Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Writing Techniques 7-9

Red Herrings- bits of information given to the reader to mislead them in their search for the guilty party.

Time Period- events of the reader's time period or famous historic events are included in the mystery.

Characterization- in depth description of the character and his mannerisms, what the character says, does, wears, how he treats his mother. Makes the character more realistic.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Book Review #3

Title: Murder at the Universe

Author: Daniel Edward Craig

Classification: Mystery

  • Trevor Lambert- Director of rooms at The Universe Hotel. Finds the body of Mr. Godfrey.
  • Willard Godfrey- Owner and manager at The Universe Hotel.
  • Shanna Virani- Director of sales and marketing at The Universe, girlfriend of Mr. Godfrey.
  • Matthew Drummond- Former astronaut, part of the management team, becomes general manager after Mr. Godfrey's death.
  • Brenda Rathberger- The executive director of VOID, an anti-impaired driving organization that is holding a conference at The Universe, finds the body of Mr. Godfrey with Trevor Lambert.
  • Nancy Swinton- Duty manager at The Universe, Trevor Lambert's love interest.
  • Gaetan Boudreau- Front office manager, is involved in a scandalous homosexual affair in the book.
  • Cynthia Godfrey- Daughter of Mr. Godfrey, known for being a party-girl.
  • Mona- The automated elevator system in The Universe.
  • Honica Winters- A pushy reporter compared with being a younger Barbara Walters.
  • Cassandra (Sandy) James- Director of human resources, suspected of killing Mr. Godfrey.
  • Roger Weatherhead- Friend and lawyer for Mr. Godfrey.
      All seems to be going well at the Universe Hotel, a huge conference is coming in, bringing bonuses for the employees at the hotel. Mr. Godfrey is happy and the holiday party the night before was a huge success. Just as the hotel is about to become home for the Victims Of Impared Driving (VOID) members, Mr. Godfrey is found dead in the hotel parking structure. Now Brenda Rathberger, the executive director of VOID, is questioning whether the hotel is right for her conference, especially since the owner of the hotel, has been found dead, apparantly killed by a drunk driver. Perhaps even worse is that the murderer is suspected to be one of the hotel's employees. The hotel seems to be falling to pieces as employees struggle to find answers, to questions that only Mr. Godfrey seemed to know the answers to. Now that Mr. Godfrey is dead, who takes over? Why was Mr. Godfrey scheduling to meet with all the members of the hotel's management team? What really happened to the seemingly beloved hotelier? What is the fate of The Universe? What happened to Sandy James that would have left her with scraped knees and palms, and a damaged truck, the day after the hotel holiday party? Why was Sandy acting so suspicious? Did she have it in her to hit a man and then simply drive home to her husband and children? If not Sandy, then who hit Mr. Godfrey and just drove away?

      Murder at the Universe is one of 4 books written by Daniel Edward Craig. In the first twenty-one pages we learn a little about the hotel industry and how it works, and we discover the dead body of Mr. Willard Godfrey, owner of The Universe Hotel. From here the story becomes even more intriguing
when one of the hotel’s own employees is found not only to have received a DWI on the night of the murder, but to have sustained damage to her right front fender on that same night. It seems the story ends here, the evidence against Sandy James is overwhelming, the police question her frequently, her home life is falling to pieces, and she has been condemned by many of her coworkers. However the story takes a surprising turn when it is discovered that a disguised woman was both at the party where Mr. Godfrey died, and was seen driving out of the parking garage at the time that he was believed to have been hit. Even more surprising is the police’s realization that Mr. Godfrey had not been the accidental victim of a drunken hit and run, but had been hit by the car, and then beaten to death by the driver. So who was the mystery woman? Why did she want Mr. Godfrey dead? And would The Universe Hotel be able to survive the shocking murder of its creator?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Writing Techniques 4-6

Metaphors- used as a descriptive writing technique. Compares one thing to another.

Relatable Characters- draw in readers of all races, genders, and socio-economic backgrounds. Allows for a connection to be made between the reader and the character that is most like them.

Description- with more description, comes an ability for the reader to imagine themselves in the main character's house, or school, it allows the reader to imagine the settings.

Writing Techniques 1-3

Early Crime- allows for an adequate amount of time to thoroughly investigate the crime. Captures the interest of the reader almost instantly.

Early Introduction- allows the reader to become familiar with the main characters. Readers are given time to form their own theories of who is guilty and how the crime was committed.

