Black & White & Dead All Over Discussion Questions

Discussion questions for Black & White & Dead All Over, by Anna Castle

1. Mystery novels are supposed to be puzzles that the reader can solve along with the detective — or ahead of her. Did you figure out who the villain was before the end?

2. Who did you suspect along the way? Were there any red herrings that particularly led you astray?

3. Do you think the author “played fair” in giving you enough clues and letting you in on the investigation?

4. All of Anna Castle’s characters have big dreams, even the bad guys. What do the characters in this book want? What do you think about their goals? Are they attainable, laudable, despicable, absurd?

5. The plot revolves around an internet blackmailer. How plausible do you think that is? Have you ever known anyone who was blackmailed for something they wrote or displayed online?

6. Penny and her friends come up with some out-of-the-box strategies for solving their problems. Do you find their actions too implausible to be entertaining? Or do you enjoy the snowballing effect as one bad decision demands another? A corollary question is how far can a plot go before it’s too unreal for your tastes?

7. Penny and her boyfriend Ty go through a rough patch in this book. What do you think about the future of their relationship? Are they compatible or too different?

 8. One of Penny’s goals at the start of the book is to get to know the people of Lost Hat, her new home town, and make new friends. Did she succeed?

9. One of the sub-sub-genres this book belongs to is “regional mystery.” Does the book give you the flavor of a small town in Texas? Does the setting feel authentic?

10. Cozy mysteries are all about character; they don’t usually have much in the way of forensics or thrilling action. How did you like the characters in this book? Did they seem like real people? People you’d like to meet? Are there any you’d like to meet again in another book?