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Book Club Questions for The South Spit Murders

1. This mystery finds Nora Brady further along in life. She is now working primarily as a detective with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department. She also continues to fill in as a nurse at Harrison Hospital. This is not unusual in a small town where people often have multiple jobs, but what were your thoughts on this?


2. What did you think of the relationship between Nora and her partner Sam? Did you think they worked well together? How did you make your decision?


3. Nora and Sam interviewed some memorable side characters in the story. Did you find their stories helpful, or a distraction? Did you have a favorite character? Why?


4. The northern coast of California has a fascinating history, beginning with the Native American tribes that settled the area, and were later uprooted. Then, some years later, there was the age of the lumbar barons. Did you learn anything new from this history? Was there anything that surprised you or changed your perspective?


5. Did you have a favorite character in the book? Why?


6. Did you have a least favorite character in the book? Why?


7. What was the most memorable or shocking scene for you in this book?


8. Did you find that the clues and evidence presented made sense? If not, what stuck out?


9. Were you surprised by the person(s) who committed the crimes? If you guessed, what clues had you noticed? If you were surprised, who did you think it would have been instead?


10. Were you satisfied with the ending? Did it make sense and tie up all the loose ends? If you weren’t satisfied, what left you hanging?

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CRAB CIOPPINO

Anyone who has ever lived along the northwest coast knows that crab season is the best of times! With any luck it will begin in December so crab is there for the holidays, but it often happens that there will be a delay when the fishermen and buyers have trouble reaching an agreement on price. During the season (which usually runs into February if luck holds) there will be crab feeds everywhere raising money for all kinds of things. Crab cioppino will feature high on the menu—a simple dish with a tomato base, seasonings, and cracked crab, served with hunks of sourdough.


I am someone who doesn’t like to work for my food. I like my fruits and vegetables already cut up and my crab already picked; I didn’t want to be picking shells out of the stew. However, I was told that it was acceptable to use the picked crab, as long as I added shells to the stew. I also don’t like tomato and fish together. I was told that this dish would win me over, and it did. Thank you Dorothy!

RECIPE: This makes a lot…probably about three to four quarts; it’s my grandmother’s style recipe—a handful of this or that.

1 cube butter, 1 can tomato paste, 1 clove of minced garlic, 2 large cans of whole, 1 cup chopped celery tomatoes (chopped), ½ cup chopped onion, 1/3 cup wine  (her comment, not mine), ½ cup chopped parsley

Melt butter. Let simmer for a few minutes. Add garlic. Add celery, onion and parsley. Simmer 10-15 minutes. Add tomatoes. Simmer 1 hour. Add cracked crab.


Cook 1 hour . (Dorothy doesn’t say how much crab, but I would say the meat from at least 1-2 whole crabs.)

 

Enjoy! It is delicious with that wine and sourdough.

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