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2018/19 Group Reads - Archives > The Mystery of the Yellow Room - Week 2

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message 1: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4497 comments Mod
This week’s reading has created more questions than giving us answers. I like to only read the current week’s chapters, and must admit to be sorely tempted to continue on. We’ve met several new curious characters, found out the beast of god is done form of cat and is real, and watched the attacker basically vanish into thin air.

To get us started:

What do you think is needed to solve a mystery - logic or I tutuin? Why?

What do you think of the innkeeper’s behavior!

What role does the green man play?

How did the attacker escape the trap?


message 2: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new)

Rosemarie | 2939 comments Mod
I have only read this week's chapters. Things do not look well for Robert, and I think maybe Mlle S. broke off the engagement and is not talking about her assailant because she is being black-mailed.
I wonder if some of them are members of a secret society, because when R. said the second enigmatic statement, the innkeeper became friendly and welcomed them into the inn.


message 3: by Frances, Moderator (new)

Frances (francesab) | 1932 comments Mod
I confess that I raced through to the end, so will be careful not to give spoilers in this week's discussion. I do find the book somewhat challenging to follow all the threads, particularly with the frequent switch of narrator and people frequently coming and going. I might try to reread, if I only had time!


message 4: by Lori, Moderator (new)

Lori Goshert (lori_laleh) | 1435 comments Mod
I also read to the end. I wrote down some notes after finishing this section, though:

More confused than ever. The murderer is a big man that R. doesn’t recognize, but it could be a disguise.
Actually, I have a horrible suspicion toward MM Stangerson and Darzac, and I hope I am wrong. But the solution must be upsetting in some way, since the narrator chose not to disclose the full truth right away, only enough to free an "innocent man."


message 5: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4497 comments Mod
Lori wrote: "I also read to the end. I wrote down some notes after finishing this section, though:

More confused than ever. The murderer is a big man that R. doesn’t recognize, but it could be a disguise.
Act..."


Lol. I wanted to finish too. Luckily I was leading this discussion and dealing with hubby’s health issue so I had to stop.


message 6: by Lori, Moderator (new)

Lori Goshert (lori_laleh) | 1435 comments Mod
I hope he is feeling better!


message 7: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4497 comments Mod
Lori wrote: "I hope he is feeling better!"

Hi Lori. He was diagnosed today with cancer. It should be treatable based on where it is. We will know more in about two weeks


message 8: by Frances, Moderator (new)

Frances (francesab) | 1932 comments Mod
I'm sorry to hear that Deborah. I expect the waiting will be tough, but am glad you've heard that it's likely treatable.


message 9: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4497 comments Mod
Frances wrote: "I'm sorry to hear that Deborah. I expect the waiting will be tough, but am glad you've heard that it's likely treatable."

Thanks Frances. The last week was the hardest as we had to wait for the biopsy results. Back to our book discussion.


message 10: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4497 comments Mod
Is this book as exciting as a modern mystery?


message 11: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new)

Rosemarie | 2939 comments Mod
It depends on the mystery. I find that I am not engaged with the characters in this one but the plot is certainly intriguing and unusual.


message 12: by Frances, Moderator (new)

Frances (francesab) | 1932 comments Mod
It seems much more gothic-dramatic, and much more literal running around, and possibly more hidden meanings (for example Madge's understanding that a motive might have been sexual assault). I avoid the current trend for violence and gore and prefer the Golden Age mysteries and would say that this is more exciting than a typical Agatha Christie which was often much more cerebral in the solving.


message 13: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new)

Rosemarie | 2939 comments Mod
I don't like gore and violence either. The Mystery of the Yellow Room reminds me of a Sherlock Holmes mystery, and I like those.


message 14: by Andry (new)

Andry It seems to me that Rouletabille, when talking about the presbitery and the garden and the red meat, may refer to an unknown code of some secret association...but I can be wrong.


message 15: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4497 comments Mod
Andry wrote: "It seems to me that Rouletabille, when talking about the presbitery and the garden and the red meat, may refer to an unknown code of some secret association...but I can be wrong."

I’m wondering about that curious repeated phrase


message 16: by Madge UK (last edited May 15, 2018 05:05AM) (new)

Madge UK (madgeuk) | 2933 comments Thoughts: What takes place in a Presbytery that could be of significance? Christenings, weddings, blessings, funerals.... Does the garden represent the innocence of the Garden of Eden? Red meat should not be eaten on Friday, especially Good Friday.....


message 17: by Candace (last edited May 24, 2018 08:35PM) (new)

Candace (cprimackqcom) | 138 comments I agree that this mystery is very similar to some of the modern day mysteries in that it tends to be very plot driven at this point instead of character driven. I think the better mysteries try to strike a balance between the two.

