Graham Moodie is a good person to know. He’s always jumping in to help out, a booster of local theatre and art, and he seems to know everyone and everything. Plus, he loves to read.
“My worst reading habit is to always have a dozen books on the go at the same time — dipping into different ones depending on my mood. This often means a lot of half-finished volumes lying about,” he laughs.
Everything started with teen boy detectives Frank and Joe, and their portly pal Chet Morton: “Like many young guys, I grew up devouring the adventures of the Hardy Boys. After all that excitement in Bayport, I was hooked on the printed page!”
The Hardys first appeared in 1927, but it was, naturally, many decades later when Moodie got hooked. Their adventures were (and still are) written by a multitude of authors but are all filed under Franklin W. Dixon, the stories continuously rewritten over the years to keep up to date with technology and youthful obsessions. (Find them on the Lennoxville Library shelves at C-222 and 224, and via interlibrary loan.)
“I certainly read for pleasure or escapism,” Moodie says. “For me, much of the lighter aspect of my reading centres on mysteries. I prefer what are called cozies, usually American and British. I’m not a fan of the Kathy Reichs blood and gore stuff.” Moodie recommends the more genteel murders choreographed by authors such as M.C. Beaton, Tim Dorsey and Emily Brightwell.
M.C. Beaton is known for the Hamish MacBeth “Death Of…” series (staring with 1985’s …A Gossip), and the Agatha Raisin books, beginning with 1992’s Agatha Raisin And The Quiche Of Death.
Tim Dorsey’s famous crusading serial killer, Serge A. Storms, is a moral absolutist who condemns villains to death. His sidekick needs to have a buzz on, and the series (start with 1999’s Florida Roadkill) is beloved for its zany flare. Call them crime capers, and order them via our interlibrary loan service (which is, yes, free).
Emily Brightwell’s multiple Victorian murders begin with The Inspector And Mrs. Jeffries (1993); find 1995’s Mrs. Jeffries Learns The Trade on Lennoxville Library Adult Fiction shelves.
You can tell that Moodie loves to keep reading about favorite characters. He’s just reached W in the Sue Grafton mystery series (private eye Kinsey Millhone returns in W Is For Wasted, 2013, on our English Adult Fiction shelves): “She writes extremely well crafted stories and I love Santa Barbara, the home of her fictional detective.”
The other thing to know about Moodie is his love of travel. “I’ll often choose stories located in places I’ve visited; there are excellent series, for example, based in Key West and Charleston. And I really love mysteries set in academia. College professors are so devious and underhanded.” (Moodie is a retired Champlain College professor, so he knows what he’s talking about….)
He also enjoys literary travel; books by people such as Paul Theroux, or anything by Sarah Vowell and Gavin Young.
Moodie also reads history, biography, and political science. “Am just finishing a taut history of San Francisco in the 20th century entitled Season Of The Witch, and am about to begin the just released Dark Money by Jane Mayer about the Koch brothers and corruption in American politics.”
All to say that Moodie spends a lot of time reading, and a lot of time wandering the aisles of the Lennoxville Library. He’s a former library board member, and currently co-administers the Lennoxville Library’s Facebook page, posting book-related news and features.
Moodie couldn’t imagine life without books. Perhaps that explains his commitment to Literacy In Action, where he is president of the board.
Literacy In Action teaches adults to read, offering free tutors, books and games nights (Scrabble!). Find it online at lia-estrie.org or call 819-346-7009, or drop by Monday to Thursday at 7 Conley Street (between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.).
The people who most need this service can’t read this sentence. So please, talk up Literacy In Action, loudly and often, and with passion.
There are quite a few authors listed in this column. Here’s more about their work.
M.C. Beaton is a pen name for Marion Gibbons, who is prolific. Beaton’s work is in Adult Fiction English, and Audio Books, and via interlibrary loan. She also pens historical romance novels (both standalone and in series) under the names Ann Fairfax, Jennie Tremaine, Helen Crampton, Charlotte Ward, and Sarah Chester, as well as under the name Marion Chesney. As Chesney, she’s also written an Edwardian mystery collection starring the debutante Lady Rose Summer (the first is Snobbery With Violence, 2003).
Emily Brightwell is also a pseudonym. Cheryl Arguile publishes Young Adult fiction under her maiden name, Cheryl Lanham, and also pens contemporary romance as Sarah Temple.
For mysteries set in Key West, check out Lucy Burdette. When in Charleston, you’ll want Laura Childs (on Lennoxville Library Adult Fiction shelves).
Season Of The Witch is by Natasha Mostert (2007, ask at the front desk and we’ll get it for you from our overflow shelves, in the basement).
Paul Theroux? Start with Adult Fiction, then check 910 and 916.88, to start. For Sarah Vowell, use interlibrary loans.
You can also find the “blood and gore” of the Kathy Reichs thrillers at the Lennoxville Library (start with 1997’s Deja Dead; recall that the television series Bones was inspired by the books). Reichs also has a Young Adult series that begins with Virals (2010, also in the Lennoxville Library). She splits her time between Quebec and North Caroline.
— Eleanor Brown, July 22, 2016