Book of trivia will chill your bones

By Jaime Rebhan | Oct 22, 2011
Courtesy of: Adams Media "A Miscellany of Murder" was released just in time for Halloween.

What was Alfred Hitchcock's mission in life? Who was the Boston Strangler? What is a black widow?

The answers are among dozens of murder-mystery tidbits - both true and fictional - found on the pages of "A Miscellany of Murder." Released just in time for Halloween, the book of trivia will make your blood run cold and give your brain a workout.

First, the answers: Hitchcock, a filmmaker often referred to as "the master of suspense," said his mission in life was "to simply scare the hell out of people"; responsible for murders in the Boston area during the 1960s, Albert DeSalvo was dubbed the "Boston Strangler" in media reports; a black widow is a woman who murders family members or lovers, usually by poisoning them.

Written by The Monday Murder Club, a Pembroke-based group of mystery writers, "A Miscellany of Murder" has seven sections of crime-related facts about villains, unsolved mysteries, weaponry, fictional characters, and more. Each section is named for one of the Bible's seven deadly sins: lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride.

Work on the book began last spring when a member of The Monday Murder Club, who works for publisher Adams Media, approached the group and said: "We've got a book deal and we've got a month to write it," Stephen D. Rogers, an Onset resident and Monday Murder Club member, recalled.

"Everybody describes the month as a blur," he said.

Rogers contributed to the collection along with bestselling author Andrew S. McAleer, short story writer and "Jeopardy!" champion Jim Shannon, journalist Maureen Walsh, and writer Paula Munier.

"We were given the mission of coming up with the trivia that then fit into the seven deadly sins," Rogers explained, noting that that caveat made the project a bit challenging. "There was so much interesting stuff that couldn't be pigeonholed into one of them!"

Rogers, who has been a member of the The Monday Murder Club for more than five years, was responsible for gathering police and private eye information.

"Because it was done so quickly, we never saw other people's sections," Rogers pointed out. "For me, it's almost like reading a book by someone else... because sections of it are by someone else!"

About half of Rogers' works are mysteries, though he also writes sci-fi, horror, and fantasy.

"I just want to enjoy the characters" in mysteries, he said. "A lot of the times I don't really care who did it."

Rogers said "A Miscellany of Murder" was a fun project, even though he would not refer to himself as a "trivia person."

"In [board game] Trivial Pursuit, I'm always the one with no pie pieces at the end," he said with a laugh. "But [the book] gave me an excuse to reread the books and watch the movies that I love."

"A Miscellany of Murder" can be purchased at the Old Company Store, located at 5 Elm Street in Wareham. (Autographed copies are available!)

For more information about Rogers and his works, visit Another book, "A Dictionary of Made-up Languages," will be released in November.

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