Tea Tonic and Toxin: Mystery and Thriller Podcast and Book Club

2023 SCHEDULE

It’s time for more mysteries, detective stories, and thrillers! Our 2023 selections include amazing books published from 1911-1934. Check out the list, start reading, and listen in!

January 2023

Publication: 1911  |  Reading Time: 5 hours
 
Why It Made the Cut
This is Chesterton’s first collection of short stories featuring Father Brown, a nondescript Catholic priest who solves crimes using intuition and by tapping into spiritual and philosophic truths rather than scientific details. The stories are clever, thoughtful, and lovely.

February 2023

Publication: 1913  |  Reading Time: 4 hours

Why It Made the Cut
This book is considered one of the first “whodunits” – stories in which new clues appear throughout, making it possible for readers to feel as if they’re solving the crime along with the detective. Also, Trent is a “less than perfect” sleuth – in contrast to Sherlock Holmes.

March 2023

Publication: 1915  |  Reading Time: 4 hours

Why It Made the Cut
When a spy is murdered in Richard Hannay’s London flat, can Hannay manage to stay one step ahead of his pursuers? The story is an early example of the “man-on-the-run” adventure. It’s also a “shocker” that combines personal and political dramas.

April 2023

Publication: 1920  |  Reading Time: 4 hours

Why It Made the Cut
The story introduces Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. From the Times Literary Supplement (1921): “[The story] is said to be the result of a bet about the possibility of writing a detective story in which the reader would not be able to spot the criminal. Every reader must admit that the bet was won.”

May 2023

Publication: 1923  |  Reading Time: 4 hours

Why It Made the Cut
This is the first of 16 detective novels published by Sayers, one of the queens of the Golden Age of Detective Fiction. The story introduces Lord Peter Wimsey, considered the father of the amateur “gentleman sleuth” who will appear in many British novels for decades to come.

June 2023

Publication: 1926  |  Reading Time: 4 hours

Why It Made the Cut
This story has become known as one of Agatha Christie’s most controversial novels due to an unexpected stunner of a twist at the end. Christie considered it her masterpiece. In 2013, the British Crime Writers’ Association voted it the best crime novel ever written.

July 2023

Publication: 1929  |  Reading Time: 4 hours

Why It Made the Cut
This book marked Hammett’s transition from short stories to novels. His portrayal of the Continental Op as a “hard-boiled” detective eventually became a prototype for many detective stories to come. A former detective, Hammett knew his stuff.

August 2023

Publication: 1930  |  Reading Time: 4 hours
 
Why It Made the Cut
The third-person-objective narrative offers no insights into characters’ thoughts and feelings. Sam Spade’s cool, cynical nature turned this detective into a favorite character who was also popular in movies, most notably the 1941 release, starring Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade.

September 2023

Publication: 1931  |  Reading Time: 5 hours
 
Why It Made the Cut
This book is considered one of the first examples of the “inverted detective story,” in which both the murder AND murderer are revealed at the beginning. The intrigue occurs when the reader sees how the detective unravels the clues to solve the mystery.

October 2023

Publication: 1933  |  Reading Time: 4 hours
 
Why It Made the Cut
In this 1933 mystery, we meet criminal defense lawyer and detective Perry Mason for the first time. He’s hired by Eva Belter, who’s being blackmailed. Mason’s secretary, Della Street, says Eva’s “all velvet and claws.” Gardner went on to write 150 books that sold 300 million copies worldwide.

November 2023

Publication: 1934  |  Reading Time: 4 hours
 
Why It Made the Cut
Agatha Christie is the most widely published author of all time, outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare. Her books have sold more than a billion copies in English and another billion in a hundred foreign languages. This page-turner starring Hercule Poirot helps to explain why.

December 2023

Publication: 1934  |  Reading Time: 6 hours
 
Why It Made the Cut
Although there is much debate as to whether The Nine Tailors is Dorothy Sayers’ best novel, many call it her finest literary achievement. The murder method in this story was unique. The idea came from a sixpenny pamphlet that explained bell-ringing.