Roberts Library Hosts a ‘Summer of Mystery’


Local fans of mysteries and thrillers are invited to participate in Dalton State’s “Summer of Mystery” featuring a series of book talks by librarians and faculty members and culminating with a murder mystery at the library.

The events take place at Roberts Library on campus and are free and open the public. Times vary, but all programs take place in room 235 on the library’s second floor.

“The summer reading program is designed to encourage students and others to continue in a pattern of learning during the summer months,” said Interim Library Director Melissa Whitesell. “We choose themes that have a broad interest, yet complement our various academic programs at the College. This year's theme, A Summer of Mystery, appeals to those who simply want to enjoy a good beach read but also ties in with courses such as criminal justice, psychology, biology, and chemistry. We’re proud to open our summer reading program to the community, and we welcome all who loves books and who love learning.”

The series kicks off Monday, June 6 with a book talk on “Dead Until Dark: A True Blood Discussion” led by Librarian Barbara Jones. The book, “Dead Until Dark,” by Charlaine Harris, is the first in a series that inspired the TV series “True Blood.” The program begins at 12 p.m.

On Thursday, June 9, Dr. Leslie Harrelson, associate professor of English, will discuss the book Mystic River by Dennis LeHane. The program will begin at 12:30 p.m.

“Writing is always about what it means to be alive; reading can be a way to create the tools to be human better,” said Harrelson. “‘Mystic River’ does both. The reason mysteries are laboratories for ideas and one liners is that the mystery makes explicit what most of us try to avoid. Everything is about life or death. Everything is about the details. And here, in the safety of this novel, you have the reassurance that – in the end—all things will have meaning. Perhaps you will even discover some element that will make the mystery of your own life seem closer to a resolution.”

Laura Tolliver, a library staff member, will present a program on “Taking the Mystery Out of Self Defense” on Tuesday, June 14. Tolliver, who holds a third degree black belt in Goju Ryu, will be joined by David Gambrell in the program in which participants will learn how to stay aware of their surroundings as well as tips and tools for self-defense. The program will begin at noon.

Dr. Jennifer Randall, associate professor of English, will speak on “Poe the Pro: Using Psychological Rhetoric to Get Away with Murder” at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, June 15.

“What is it that makes author Edgar Allan Poe so timeless and fascinating, and how does he so effortlessly get away with –and receive society’s approval and admiration—for the immortal acts and murders in his stories?” Randall asks. She will speak on Poe’s use of narrator and reader psychology to build suspense and intrigue but also how and why his stories really are the standard for murder mysteries and detective stories alike. Society’s fascination with murderers and serial killers can be directly linked to Poe’s insights into the human mind, Randall says.

Local author Jodi McDaniel Lowery will speak on her true crime book “Eula: The First Woman in Georgia to be Sentenced to the Electric Chair.” The program will be Wednesday, June 22 at 12:30 p.m.

According to Lowery, “Eula used her female wit and wiles to persuade men to do her bidding. She was accused of bootlegging, robbery, conspiracy, bigamy, running a house of prostitution, and murder – all before she was 25 years old. Governor Hardman personally involved himself in Eula’s murder case, and newspapers across America printed stories about her exploits and legal entanglements.”

“Amateur Sleuthing: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” is the title of a program by librarians Amy Burger and Betsy Whitley at 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 28. With the communication potential and 24/7 availability of the Internet, it has become easier than ever for civilians to try their hands at tying up loose ends of mysteries, solving cold crime cases, and finding answers to questions that have persisted for years, they say. The two will lead a discussion on the role of laypeople in investigations, including cases that have been solved by amateurs, those that remain unsolved, and some that have gone wildly wrong.

The highlight of the summer series will be Thursday, June 30 at 5 p.m. when Roberts Library hosts “Murder Mystery @ the Library.”

“A body has been found in the library under mysterious circumstances,” Whitesell said. “Students, faculty, staff, and community members are invited to assist librarians, detectives, and crime scene investigators determine who is responsible.”

The series ends Thursday, July 7 when Whitesell leads a Book Talk on “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime,” Mark Haddon’s heartrending and humorous portrait of an autistic young man’s attempt to resolve a mystery involving a neighborhood dog. Yet in the minds of his family, teachers, and neighbors, it is the boy himself who is the mystery.

For more information about the summer reading program, contact Roberts Library at 706-272-4575.