Book Club Questions
MAYHEM WITH A
1. In Mayhem With A Capital M do you think Matt Malone’s sixth sense, premonitions, creates more problems for the PI or advantages?
2. Do you believe in premonitions? Have you or someone else close to you experienced premonitions and taken action accordingly?
3. Why does Matt ignore his sixth sense when it first affects him in church? If it were you, would you have done the same?
4. Why wasn’t Matt thrilled when he learned he was going to Puerto Vallarta with his sister? Were you able to empathize with him?
5. When you first learned of the trip and the people who were going along, how did you expect their time together to turn out? Were you surprised by the outcome?
6. When Matt Malone started interviewing Jake Ballad’s past and present employees who did the author lead you to believe was stealing the gas? Was it a good deception?
7. Do you think Matt and Rita Sinclair had a sound relationship?
8. Did the element of romance enhance or distract from the story?
9. Were you upset that Matt and Rita split up in the end or were you expecting them to? Why?
10. Describe Matt’s relationship with Mrs. Grimshaw, his neighbor. Is it believable?
11. Do the dynamics of the Malone family remind you of your own family relationships?
12. Were the cast of characters a good mix for this cozy mystery?
13. Were the motivations of the characters believable?
14. Should there have been more undercurrent involving Elaine Best and Matt or was it sufficient?
15. How important is the setting to this story?
16. Did you feel you could picture Matt’s office, apartment and other places he ventured to?
17. Were you able to predict certain outcomes before they happened or did the author keep you guessing until the end of the story?
18. Did you feel there was a steady build-up in the story till the end?
19. Did Mayhem With A Capital M live up to your expectations?
20. What is the most important part of this mystery for each group member? Action, dialogue, setting or characterization?
21. Did you like or dislike the fact that the author intertwines Malone’s two cases instead of resolving each one individually?
22. If you were the author, would you change the ending or keep as is?
DEATH OF THE
At the beginning of the novel did you get the impression that Mary would rather be on her own than depending on a roommate?
Do you feel nonagenarian Margaret Grimshaw doesn’t tell people what they want to hear, but rather gives them food for thought? What do you think of a person like that?
What obstacles did Mary have to overcome in order to take a trip to Duluth to do research for her novel?
After Mary’s first encounter with Officer Fitzwell, do you think she meant what she said to Aunt Zoe about woman needing more than a few days to figure out if a new man in their life is the real thing?
At what part in the book did you figure Mary would take on the jewelry heist?
In Chapter 8 did you pick up on the author’s first “red herring”—Marge and her jewelry?
How did you feel when Mary turned down Meredith Hawthorne’s request for help the first time she met her? Have you ever turned someone down when they asked a favor? Did you later regret your decision?
How did Mary feel when she discovered the naked lady was Darcy? Was it reasonable for her to blame herself for Darcy’s death?
Was it wise for Mary to keep certain information from the police regarding Darcy and the jewel heist? Did she make the right decision?
Did you suspect the three men Mary and her companions ran into when they first arrived at the Del Ray Apartment complex could be a clue?
Do you think Aunt Zoe and Mary had a right to be frazzled by what they saw on the beach or did they blow it out of proportion? What would you have done given the same situation on a beach in your area?
When Officer Fitzwell kept popping up at the weirdest times, did you begin to think he might be involved with the jewel heist or just a “red herring”? How many times did Mary run into him in the story before she started sharing info with him?
Trudy kept lying every time she was questioned. Did you think she was involved with Darcy’s murder or innocent?
How many “red herrings” did you find in the story?
Were Margaret and Aunt Zoe both helpful in solving Darcy’s death and the jewel heist? Give examples.
How did you feel when you learned Aunt Zoe and Margaret had been tied up?
Did you ever suspect the missing jewels were hidden in Marge’s hassock she loaned to Cousin Lizzie? Where would you have chosen to hide them?
Death of the
What were the problems Mary needed to resolve before her brother Matt returned to the States? Did she succeed in resolving them?
2. Does Margaret Grimshaw offer sufficient advice to Mary whenever she seeks it?
3. Did you think Mary would ever decide to help Butch with his issues? Why or why not?
4. If you were Mary, an amateur sleuth, would you have taken on a job at the plant without some sort of backup?
5. When Mary first picked up gossip at work, who did you suspect might have killed Don Hickleman?
6. By the time this book draws to an end, has Mary’s feelings in regard to her aunt’s incompetence changed much?
7. Share some of the red herrings the author has sprinkled throughout the novel.
8. At any point in this novel did you feel Anita Crane might have killed Don Hickleman and Paul Mason? If so, what lead you to to believe that?
9. Were you surprised to find out who murdered the two men and stole the company recipes?
10. Which character in this book was your favorite? Why?
11. What fact about the pickling process impressed you the most?
1. When you saw the title of this novel, what did you immediately think
North Dakota Neighbor referred to? After reading the novel, how many
other meanings did you discover besides the one you first thought of?
2. Did you think the book title North Dakota Neighbor was a good indicator
of what this novel was about? If not, why?
3. Have you ever sat in on a school board meeting or been on the board?
How did the meeting flow, especially when the main discussion revolved around
building a new school?
4. What kind of relationship has Matt built with his neighbor Mrs. Grimshaw?
5. Does Matt give as much to their relationship as Mrs. Grimshaw does?
6. Have you ever personally known someone in such dire straits as Violet Harper?
7. Do you think the author gave you the reader enough true info on the two
Native American Indian tribes to make the story believable?
8. Have you read any books or articles covering Minnesota’s mid-1800s and the Sioux Indian population?
9. Do you feel Matt Malone was successful in resolving his two cases?
10. At what point did you realize Matt’s two cases were intertwined?
11. What chapter of the novel did you think Ron, the CAT operator, might be Brad Harper?
12. If the cops hadn’t shown up at the school property, do you think Brad Harper would’ve
succeeded in smothering Matt to death?
13. Can a relationship like the one Rita and Matt have truly worked out, with one person
a workaholic and the other barely hanging on to his business by the skin of his teeth,
or will they eventually split?
1. Which character in the novel did you especially relate to? Why?
2. What did you think of the author's storytelling approach--providing chapters
for Mary Malone to speak her mind in the first person and then allowing Matt chapters to tell the
story in the first person as well? Would you have liked the author to give Matt an equal amount of
chapters or none at all?
3. Did you consider Aunt Zoe's working with Mary at the Willows a hindrance
or a benefit? Give examples.
4. Was Matt too hard on Mary when he learned she went out to Afton on her own after her injury?
5. Do you think the author shared enough scenes to capture the various relationships between relatives, friends, and lovers?
6. Early on, which character did you think might be involved with Fumiaki Kato's disappearance?
Did you change your mind after the story progressed?
7. Have you known someone personally who has suffered a severe head injury or has been in a coma?
Was Doris' recovery similar?
8. Do you agree with Matt that Mary shouldn't have been involved ih the case dealing with Mr. Kato?
9. Were you surprised when you finally discovered who was involved in Fumiaki's disappearance and death?
10.What did you think of the novel's ending?
11. Would you recommend this novel to a friend? Why?