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January 2020 Mystery Minute

by ZJ Czupor A Dark and Stormy Night In the “Peanuts” cartoon strip we see the almost human-dog Snoopy sitting on his doghouse, hunched over a typewriter, writing the Great American Novel. And he begins typing: “It was a dark and stormy night.” Then he gets stuck and...

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November 2019 Mystery Minute

by ZJ Czupor A Funny Author with a Big Heart He’s a successful mystery author you may never have heard of. An ordinary guy with a great sense of humor and an even bigger heart. After he graduated from New York University, he decided to work in the film business. He...

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October 2019 Mystery Minute

by ZJ Czupor Money can be a motivating factor In 1920, he was born to poor Italian immigrants in the Hell’s Kitchen area of New York City. At the age of 12, he dropped out of school to get a job after his father deserted the family. He worked as a railroad switchboard...

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September 2019 Mystery Minute

by ZJ Czupor The Art of the Red Herring “Four little Indian boys going out to sea; a red herring swallowed one and then there were three.” The above line is the seventh stanza from a longer American nursery rhyme, “Ten Little Indians,” (1869). The entire rhyme is...

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2019 Six Word Mystery Contest

WHO CAN SUBMIT: Anyone 18 years or older. WHAT TO SUBMIT: All submissions must be in English. Use only the keys on a standard, computer keyboard (upper/lower-case letters, numbers, punctuation, basic symbols). Emojis, special symbols and other images are not allowed....

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June 2019 Mystery Minute

by ZJ Czupor Fingerprinting in Fiction Picture Dawson’s Landing, a fictional Missouri frontier town, on the banks of the Mississippi River in the first half of the 19th century. It’s the setting for Mark Twain’s 1894 satiric crime novel, Pudd’nhead Wilson, which...

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May 2019 Mystery Minute

THROUGH A GLASS, DARKLY: The Pioneering Author and The Omnipresent Title Helen Worrell Clarkson McCloy (1904-1994) was a prolific writer of mystery novels and a major influence on the genre. She wrote under the pseudonyms Helen McCloy and Helen Clarkson. She was born...

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April 2019 Mystery Minute

The Butler Did It By ZJ Czupor Tonight, we’ll examine the origins of the phrase, “the butler did it.” But first, let’s consider Arthur Conan Doyle’s (1859 – 1930) “The Musgrave Ritual” an 1893 detective story from The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. Though the butler was...

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March 2019 Mystery Minute

Writing the Hardy Boys series was “hack work” By ZJ Czupor After he graduated from high school in Haileybury, Ontario, Leslie McFarlane (1902 – 1977), spent the next fifty years as a writer. He produced hundreds of short stories for pulp magazines, novellas and...

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February 2019 Mystery Minute

Sweetheart Sleuths: A Valentine’s Mystery Minute By ZJ Czupor Feb. 14, 2019 The “mistress of mystery” Janet Rudolph blogging in “Mystery Fanfare” (Feb. 11, 2019), claims there are roughly eighty authors who’ve written about “sweetheart sleuths,” couples who either...

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