I think it takes a majority of reasoning , but also I must not ignore my intuition. ( I believe my intuition, in many cases, is reasoning my subconscious has concluded with knowledge that I just can't put my finger on at that moment.)


message 18: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4497 comments Mod
It appears the format of a mystery hasn’t changed over the years and varies by the author’s style. Do you think this mystery is following the rules of fairness.

https://www.thebalancecareers.com/top...


message 19: by Madge UK (last edited May 16, 2018 10:59AM) (new)

Madge UK (madgeuk) | 2933 comments I think the reference to red meat is about poaching. When the concierges were arrested the same phrase was used followed by 'no more concierges, no more game'. The innkeeper will not admit to having game so only red meat is available. Poaching has other connotations like not poaching another man's woman so is this a clue, like the mention of a presbytery and a garden? Has the victim been 'poached'? In a presbytery and/or garden? If so, the culprit must be a man but not the fiancè.

Historically, the Green Man is an ancient fertility symbol of rebirth or renaissance often associated with church sculptures or carvings so this reference may have several meanings. The cat and the old woman could also be an allusion to witchcraft.


I feel as if we are on one of those murdery mystery weekends solving clues together, such fun!:)


message 20: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4497 comments Mod
Madge UK wrote: "I think the reference to red meat is about poaching. When the concierges were arrested the same phrase was used followed by 'no more concierges, no more game'. The innkeeper will not admit to havin..."

I’ve always wanted to do a mystery weekend. It’s been such fun leading this discussion. And the book is just the right combination of lightness for me right now.


message 21: by Madge UK (last edited May 17, 2018 01:51AM) (new)

Madge UK (madgeuk) | 2933 comments From Chap 15 (a very exciting chapter):

'This question of the unfastened window easily narrowed the field of search for the murderer. He must belong to the house, unless he had an accomplice, which I do not believe he had; unless -- unless Mademoiselle Stangerson herself had seen that that window was not fastened from the inside. But then what frightful secret could have required her to do away with the obstacles that separated her from the murderer?' And later 'The door of the boudoir must have been locked by Mademoiselle Stangerson herself if, as I thought, she had taken refuge there for the purpose of avoiding the murderer who was coming to see her.'

So what frightful secret does Mdme have possibly involving a presbytery, a garden, poaching, a green man and a witch's cat!?
And why is the culprit called 'the murderer' when she is still alive?Any ideas?


message 22: by Frances, Moderator (new)

Frances (francesab) | 1932 comments Mod
That question about "the murderer" struck me as well, seems a bit of a slip!


message 23: by Madge UK (last edited May 17, 2018 07:52AM) (new)

Madge UK (madgeuk) | 2933 comments The word 'murderer' is used throughout. I have looked up the etymology of 'murder' and found some secondary meanings including one from 1878 of 'Weakened sense of "very unpleasant situation" which could apply to the Yellow Room attack:

https://www.etymonline.com/wor d/murder

And in Wiktionary a definition of the German word Mord (murder) is given as 'terrible to endure' which also fits.

Perhaps Rosemarie can throw some light on this.


message 24: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4497 comments Mod
Frances wrote: "That question about "the murderer" struck me as well, seems a bit of a slip!"

My copy has a brief intro and indicates the first English translation used the word murderer so they continue to use in English publications. Anybody reading in the original French?


message 25: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4497 comments Mod
Madge UK wrote: "The word 'murderer' is used throughout. I have looked up the etymology of 'murder' and found some secondary meanings including one from 1878 of 'Weakened sense of "very unpleasant situation" which ..."

Madge the link doesn’t work. I suspect because of the space between the r and the d in word. I cannot edit it. Perhaps you might 😺


message 26: by Madge UK (last edited May 17, 2018 08:16AM) (new)

Madge UK (madgeuk) | 2933 comments I can't get the link to work but have copied what it says:

'murder (n.)
c. 1300, murdre, from Old English morðor (plural morþras) "secret killing of a person, unlawful killing," also "mortal sin, crime; punishment, torment, misery," from Proto-Germanic *murthra- (source also of Goth maurþr, and, from a variant form of the same root, Old Saxon morth, Old Frisian morth, Old Norse morð, Middle Dutch moort, Dutch moord, German Mord "murder"), from suffixed form of PIE root *mer- "to rub away, harm" (also "to die" and forming words referring to death and to beings subject to death). The spelling with -d- probably reflects influence of Anglo-French murdre, from Old French mordre, from Medieval Latin murdrum, from the Germanic root.

