Mystery Factory


My Opinion on the Books I Read.

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Death’s Last Run by Robin Spano

I read mysteries all the time and it occurred to me the it would be something interesting to blog about. My blogging to date has been stilted and plot school centred. This is different.

Nothing so lofty as a book review, but my person opinion of a book I’ve read, based on what I like and dislike AND my experience of writing mystery plots over 30 years of live industrial theatre; plus 60 years of reading whatever I could get my hands on.

DEATH’S LAST RUN by Robin Spano

A delightful find with an edgy, unlikable female lead that you nevertheless care about. If Spano represents the current calibre of Canadian Mystery Writing, we are indeed in a Golden Age. Recommended read for those who like their mysteries light and fast paced with an in-your-face grit.

That’s my opinion.

The Night Spies

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Kids love to play outside at night, especially if it is something that they don’t usually do.

Spice up your child’s party by designing a Clue Hunt and then playing the game at night. This is something that you should set up in daylight, in your yard, a day or two ahead of time so that you can play it yourself first and make sure that there aren’t any unexpected tricky bits or hazards. Is there a tree stump that can be tripped over? Flag it.

Give the spies flashlights. Play as singles, with a partner, or in teams depending on the age of the children involved.

Fun for a summer camp or family reunion as well.

LASER MAZE – Kids Mystery or Spy Party

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Hey it’s been NINE YEARS since I have last blogged. That has to be some kind of a record, right?  Well time to get back up on the horse and gallop off into social media again. So this time around I will be focusing on Mystery Tips for your parties and plots.  Here’s the first one!

Most kids enjoy playing in the dark if they feel safe. Why not set up a GLOW IN THE DARK LASER MAZE for your next spy party sleepover? White yarn, rags or crepe paper strung across a hallway, staircase or porch will glow under a black light.



Cool as a Cucumber

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What the heck is person or persons unknown going to do with $10,000 worth of cucumbers? That’s one question the Adelaide police are probably asking themselves after eleven robberies of the cylindrical gourd as reported by The Sydney Morning Herald on August 12, 2009. Then there’s the question of identifying the stolen goods. How do you tell one cucumber from another. Can you pick it out of a line-up of other cucumbers?

$10,000 of cucumbers is an awful lot of salad and facials, that’s for sure – or a cucumber cleanse. Or maybe there’s something more sinister afoot  … maybe it’s a new unusual, untraceable murder weapon.

In the 1600s, raw vegetables were seen as poisonous or fit only for feeding livestock. Cucumbers were called cowcumbers because they were feed to the cows. Samuel Pepys, famous for his diary written at that time, had an entry in September of 1663, “this day Sir W. Batten tells me that Mr. Newhouse is dead of eating cowcumbers, of which the other day I heard of another, I think.” What a pickle.

Parachute Panties

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parachute panties2My husband recently asked a new friend, aged seventy something, what her most thrilling adventure had been in life, so far. This darling woman related the following:

She was seven years old and living in England during World War II. Occasionally German pilots got shot down and parachuted from their planes to the relative safety below. One day this happened near the small village she was living in. As the unsuspecting soldier was billowing to earth, all the woman in town, along with our young friend,  rushed madly out and attacked the dangerously armed enemy.

They stripped the confused pilot of his parachute and, leaving him to his own devices, went gaily back to their houses to divvy up the spoils. Luxuries were rare in those days and the fabric was used to make underwear. Parachute panties were something of a status symbol and well worth the hazard involved in getting the raw material. It had been quite the thrill for a seven year old in those dark times.