The Game Is Afoot! (Five Fall Favorites Blog Party)

Around this time of year is when Hallmark’s Movies and Mysteries channel will release their latest mystery movies, which my family and I love to watch together. I’m always trying to watch for foreshadowing, keep clues tucked away in my head, theorize motives with family members, and try to piece it all together before the big reveal (same for books *lol*). I guess you could say I have an insatiable curiosity to know who did it and why.

*glances at all the Boxcar Children and Nancy Drew books consumed during childhood*

*cough* Yeah. My love for mysteries goes way back XD.

Wanna know a secret? Some of my favorite kinds of mysteries are puzzle books where you get to be the detective. (It gives you a chance to put your own detective skills to use!) In today’s list, I’m featuring three favorite puzzles books, along with two favorite mystery books I read this year; so let’s get started!

Great Quicksolve Whodunit Puzzles

(By Jim Sukach)

I’m still working my way through this one, but I’ve already come across a few stumpers. So far, there are some murder mystery cases, but it’s nothing super detailed/gory. Each is about a two minute read and involves logic and catching the clues subtlety woven in.

The Curse of the Crossbow Archer (Get a Clue Book 4)

(By Julian Press)

There’s someone out the assassinate the mayor! And a whole lot of other cases of theft, disappearances, and more! What makes this series unique is that you read the story on one page and then search the accompanying picture for clues (answers are on the following page). Plot-driven and fun, I think the last two books in the series were the more challenging ones. It was so much fun to do it with my siblings (by the way, there’s no real ‘curse’, or magic. It’s just a myth.)

Mr. Benedict’s Book of Perplexing Puzzles, Elusive Enigmas, and Curious Conundrums (The Mysterious Benedict Society)

(By Trenton Lee Stewart)

This might be the hardest puzzle book we’ve ever done. It definitely stretches the mind, and you might want to bring a pen and paper to work out the various problems. And, if I remember right, as you solve clues along the way, you pick up more clues that spell out a special message at the end, so keep your eyes peeled for it!

The Case of the Gypsy Good-Bye (An Enola Holmes Mystery #6)

(By Nancy Springer)

I keep picturing Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as Sherlock and Watson when I read this series XD. Anywho, I loved how Enola got to interact with her brothers during a case and even work together with them at one point. The ending was rather bittersweet, and I really wanted to give a hug to a certain gruff character (they weren’t as bad as I first thought).

There are themes of the feminist movement in this series, plus a mother who abandoned her children. The mystery also centers around a kidnapping, and there’s a girl who’s been deformed through wearing a corset her whole life (let’s just say the reality of corsets during that time period is rather frightening.)

Catch You Later, Traitor

(By Avi)

This one definitely left me guessing and trying to piece together Pete’s family secret. As usual, I love the unique and distinctive character voice Avi brings to each of his historical fiction books. And speaking of historical setting, this book takes place during the 1950’s where fear of communism is on the rise (a topic I haven’t seen a lot in MG/YA fiction. It was really interesting to learn.) I think one of my favorite parts, (aside from the mystery aspect), of the book is watching Pete’s growth. And the ending! I should’ve seen it coming! But that’s all I’ll say *winks*.

There is a teacher and an FBI agent who harass Pete (i.e the teacher puts a stigma on Pete because supposedly his family has communist connections, and the agent keeps following and talking to Pete, trying to get incriminating evidence.) Also, Pete searches for one of his dad’s friends to get answers to his family’s past (without his parents’ knowledge), plus there’s some friction between Pete and his older brother (but there’s eventually a resolution).


I hope you enjoyed discovering today’s reading list! To find more mystery books for your shelf, hop on over to Kate’s blog where she’s linking to more posts in today’s mystery genre. And before I forget, here’s today’s ebook deal!

Click the image to find this book on Amazon!

(Oh, and if you haven’t already, be sure to check out the epic giveaway Kate put together! There’s a lot of cool stuff this year, and you could be the winner!)


What’s your favorite mystery? Do you like puzzle books? Has anyone seen the Enola Holmes movie? (Yes, they made a movie based on the book series! A second movie is said to release in November.)

Find the rest of my Five Fall Favorites posts below:

Intro!

Fantasy

Mystery

Futuristic

Historical Fiction

Best of 2022

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44 thoughts on “The Game Is Afoot! (Five Fall Favorites Blog Party)

    1. Oh yes! I remember reading the first book! We tried the movie version; have you seen it?
      Lol, I loved the puzzles too. And it was such a cool way to learn about libraries (now I seriously want one like Lemoncello’s XD.)

