Thursday, September 9, 2010

On the Verge of a Mystery

Yes, it is almost that time! Monday is the official launch of "Mystery Week," but I must say that it might be a little different than what you're thinking. Of course, you could ask me how I know what you're thinking . . . and I could answer you that I don't know, at least not for sure. ;) Either way, just think of it as all part of the mystery!

Now that I've thoroughly confused you, I thought it would be fun to talk about our favorite mystery books, movies, T.V. shows, games, etc.

As far as books go, one Christian fiction mystery book that sticks out in my mind is Under the Cajun Moon by Mindy Starns Clark. I bought it last year when I was at Walmart (a favorite hangout for the college student), and I really enjoyed it! I loved the setting and the characters--and the mystery/suspense kept my interest.

Here's a description of the book from the author's website:

"What Secrets Can Be Found by the Light of the Cajun Moon?

New Orleans may be the "Big Easy," but nothing about it was ever easy for international business etiquette expert Chloe Ledet. She moved away years ago, leaving her parents and their famous French Quarter restaurant behind. But when she hears that her father has been shot, she races home to be by his side and to handle his affairs—only to learn a long-
hidden secret that changes everything she knew to be true about herself and her family.

Framed for murder, Chloe and a handsome Cajun stranger must search for a priceless treasure, one whose roots weave through the very history of Louisiana itself. But can Chloe depend on the mysterious man leading her on this cat-and-mouse chase into the heart of Cajun
country? Or by trusting him, has she gone from the frying pan into the fire?

Following up on her bestselling Gothic thriller, Whispers of the Bayou, and Amish romantic suspense, Shadows of Lancaster County, Mindy Starns Clark offers another exciting standalone novel, one full of Cajun mystery, hidden dangers, and the glow of God's unending grace."

As for movies, I love Murder She Purred! This movie is great for animal lovers as well as mystery lovers--so cute and so fun!

Here's a description of the movie from "A fun, spoofy thriller, MURDER SHE PURRED is based on a book from Rita Mae Brown's popular MRS. MURPHY mystery series! In the spirit of AIR BUD, a crime-solving cat named Mrs. Murphy talks with her canine counterpart, Tucker ... and together, they conspire to help their unsuspecting owner, amateur sleuth Mary "Harry" Haristeen (Ricki Lake -- MRS. WINTERBOURNE), get to the bottom of some baffling local mysteries! So when there's a suspicious death in their cozy little Virginia town, Mrs. Murphy and Tucker become the secret accomplices in Harry's investigation! Your entire family will be entertained as this intrepid threesome set out to sort through the bizarre events, wild rumors, and shocking revelations that stand between them and the truth!"

Plus, I have a fun story that goes along with this movie! I watched this when I was younger, and my cat (who stays at my grandparents' house) was simply called Murphy for the most part. After seeing this movie, my grandpa called my cat Mr. Murphy (to parallel Mrs. Murphy in the movie), and the name has stuck through the years. ;) Of course, his name is often shortened to Murphy or sometimes "Murfin" when I'm thinking about my sister's cat Muffin Man. But I digress . . .

There's only one obvious choice for my favorite mystery T.V. show (actually two if we're going to be technical): Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys from the 1970s! LOVE those shows, especially the earlier actors and actresses. Don't even get me started about Parker Stevenson, the actor who plays Frank in The Hardy Boys--talk about BLUE eyes! ;)

Below is a YouTube video I found with the introduction of one of the seasons of the show:

And as far as games go, there's nothing like a good game of Clue to get you in the mood for a mystery! I love the original version, but I confess that some of the newer versions, including Clue DVD, are pretty entertaining!

At this point I must add my love for Murder Mystery parties!!! Some of my high school friends and I have done a couple of these parties at my house, and they're always so much fun! We use the kits that come in a box, and my mom and I have a lot of fun planning, decorating, etc. The one we did last Christmas break, for example, was Mardi Gras themed, and we had lots of food (including jambalaya!), Mardi Gras themed plates and cups, decorations we had left over from my 10th birthday party, etc.

What really helps with these Murder Mystery parties is having a dummy in the house. ;) We have a dummy named Bubba (which my dad has used when teaching at the Police Academy at a local community college), and he's always good for a scare (and laugh!). Definitely adds another element to the party when you can see the "body"--and when you can hide it and have someone accidentally stumble upon it. Oh, the memories . . .

Here are some pictures from our last Murder Mystery party (my parents also got in on the fun!):

Note the food! Food is a very important part of every party. ;) As you can see in the above picture, everyone was getting into their roles and diving into the story.

Staying in character throughout the Murder Mystery party is key!!! This is what makes it fun. Everything you do or say can be a clue to all the other characters, and vice versa. Plus, it's just so entertaining being able to accuse each other! ;)

Have I already mentioned that Murder Mystery parties are fun? ;) Don't we look like we stepped right out of Clue? Note Bubba playing his role quite well on the floor! (As a warning, some of the kits can be somewhat inappropriate in their story content, so I just want to make sure you're aware of that if you have an interest in purchasing one.)