Viking custom, typical of Germanic, distinguished morð (Old Norse) "secret slaughter," from vig (Old Norse) "slaying." The former involved concealment, or slaying a man by night or when asleep, and was a heinous crime. The latter was not a disgrace, if the killer acknowledged his deed, but he was subject to vengeance or demand for compensation.

Mordre wol out that se we day by day. [Chaucer, "Nun's Priest's Tale," c. 1386]

Weakened sense of "very unpleasant situation" is from 1878.'


message 27: by Christopher (new)

Christopher (Donut) | 150 comments Madge UK wrote: "The word 'murderer' is used throughout. I have looked up the etymology of 'murder' and found some secondary meanings including one from 1878 of 'Weakened sense of "very unpleasant situation" which ..."

Well, "very unpleasant situation"- "My job is murder" "Setting up the Christmas tree was murder," always seems facetious.

But my edition has a note at the end of ch. 2 saying "although the original English translation refers to 'murder' and 'murderer' throughout, the reader may substitute 'attack' and 'attacker,' since no murder actually occurs." -which I thought was a *major spoiler.*

Although I remember a policeman coming to our class in sixth grade explaining that attempted murder was as serious a crime as murder, so I guess a 'would-be murderer' is already a murderer in the eyes of the law.


message 28: by Robin P, Moderator (new)

Robin P | 2227 comments Mod
Deborah wrote: "Frances wrote: "That question about "the murderer" struck me as well, seems a bit of a slip!"

My copy has a brief intro and indicates the first English translation used the word murderer so they c..."


In French the attacker is called "l'assassin" - not sure why they didn't just use the English equivalent. Though we tend to think only famous people can be assassinated.


message 29: by Candace (new)

Candace (cprimackqcom) | 138 comments @Robin by definition , I believe assassin applies for religious or political reasons; maybe we think if people are going to get killed for those reasons they will generally be well known? It is not required, I wouldn’t guess.

@all My ebook has only 2 notes I think !! But one of them was that attacker was used in the French version and they don’t know why the English interpreter replaced it with murder. I would guess because usually someone has to die in a mystery, otherwise it’s a caper or a heist, but that is one of the rules of the mystery genre that has come into play after this book.


message 30: by Candace (new)

Candace (cprimackqcom) | 138 comments I just saw Christopher’s post. His book seems to have asked him to replace with what my book says was the original French- the attacker.

Christopher- as an attorney in the States, I can tell you an accomplice to murder is treated the same as the murderer, even if they just drove a vehicle for someone to shoot out of the window. Someone who beats someone to the brink of death ( let’s say attempted murder) is guilty of a lesser crime and will receive less time than an accomplice (assuming that is the only crime)— someone who may not lay a hand on anyone but provides any help knowing that that is what he is doing .


message 31: by Linda (new)

Linda | 230 comments I haven't read any of the above posts yet because I am still not quite done with week two's reading. I think I just started chapter 15. While I was right out of the gate with week one's reading, it's now taken me over two weeks to read six chapters. Unfortunately I just have too many things going on right now to be able to find the time or ability to focus.

Anyway, I just wanted to pop in and say that I'm still chugging along, but I've probably forgotten all the details from the previous chapters by now. Hopefully tonight I'll be able to finish up with week two, at least.


message 32: by Candace (new)

Candace (cprimackqcom) | 138 comments Hi Linda. Glad you popped in! I had to stop two days for a library book and I was a little confused when I started back up , but that is because my memory is not what it used to be!! Hope to see you soon. We generally feel the same about books.( And I finished my baby blanket! I’m going to try to figure out how to put a picture up on ravelry when I am able!)


message 33: by Frances, Moderator (new)

Frances (francesab) | 1932 comments Mod
I will confess I decided to plow right through with this one as I knew it would be hard to remember things otherwise. Do carry on, Linda, and we'll meet you in week three shortly :).


message 34: by Linda (new)

Linda | 230 comments OK, I am now in week three’s reading! I don’t have much to add to the discussion given that I am more confused at this point. Also, you are in company Candace as my memory is not so great anymore as well. What happened in chapters 9 and 10 again? Lol.

Interesting points brought up about the continued use of the word “murderer”. I was wondering about it every time it was used.

I am enjoying this mystery, but I do tend to like a little more characterization. I have a favorite series of modern day murder mysteries and I think the big reason I am drawn to these particular books is the strong characterization.

