think I’m a God-damned schoolboy? I made sure of it before I put her in the cab, I rode a dozen blocks with her to be more sure, and I checked her another haSupport the showhttps://www.instagram.com/teatonicandtoxin/https://www.facebook.com/teatonicandtoxinhttps://www.teatonicandtoxin.comStay mysterious...