During our traditional end-of-year holiday hiatus in November and December 2022, Just Desserts members are given the following reading suggestion: Any of the four books in the Turing Hopper mystery series by Donna Andrews — You’ve Got Murder (2002), Click Here for Murder (2003), Access Denied (2004) and Delete All Suspects (2005). You are encouraged to read any one or more of these four novels, then visit this very discussion post on the Just Desserts Blog and leave a comment in a response to that post, sharing your thoughts on whichever novel(s) you sampled.
For those who are unfamiliar with the Turing Hopper series, here are the plot descriptions from the library catalog:
You’ve Got Murder: When a workaholic techie misses work for several days, his friend, Turing, does the only neighborly thing and checks in on Zack. She checks to see if he’s logged in from home. No luck. Then she skims the databases of local banks. Nothing. Next she searches hospital records throughout the state. No Zack. Turing is no crazed stalker: she is an Artificial Intelligence Personality of Zack’s creation. But, unlike other AIPs, Turing is sentient-and she senses foul play. She finds clues, but Zack’s enemies may well lie in the real world — outside the digital realm of the AIPS — where Turing has no ability to move.
Click Here for Murder: In Andrews’s second exciting computer-as-sleuth mystery, “Artificial Intelligence Personality” Turing Hopper draws on all her cyber skills to help investigate the murder of a gifted computer programmer, Ray Santiago, found shot to death in a Washington, D.C., alley, his laptop stolen. Turing and human colleagues Maude Graham and Tim Pincoski at Universal Library outside D.C. discover that Ray cleverly constructed a false identity and was deeply involved in the role-playing game subculture. Dangerous criminals have been preying on those gamers who turn to live-action role playing. The narrative mimics real software with layers of security for access to different databases and with worms to deny access and destroy intruders. Explanations of a few technical terms will ease the way for readers with little computer background, but those who are computer literate will most appreciate the author’s talent for blending information-age details with an enjoyable crime puzzle. (From the Publisher’s Weekly review).
Access Denied: When Turing Hopper, Artificial Intelligence Personality extraordinaire, learns that criminal Nestor Garcia’s once-dormant credit card has been doing a lot of shopping lately, she begins to do some sleuthing — and finds out the loot’s shown up at an empty bungalow. So Turing gets her human friends to stake out the vicinity. But when one of them sees something he wishes he hadn’t-and gets charged with murder-everyone will have to pull together to clear his name. The only way to do it is to find the guilty party — by luring him to attack them. But doing so might very well get them “accidentally” deleted…
Delete All Suspects: After a hit-and-run leaves a young techie named Eddie in the hospital, Turing, an almost-sentient computer, tries to help her PI friend Tim find out who did it. While Turing tries to break into Eddie’s computers, her human friends do the legwork. It seems Eddie lets his seedy friends use his computers-and some are running highly unsavory websites. Others are using spam to con people out of their credit card numbers. Then the feds show up, looking for an online vigilante who’s also using Eddie’s computers. Now Turing and her friends are caught in the middle. They can’t let the vigilante continue-but they also can’t tell the FBI everything without revealing Turing’s identity to the world.
Catalog Links: The libraries own these four titles in physical print editions as well as e-Books — links above should go to all versions.
When the Just Desserts mystery fiction discussion group met on June 27th, 2019, 19 group members discussed four of the 23 (so far) volumes in the “Meg Langslow” amateur detective series by Donna Andrews. Whether or not you attended the actual meeting, you are welcome to share your own thoughts and opinions about this series and Donna Andrews, in a reply comment to this blog post, below.
For additional reminders about upcoming Just Desserts meetings and/or other announcements of interest to mystery fans, don’t forget to sign up for the Just Desserts e-mail list. Or, if you’re logged into your account on Facebook, you can visit the Events page for the Lincoln City Libraries, and mark whether or not you plan to attend upcoming sessions of Just Desserts – this is a great way for you to help us promote this engaging discussion group! Our selections for future meetings are usually posted there months in advance — currently through our October 2019 meeting. You can also find the upcoming schedule of Just Desserts meetings/selections on the Book Groups section of the libraries’ BookGuide readers advisory pages.
So…What do you think of Donna Andrews, and her “Meg Langslow” series?
Join us again in July 2019 for a discussion of Tana French’s The Witch Elm, in the 4th floor auditorium at the Bennett Martin Public Library, 14th & “N” St., in downtown Lincoln, on July 25th, 2019.