Foreshadowing- allows the reader to participate in the investigation. Readers with an attention to small detail are given the chance to find the guilty party before he or she is revealed.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Book Review #1

Title: Murder on the Orient Express

Author: Agatha Christie

Classification: Mystery

Hercule Poirot- Detective, known for “following his gut”.
M. Bouc- Compagnie Wagon Lits director, known for jumping to conclusions
Pierre Michel- French, Conductor of the Orient Express.
Dr. Constantine- Coroner, he believes all the “clues” left by the murderer(s).
Mary Debenham- Seen on first train with Colonel Arbuthnot, “calm cool and collected.”
Colonel Arbuthnot- English, polite, and always protects Mary, a “stranger”.
Hector MacQueen- Ratchett’s personal secretary and translator.
M. Ratchett- Victim on the train, described as “evil-looking”.
Antonio Foscarelli- A big Italian man, suspected by M. Bouc of being part of the mob that wanted to kill Ratchett.
Edward Henry Masterman- Ratchett’s valet, hardly a part of the novel.
Cyrus Hardman- An American who claims to belong to a NY detective agency.
Princess Dragomiroff- Russian Princess, old, ugly, and owner of the handkerchief.
Greta Ohlsson- Swedish, known for being extremely emotional.
Mrs. Hubbard- Stayed in the compartment next to Ratchett’s, and is known for telling stories about her daughter.
Hildegarde Schmidt- the Princess’ maid, slow-minded and quiet.
Count Andrenyi- Very defensive and protective when it comes to his wife.
Countess Andrenyi- Young, beautiful, and open to interrogation.

While on a train in Europe, the famous detective, Hercule Poirot, is forced into a case when another traveler is murdered. The evidence seems to give more questions than answers. What time was the murder actually committed? Did the stopwatch tell the true time of death, or was it staged? Why would the murderer leave his pipe cleaner? How did a woman’s handkerchief with the initial H find itself in the murdered man’s compartment? Who was the woman in the kimono seen wandering  the train that night? Who was the small man with the feminine voice? Who was Mr.Ratchett really? Why was he killed? And why were his stab wounds so inconsistent?

This book is the ninth Hercule Poirot in a series of 38 mysteries. An attention to small detail, and a good memory are required when reading this novel. The author catches the reader’s attention almost immediately with a secretive and suspicious conversation between passengers on a previous train. Then the suspense continues when a man who appears as “a wild animal-an animal savage, but savage!” (19) is found in his train compartment to have been murdered in the night. Then comes the realization that the murderer must still be on the train, for the weather prevented them from leaving. Furthermore there are two unexplained and suspicious characters that cannot be accounted for. Agatha Christie is very successful in capturing and holding her reader’s interest and curiosity. The end comes as a complete and unexpected surprise!

Book Review #2

Title: Paper Towns

Author: John Green

Classification: Mystery

Quentin Jacobsen- Neighbor of Margo, social outcast and nerd, loves Margo.
Margo Roth Spiegelman- Neighbor of “Q”, mysterious, runaway, popular girl.
Radar- Computer geek, “know-it-all”, “Q’s” friend.
Ben Starling- Friend of “Q” and Radar, obsessed with fitting in and acting cool.
Lacey Pemberton- One of Margo’s close friends who becomes Ben’s girlfriend.

            Quentin Jacobsen and Margo Roth Spiegelman have been neighbors since they were 2 years old, and were best friends until the day they found a man, Robert Joyner, dead in the park. Then the two grew apart as “Q” became the school nerd and Margo became the popular girl in school. Until one night, Margo shows up at Q’s bedroom window dressed all in black, and asks him to help her with an eleven-part plan she has drawn up to issue payback to the “friends” who betrayed her. Q and Margo go on a journey involving fish, spray paint, naked pictures, and sea world. Q and Margo seem to have reconnected, until the next morning it is discovered that Margo has run off, possibly to kill herself. Now Q must follow the clues that Margo left him, discover the significance of the “Paper Towns”, and rush to save the life of the girl he loves.

            Paper Towns is book number three for John Green. This book immediately captures your attention with the discovery of a man who has committed suicide. Even more shocking than this discovery is Margo Roth Spiegelman’s reaction to the suicide. Rather than being frightened or confused, she wants to investigate what exactly caused all the “strings” in him to break. Furthermore, why was Margo so intent on Q accompanying her on her journey of revenge? More importantly, why did Margo disappear the day after her adventure, when she had seemed so happy the night before? Margo is an intriguing character in that no one seems to really know or understand who she is or how she thinks. Her actions are always unexpected, but appear to have been planned for months. Was she really depressed? Did she leave to commit suicide? Had all the “strings” broken inside of her, like they had in Robert Joyner? This book will never give you a clue as to what will come next, every page has a new discovery, a new surprise. The bond between the characters and the high school setting will allow teens and young adults to appreciate and enjoy this mystery.