Another trivia roundup

I run through trivia books like other girls run through, say, a tube of lipstick.

At any given time, in between the novels I read, I thumb through five to eight trivia books simultaneously and all over the house — in bed, in the bathroom, in the den, in the kitchen. As I’ve said before, they make great palate cleansers, especially when I’ve been reading text-heavy narratives, plus they contain snippets that can be read and digested easily, not to mention the convenience of being able to stop at any point of the book and pick it up days or weeks later and just keep on reading. The trivia junkie that I am, these useless bits of information do come in handy from time to time during the weekly quiz nights and the monthly geek fights that I attend.

I finish a batch of trivia books several times in a year, hence the trivia book roundups. Here’s the last bunch from last year, which includes Say Chic; The Bathroom Trivia Book; Be Safe!; Cocktail Party Cheat Sheets; Kiss and Tell; A Year in High Heels; From Altoids to Zima; The TV Guide Book of Lists; The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Fun FAQs. These are books 189-198 for 2010, which means I only owe you 6 more book reviews in my 2010 backlog. Hopefully I have the remaining six up by next week so I can move on to my January reads (12 and counting) as well as a surprise in the works for this month (patience!).

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Clue: 15 Whodunits to Solve in 15 Minutes by Vicki Cameron

I found this on the sale rack at National back in January, and it was screaming to be mine for only P95. Based on the popular game, Clue, this book is an anthology of short mysteries surrounding the death of Mr. Boddy (always the victim, of course) played out in different scenarios.

It’s great to see the game in action throughout the book, with all the characters brought to life. Mrs. White is the long-suffering matron housekeeper, Mrs. Peacock is the wealthy lady who’s inherited her numerous dead husbands’ estates; Ms. Scarlett is Mrs. Peacock’s flighty but foxy daughter; Rev. Green is the holier-than-thou crook who clearly doesn’t practice what he preaches; Professor Plum is the deadbeat intellectual who’s been laid off from his job at the museum; and Col. Mustard is the retired military man whose medals were never received out of any true valor.

And of course, Mr. Boddy manages to get himself killed every single time, by one of the usual suspects, with the usual weapons (knife, candlestick, rope, revolver, leadpipe, wrench).

I liked the idea of the book, and the quirky characters, but it leaves a lot more to be desired as a mystery anthology.

First off, the characters just kill Mr. Boddy out of whim. I mean, of course I’m not expecting a long, drawn-out motive, but well, all fifteen stories have the characters killing Mr. Boddy because he knows something about the murderer that’s not supposed to be out in the open, or something to that effect. And then when people discover the body, they’re all like, “Oh, he’s dead,” like it was the most normal thing in the world, and say “Let’s go have coffee” or some other inane remark.

The stories aren’t well-developed, and you really don’t end up solving the whodunit (other than randomly guessing at who the murderer is).The evidence presented to lead up to actually solving the whodunit is severely lacking, and when you read the solution, the story draws on pulling out unknown information out of thin air, and there you have it, you have a murderer.

Sigh, good whodunits are really hard to find.

My copy: paperback, on my shelf

My rating: 2/5 stars