Candace - congrats on finishing your baby blanket! I need to get on Ravelry and send some friend requests. I visited a yarn shop over the weekend while we were out of town and I found so much inspiration just browsing.

Deborah - I’m sorry to hear of the tough time you and your husband are going through right now.


message 35: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4497 comments Mod
Linda wrote: "OK, I am now in week three’s reading! I don’t have much to add to the discussion given that I am more confused at this point. Also, you are in company Candace as my memory is not so great anymore a..."

Thanks Linda. Tell me what’s your favorite modern day mystery series


message 36: by Linda (new)

Linda | 230 comments Deborah wrote: " Tell me what’s your favorite modern day mystery series "

I like the Dublin Murder Squad series by Tana French. There are currently six books, starting with In the Woods. I have book #6, but have not read it yet. Waiting for the right time when I can savor it. :)

This is a loose series since they can technically be read in any order you like. If you read them in order, then you'll see that a minor character in one book then becomes the narrator in the next book, and so on. I think they focus as much on the character development of the detectives in each book as they do in solving the mystery, which is one reason I think many people do not like book 1 as (view spoiler).


message 37: by Robin P, Moderator (new)

Robin P | 2227 comments Mod
I agree with Linda about the characters driving the mystery. I like a number of mystery series, usually historical, but I am not all that interested in "whodunnit" and rarely remember that part. I like characters with some depth, especially if they develop over the series, and a distinctive setting.


message 38: by Candace (new)

Candace (cprimackqcom) | 138 comments I also believe it is more plot driven; the characters have no depth, nothing to make me love or hate or connect with any of them and therefore remember this book years from now. And Robin, I usually love historical mysteries also. However one of my favorite character-driven mystery is not historical and I’ve only read book one in the series, because unlike Linda, I can’t seem to find the time to savor all the other ones I’ve bought but have not yet read—

Still Life by Louise Penny is one of my favorite books. It is book one in a series, a mystery in a small Canadian Village with a lot of quirky , memorable, fully developed characters. I recommend it. I love getting mystery recs: I have Jane’s Into the Woods and I’m moving it up my list as quickly as I can. There’s only so much a grandma can do, you know. Head high, smiling Embarassingly Too Large, where did I get all those teeth? I need to be picking up copies of Shel Silverstein, E.B.White, Lewis Carroll, oh heck, I’ve already started that!! Send me recs of children’s books also or post these good books in our thread about what you’ve been reading with your 1+ sentence summary. I’ll have my eyes peeled. Thanks everyone. I’m assuming we have one of those. We should. Everybody likes to know what everybody else like, especially from our enlightened readers in here. I know I do.


message 39: by Linda (new)

Linda | 230 comments Candace wrote: "...and I’ve only read book one in the series, because unlike Linda, I can’t seem to find the time to savor all the other ones I’ve bought but have not yet read—"

Lol. Well, I read most of those Tana French books before I joined in all these GR groups and realized how many books are out there that I am missing out on and so now I end up trying to cram in as many as possible. Book 5 in the series I ended up listening to, but as I would like to savor book 6, I plan on reading the tree book. Now when I think I'll get to that point, I have no idea. :)


I need to be picking up copies of Shel Silverstein, E.B.White, Lewis Carroll, oh heck, I’ve already started that!!

I've been doing that for years for my own children. One of my biggest pleasures in the past few years was having my husband build a built-in bookcase in between the kids' rooms, all for their books. So I have been filling it with board books at the bottom, and increasing reading levels as you move up to higher shelves. My son is now grabbing the Harry Potter books off the top shelf.


message 40: by Candace (last edited May 24, 2018 10:54PM) (new)

Candace (cprimackqcom) | 138 comments He has shelves built in the closet in his room where he will stay while here that I am clearing off for JUST bookshelves. No shoes or clothes allowed... what is this, a closet? Those should last awhile! We just need to fill! ( I have all the Harry Potter; many of my books will easily transfer over to him!! But I did buy some special children’s books. This one is the best for anyone who needs a gift: Once Upon an Alphabet: Short Stories for all the Letters Each page gives a delicious, quirky, short story on each letter of the alphabet. Nice and heavy to keep for next generation!


message 41: by Linda (new)

Linda | 230 comments Oh, I’m going to have to check out that book, Candace! I see it’s by the same author who wrote The Day the Crayons Quit, which both my daughter and I found super cute and funny.

OK, back to the Yellow Room for me. Chapter 23 currently.


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