Jane K. Marshall
Title _____ Author _____
1. Describe the climactic scene in your particular novel. How effective was it? (surprising? suspenseful?)
2. Compare and contrast the detective with the villain with regard to intelligence. personality, view of the world.
3. Discuss the ways in which your detective interacts with colleagues, friends. (style of dialogue—humorous? distant? open?)
4. What function do the colleagues serve? What functions do other minor characters serve?
5. Refer to the beginning of the novel. How does the author set the tone?
6. Study the last few pages of the story. How does the author end the novel? (further explanations, commentary)
7. Comment on the author’s style. (descriptive? fast-paced? intellectually hard-boiled? modern? traditional?)
LEVEL THREE QUESTIONS—AUTHOR’S INTENTION
(to follow third novel)
The questions which follow the reading of the third book attempt to address the notion of theme in the detective novel. Students will undoubtedly remark that most detective novels celebrate the triumph of good over evil; I would not deny this. However, students should be encouraged to look for a message of a more subtle nature. It seems to me that most detective novels make a statement about time and place. Third level questions will encourage students to think about the author’s view of his/her world. The teacher may be tempted to tell students of unfamiliar places and times; I do not think this advisable. Rather, the student should be encouraged to take on the role of detective. Most novels will contain pertinent clues with regard to particular cultures and settings.
This final set of questions will also promote the comparison of all three novels read. The outcome of such a comparison, one hopes, will be a better understanding of the author.