DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: MURDER IN HER STOCKING
When I began writing the Savannah Reid Mysteries, 25 years ago, I soon discovered the readers of that series adored Savannah’s 80-plus-year-old grandmother, Granny Reid. Almost every fan letter included praise for the feisty, wise, compassionate octogenarian.
The history of how Savannah and her eight siblings were raised by Granny Reid has never been fully explained in the Savannah books, merely hinted at here and there. I’d been holding this story for many years in my heart, waiting for the right moment to share it with my readers. Loving Christmas as I do, I thought it would make a good holiday book. When my editor suggested I begin a second series, that one came to mind instantly, and here it is: Murder in Her Stocking. It’s a story of murder, of course, but it’s also a tale of human strength and frailties, hope and despair, and the power of love and faith to manifest miracles—especially at Christmas time! I hope you enjoyed it half as much as I did writing it. – G.A. McKevett
- One of Stella “Granny” Reid’s traits is her strength and how she defends others more vulnerable than herself. She rises to the occasion and does what’s necessary, in spite of personal risk. What other admirable traits does Stella have? What are some of her flaws? Can flaws sometimes be strengths and strengths be flaws?
- Stella embraces the enormous task of raising her grandchildren and leading by example. Is there someone in your life who reminds you of Granny Reid?
- When Stella finds Priscilla Carr, the town’s least favorite woman, dying in an alley behind the bar, Stella shows her nothing but respect. Throughout the investigation, Stella appears to have more compassion for Prissy than some other citizens of McGill. Do you admire her for this? Do you think she would have been able to offer that same depth of understanding if she had found a piece of her own jewelry in Prissy’s box?
- Murder in Her Stocking takes place during Christmas, and Stella participates in many traditions with her family—from making fudge to decorating the tree. Are traditions important to you? Does your family have any that you feel are unique? Have you started any traditions of your own that you hope your loved ones will carry on throughout the generations to come?
- With money so scarce, Stella had to make do when it came to gifts for the children. Rather than spending money, she used her precious free time creating their presents. Have you ever done this? How did it turn out? Has someone ever given you the gift of their time and love, rather than one that cost money? What did that mean to you?
- The book closes with the hint of a possible romantic relationship between Stella and Sheriff Manny Gilford, the “voice of law and order in McGill.” What do you think will happen between them?
- Stella has two best friends—Elsie Dingle, a black woman, and Florence Bagley, one of the wealthiest women in town. What were some of the similarities and differences in both friendships? What qualities do you look for and value most in a friend? Which personality quirks or character flaws might send you running from a potential friendship, or even an old one?
- Murder in Her Stocking is the first book in a new spin-off series based on the Savannah Reid Mystery series. For those who have read Savannah’s adventures, how did you feel about meeting younger versions of familiar characters?
- Some fans of the Savannah Reid series say the children in Murder in Her Stocking possess similar personalities to the ones they have as adults. Do you think people change much throughout the course of their lives? If so, for the better or worse? Why do you think this is true?
- Murder in Her Stocking takes place during the 1980s—when women had big hair, people wore colorful and disastrous sweaters, and Ronald Reagan was president. Stella describes ‘80s McGill, Georgia, as a “small town filled with people who had plenty of opinions but precious little common sense about when, where, or how to state them.” What do you think Stella means by this? Can this statement be applied to today?
- Stella has taken her grandchildren under her wing because her daughter-in-law Shirley is an abusive and dangerously negligent mother. Stella “found it much easier to forgive her daughter-in-law for any offenses she might have committed against her than for those she had inflicted upon her grandchildren.” What does this say about Stella’s overall character and as a grandmother? Do you find it easier to forgive and forget an offense against you than those that have harmed your loved ones?
- Stella’s grandchildren will treasure the memories she created for them for the rest of their lives. What memories of your grandparents, aunts, and uncles do you treasure? How do you feel their examples impacted your life?
- One of Stella’s priorities is to pass along the qualities of loyalty, honesty, and kindness to her grandchildren. What do you hope to instill in those family members who come after you?
- Stella enjoys many Southern sayings like, Don’t get your britches in an uproar, Running like somebody with his tail feathers afire, Useful as a screen door in a subway, and Bless her heart. What are some of your favorite lines from the book and why? What are your family members’ best Southernisms? Do you have a go-to saying?
Book Title: Christmas Cake Murder and Murder in Her Stocking
Authors: Joanne Fluke, G. A. McKevett