|Plot Summary of Are You Nuts?|
|"Tom Mason, high school teacher, is preparing for the new term and for a new round of school politics. He is the union's building rep. An election for union president is impending, and both Jerome Blenkinsop and Seth O'Brien are seeking Tom's support.
Belutha Muffin of the religious right is applying for election at the PTA meeting. Questions are likely to be raised since Tom and his lover Scott, a famous baseball player, have spent the summer being interviewed on television and radio about their relationship. Tom decides to avoid the meeting, and is woken in the night with the news that his librarian friend Meg Swarthmore has been arrested for Jerome's murder.
Jerome has been battered with a copy of Smith's Comprehensive Encyclopedia which has Meg's fingerprints on it. Meg refuses to speak to Tom. Nonetheless convinced of her innocence, he questions many people who were at the meeting: Agnes Davis, former union president, Beatrix Xury, discontented teacher, Carolyn Blackburn, district superintendent, Trevor Thompson, young gay teacher, Lydia Marquez, conservative school board member, among others.
Tom finds another copy of the Encyclopedia, stained with Jerome's blood, in his classroom. The discovery makes the case more complicated, and puts Tom himself under suspicion.
It emerges that Jerome had a secret conservative agenda to overturn recent liberal reforms. The conservative faction is deeply divided by old enmities. Lydia tells Tom that she believes Belutha Muffin is guilty; in retaliation, Belutha gives her own version, talking about the in-fighting and Beatrix's involvement with both sides. Then there is another murder."
Maureen Evans, Resident Scholar
|Review Analysis of Are You Nuts?|
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Ratings are on a 1-10 scale (Low to High)
Composition of Book
Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives - 60%
Feelings, relationships, character bio/development - 20%
How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) - 20%
Tone of story
How difficult to spot villain?
Time/era of story:
What % of story relates directly
to the mystery, not the subplot?
- best friend
Murder of certain profession?
Misc. Murder Plotlets
- Proving innocence of very obvious suspect
Kind of investigator
- amateur citizen investigator
Kid or adult book?
- Adult or Young Adult Book
Any non-mystery subplot?
- minority/women/homosexual issues
Murder Mystery (killer unknown)
Is this an ordinary person caught up in events?
How much violence does he/she use?
How sensitive is this character?
- sensitive to others' feelings
Sense of humor
- Mostly serious with occasional humor
- Smarter than most other characters
- average physique
- an organization
How much of work is main antagonist actually present in:
- a moderate amount
The antagonists are:
- radical right wingers
Part of a series?
- mostly 1st
Accounts of torture and death?
- generic/vague references to death/punishment
How many deaths?
What kind of sex:
- homosexuals doing their thing
Unusual forms of death
- blunt clubbing (like seals)
Unusual form of death?
Amount of dialog
- significantly more dialog than descript