The mysteries of murder, time, food and bedtime stories!

It’s time to kick-off another week of storytelling in Voice by the staff and volunteers at the Seanchai Library. As always, all times SLT, and events are held at the Library’s Second Life home at Bradley University, unless otherwise indicated.

Sunday, March 5th, 13:30: Tea Time Mysteries!

Seanchai Library launches a Tea Time series, featuring everything non-Holmesian from Christie to Hamett, classic sleuthing to hard-boiled detectives of the noir-ish hue.

This week: Agatha Christie’s Four and Twenty Blackbirds and Wasp’s Nest with Kayden, Cale, and John.

blackbirdsIn Four and Twenty Blackbirds, Hercule Poirot is dining out with an old friend, when the habit and ritual of a lone diner at the restaurant sparks his interest more than does his own meal.

The man in question has dined at the restaurant like clockwork for a decade – so much so that Poirot’s friend – also a regular at the restaurant –  can predict precisely what the gentleman will order. Poirot’s interest is further piqued when he learns that despite being a patron of the establishment from all that time, no-one so much as knows the gentleman’s name, referring to him simply as “Old Father Time” on account of his looks.

When their waitress informs Poirot and his friend that during a recent visit, “Old Father Time” actually ate a different meal, interest turns to curiosity. And when he learns, a few weeks later that “old Father Time has apparently deserted the restaurant, Poirot’s instinct tells him that a murder most foul has probably been committed…

Wasp’s Nest relates one of the early cases for Hercule Poirot. While visiting a friend, John Harrison, Poirot admits his visit is not merely casual; rather he is investigating a murder – or rather, a murder yet to be committed, at least, and one he hopes to prevent.

During their convoluted conversation, which involves wasp’s nests and their disposal, Poirot drops sufficient hints to warn Harrison that he is potentially the intended murder victim. The detective then leaves, promising to return at the time Harrison expects to meet with the man seemingly intent on his demise. But is everything really as it seems?

Monday, March 6th 19:00: The Crucible of Time

crucibleGyro Muggins concludes reading the fix-up by John Brunner. First published as two-part story which appeared in Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, it’s an ambitious tale of alien intelligence which grew to a series of six linked tales pushed as a single novel in 1983.

Far off in space is an alien race which is so much like us, yet so un-alike. From the birth of their earliest civilisation through to their attainment of star flight as their star system passes through the galaxy, we follow their development through the ages.

Aquatic by nature, this race presents some significant challenges well outside the realms of anything encountered by humanity. But they are also driven by all too familiar hopes, fears, desires, needs, wants, prejudices, impact of religious ideologies, and the quest for knowledge we have experienced in the growth of our own civilisation.

Charting six periods of time, each a thousand years after the previous, the six stories focus on the efforts of a group of individuals in each era as they face one or more challenges, their success in overcoming these challenges inevitably leading them towards a greater understanding of their planet’s plight, and ultimately, the ability to deal with that plight and the survival of their civilisation.

Tuesday, March 7th 19:00: Save Room for Pie: Food songs and Chewy Ruminations

save-room-for-pieComic writer Roy Blount Jr has been a life-long eater of food. He’s not sure where his attraction to food began, but he knows that eating isn’t always easy – beyond the sitting doing, chewing and swallowing, that is: those most assuredly are the easy parts.

But, what effect is the global climate and the ups and downs of the economy – local and global – having on the food he eats? How much does his own sinusitis, with its deadening of his sense of taste and smell, impact on his actual enjoyment of eating and food?

In poems and songs, limericks and fake (or sometimes true) news stories, Blount talks about food in surprising and innovative ways. In these pages he ruminates on everything from bacon froth to grapefruit, Kobe beef to biscuits. He defends gizzards, mullet, okra, cane syrup, watermelon, and boiled peanuts; he seeks imagined observations from Frederick Douglass to Louis Armstrong to Blaze Starr. There’s even an imagined conversation between Eve and Adam in the Garden of Eden.

And we shouldn’t forget the shampooed possums and carjacking turkeys! With Kayden OConnell.

Wednesday, March 8th 19:00: Politically Correct Bedtime Stories

politically-correct-bedtimeBedtime stories. We all know them, whether about the Wicked Witch, the Evil Goblin, the Nefarious Fairy, the Wayward Wolf or some other creature with mischief and badness on its mind. But did you know all of these tales are in fact the product of a few, elite minds, isolated from the rest of the world, who would discuss worldly affairs as their own skewed perspective on all things presented them?

Did you know these views and ideas were never supposed to leave the inner sanctum of the club in which they were first spouted, but somehow they did? Worse, that they somehow became the foundation of the tales we tell our children at bed time, leaving creatures and witches and fairies and all much maligned?

‘Tis true! Honest!

Luckily for us, James Finn Garner has carried out an intense investigation of this situation, and offers – through the voice of Faerie Maven-Pralou – twelve properly adjusted, politically correct bedtime stories for the modern era. Thus we have witches who are “kindest impaired” and the Emperor who went “clothing optional”, and more!

Thursday, March 9th

19:00: Is That You, Boy!

Shandon Loring returns to Noel Magnier’s 2001 selection of stories more formally known as Is That You Boy?: Humorous short stories of growing up in Cork, Ireland in the 1940’s and 50’s.

Within it, Magnier recounts the exploits of a young street gang in the Cork of the 1940s and 1950s as they scheme and scam to generate pocket-money for themselves – generally (for the reader) with hilarious results. Written with wit,  and an ability to weave a good yarn in a manner guaranteed to light up winter evenings, Noel Magnier brings what could at times be the hard years of 1940s and 1950s Ireland vividly and warmly to life.

Also in Kitely.

21:00: Seanchai Late Night

With Finn Zeddmore.


Please check with the Seanchai Library’s blog for updates and for additions or changes to the week’s schedule.

The featured charity for March April is  Project Children, building peace in Ireland one child at a time.