Well, I've gone on and on about mysteries, and I'm sure I could continue to do so. But now I'd love to hear your thoughts! Do you enjoy mystery stories--whether reading about them, watching them, or acting them out? Any favorites you want to share?

Be sure and stop by tomorrow for a fun interview with author S. Dionne Moore, who has written a couple of cozy mysteries for the Heartsong Presents Mysteries collection! (And yes, this is all just to get you excited for next week--it's not "Mystery Week" in the sense that I'm planning on quite yet--but soon!)


Ariel Wilson said...

CLUE!!!!!!! My favorite board game EVER :D I collect every version there is (literally) and have about 7 or 8 already haha! I love that game so so so much!

Laura Frantz said...

Amber, The murder mystery party is sooo cool! Reminds me so of Clue, like Ariel said. Hoping today is a wonderful day for you in every way!

Amber Holcomb said...


Clue is a fun game for sure! ;) That's so cool that you collect the different versions of it!

Thanks for stopping by!


Amber Holcomb said...


Murder Mystery Parties are so, so fun! :D I thought that last picture of us really fit with the Clue idea. The first year we did a Murder Mystery Party was great, too, especially because it was ski lodge-themed!

Anyway, I hope your day is wonderful for you, too, and thank you for visiting! :)


Julia M. Reffner said...

I've only been to a mystery party once. I'm shy, so its not really my cup of tea...but I do love mysteries.

My favorite movies are some of the older ones: Vertigo and Rear Window with Jimmy Stewart, Charade with Cary Grant & Audrey Hepburn. Wait Until Dark with Audrey Hepburn.

As for books recently I read Too Close to Home by Lynette Eason and really enjoyed it. Also DiAnn Mill's Pursuit of Justice.

Mystery week sounds like fun!

Amber Holcomb said...


I can be rather shy, too, so I understand! The Murder Mystery Parties I hosted were all girls (except for my dad!)and all close friends, so we all felt free to talk a lot and just have fun. That definitely makes a difference, so I recommend smaller parties (with just enough people to have all of the characters needed, though).

Anyway, I haven't seen a whole lot of older movies, but I'm sure those must be good. :) Although I confess that I've heard enough about the movie Birds to know that I'd want to steer clear of that one! ;)

Glad you've read some Christian mystery/suspense books that you've enjoyed. :) Thanks for the suggestions!

And I'm so happy you think next week sounds like fun! I really hope that it is! :D


Kav said...

Wow, you go all out on your Murder Mystery parties!!! And definitely, there can never be too much food at a party...unless it's what caused the demise of the murder victim???

I yelped when I saw that trailer from Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys!!!! I borrowed one whole season from the library this summer and had a blast. So campy and retro! It was fun. And wasn't that such an innocent, sweet time compared to now. I don't even want to know what they would do to it in the 21st century!

As far as good mysteries. I've become a Kristen Heitzmann. She's a master at hiding clues in fine print!

Amber Holcomb said...


We do! And I like the way you think! So far the murder weapons in the two parties were an icicle and a Mardi Gras bead necklace--but who knows what it could be next time... ;)

I'm so super happy to find another Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys '70s TV show fan!!! What season did you watch? Was it the first season? Which episode was your favorite? Oh, and you have to tell me which of the Hardy Boys you think is cuter! ;)

I also love the innocence of the show and how fun the episodes are! LOVE them! :D My family and I have had so much fun watching them together at times. :)

I haven't read any of Kristen Heitzmann's books, but I'll have to keep that name in mind. Did they include romance...? ;)


Amanda Stanley said...

This is a really fun post, Amber! I've never been big on mysteries, I mean, not that I don't like them, they just aren't something I gravitate towards. But, that might all change because you and this post! You make mysteries sound like so much fun :D

I'm gonna have to go check out Under the Cajun Moon. I just love Walmart, and there's a Super Walmart 2 minutes up the road from my house- hopefully they'll have it, too!

Thanks for the recommendations, great ideas, and the smile your posts always bring :) Can't wait to see what you have in store for next week!!

Amanda Stanley

Amber Holcomb said...


Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it. :) I'm not big on suspense, but I do enjoy a good mystery now and then! Mysteries can be a lot of fun, so I hope you enjoy any shows you might watch, or books you might read, or games you might play that involve them.

I love Walmart, too! I got Under the Cajun Moon last spring, though, so I'm not sure if they will still carry it or not. But if you can find a copy, I think you would enjoy it! The setting is really great, and the romance is, too!

Thanks so much for stopping by, and I hope you enjoy next week! I know I'm really looking forward to it, but I won't really find out what all of you think about my idea until Monday. ;)