In Praise of Book Clubs

In Praise of Book Clubs

By Judy Penz Sheluk

One of the things I most enjoy about being an author is meeting readers (especially readers who like my books!). Since the 2015 publication of my debut novel The Hanged Man’s Noose, I’ve had the good fortune to be a guest author at a few local book clubs. Basically, the club selects my book, and on the day of their meeting, I show up and answer questions. There’s no charge (although I do love cookies)—I’m just happy that the group has read my book and might spread the word and/or review on Goodreads.

It helps that my local library owns two book club “sets” — one set of The Hanged Man’s Noose, generously donated by a group in memory of their late founder, and the other, Skeletons in the Attic, donated by me because I love libraries and book clubs in equal measure.

I’d like to tell you that every book club meeting generated positive reviews from every member, and in most cases, that was the case (or at least the members were too polite to tell me they didn’t like my book). This past winter, however, while visiting a local Senior’s residence, it was clear that “amateur sleuth mysteries” did not meet up to the standards of previous Pulitzer Prize winning literature they’d been reading. One woman went on to tell me that there were “too many dead bodies,” and “too many characters” before sniffing loudly and bringing the conversation around to an NHL hockey player, long dead (of natural causes, I assume, though I’m not entirely certain).

But for every dead hockey player, there have been many more wonderful experiences. Recently, a book club held a “Hanged Man’s Noose Pub Night” in celebration of reading The Hanged Man’s Noose, complete with Treasontinis, Full Noose Nachos, and shortbread. (Find Recipes Here).

For my most recent release, Past & Present, I’ve decided to try and expand my horizons. If your book club is interested in reading it, or any of my other titles, I’ll find a way to connect with your group online. If you’re interested, you can email me at judy at judypenzsheluk dot com and we can sort out the details. At the very least, I can mail your book club some free bookmarks. What have you got to lose?

In the meantime, here’s some Shameless Self Promotion for Past & Present.

A blurb about the book:

Sometimes the past reaches out to the present…

It’s been thirteen months since Calamity (Callie) Barnstable inherited a house in Marketville under the condition that she search for the person who murdered her mother thirty years earlier. She solves the mystery, but what next? Unemployment? Another nine-to-five job in Toronto?

Callie decides to set down roots in Marketville, take the skills and knowledge she acquired over the past year, and start her own business: Past & Present Investigations.

It’s not long before Callie and her new business partner, best friend Chantelle Marchand, get their first client: a woman who wants to find out everything she can about her grandmother, Anneliese Prei, and how she came to a “bad end” in 1956. It sounds like a perfect first assignment. Except for one thing: Anneliese’s past winds its way into Callie’s present, and not in a manner anyone—least of all Callie—could have predicted.

It’s available for Amazon Kindle (including Kindle Unlimited) and in trade paperback on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Chapters.Indigo.

About the author:

Judy Penz Sheluk is the author of two mystery series: The Glass Dolphin Mysteries: The Hanged Man’s Noose; A Hole in One and The Marketville Mysteries: Skeletons in the Attic; Past & Present. Her short crime and literary fiction appears in several collections.

Judy is a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, the Short Mystery Fiction Society, and Crime Writers of Canada, where she serves on the Board of Directors as a representative for Toronto/Southwestern Ontario.

Find out more about Judy at





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