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Personally, I remember liking the characters and their development more in the book than the movie lol. The movie felt rather short, though it was nice to see what the library might actually look like 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  1. I haven’t read or heard of any of these, but they sound interesting for sure! I have watched and really liked the Enola Holmes movie on Netflix when visiting family.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I LOVE a good mystery book! I read so many Nancy Drew and the Boxcar Children when I was younger. They really do a great job of hooking you, regardless of how cliche the premise sometimes is. 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol, so true! And even though I like trying to figure out a murder mystery, Nancy Drew and The Boxcar Children showed that you can still get sucked into a mystery that doesn’t involve death.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love mysteries too! And suspense thrillers! I am incorporating mysteries into my WIP as well. Hidden secrets, betrayals, misunderstood motives, hidden plots and subplots. Historical/Biblical mysteries, etc.
    I also like playing What If for historical unsolved mysteries, so there’s that too. Growing up I used to watch the TV series Columbo and was always amazed at how smart he was and how he could pull off seeming to be an absent minded and bumbling detective and get his suspects to reveal themselves. I also was a big fan of the Monk series, and I read the Sherlock Holmes books and a few of the Agatha Christie novels and short stories. Also liked the characters of Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot. I tend to be very cerebral in my tastes. I want more thoughtful fiction that has the complexity of a mystery in it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Fun! Now I want to read your book lol. Ooo, what’s your favorite suspense thriller books?

      Oh, have you ever heard of the two princes of England who went missing after their uncle locked them in the Tower of London? I suddenly forgot their names, but it was in the…Middle Ages? Right after? I’m not a history buff XD. But as far as I know, they never found those boys again. What’s your favorite unsolved historical mystery?

      I don’t think I’ve seen Columbo before, but I’ll have to check that out. My family is always on the lookout for a good tv series. Have you seen any of the movie adaptations of Christie’s novels?

      Yes! After watching BBC’s Sherlock, my mind was blown and I was wanting more mind-bending, thought-provoking stories XD.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Lilly,

        I updated the Recommend page to improve the layout:
        https://excavatia.wordpress.com/recommended-works-of-my-peers/

        Shakespeare’s “Richard III” covers the kidnapped twin in the Tower of London. It has been a while since I read it. May need to brush up on my recollections of “The Bard.”

        I think Dean R. Koontz is my favorite suspense thriller writer. His imagery and prose are amazing.

        My WIP has some biblical mysteries, which adds to the fun and delight.

        My challenge is “Think you are familiar with the Word of God? Have you read this…?”
        Each exploration of the Holy Scriptures deepens our understanding of how amazing Our Heavenly Father is and how much He wants us to walk with Him through His amazing mysteries embedded within our story of Redemption.

        I will have to get back to you on my “favorite unsolved historical mysteries”. I have quite a few.

        Columbo is excellent. Peter Falk played the titular character.

        Yes, I have seen several of the Agatha Christie movie versions. My wife and I went to see “Murder on the Orient Express” with Kenneth Branaugh playing the role of Hercule Poirot. It was pretty good.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh, thanks so much, Brian! I like the layout (and Lindsey Renee Backen’s books look really interesting. I’ll have to check those out.)

          Ah, okay. I think I’ve heard of that book, but I haven’t read it yet.
          Cool! Did Dean R. Koontz teach any writing classes or workshops? His name sounds familiar.

          Fun! Can I ask what kind of Biblical mysteries you chose to incorporate?

          Hmm, that sounds like a good challenge 🙂 I like deep-dive Bible studies.

          Oh yeah, my family and I saw that version of Murder on the Orient Express!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Yes, he (Dean Koontz) did. Many years ago, I think. (1981)

            Check out his interview with Raymond Arroyo:

            So Biblical mysteries:
            What man in scripture lived the longest in terms of years?

            Who might the two witnesses referenced in Revelation 11:3 be and are there implications in other scriptures that might indicate who these could be? (Matthew 17)

            What is a “terebinth” and what does it signify in the OT? (Hint: Joshua 24)

            What is the major significance of a “terebinth” paired with a “stone of remembrance”?

            Three men in scripture have mysterious disappearances recorded in the bible: Who were they and cite the passages?

            What do the names Bethpeor and Moab mean and how is this location connected to Moses?

            Who was the first biblical prophet and why does his prophecy only appear in the New Testament?

            All of these will be in my novel series.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Wow, those are some great questions. And thanks for the link to Koontz’s interview and works 🙂

              Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to have to look up the answers in my next Bible study lol!

              Liked by 1 person

                  1. Hi Lily,

                    Did you get a chance to guess the following?

                    1. What man in scripture lived the longest in terms of years and what does his name mean? (Hint: Genesis 5)

                    2. Who might the two witnesses referenced in Revelation 11:3 be and are there implications in other scriptures that might indicate who these could be? (Hint: Matthew 17:1-13, Deut. 19:15, 2 Cor. 13:1)

                    3. What is a “terebinth” and what does it signify in the OT? (Hint: Genesis 12:6 & 18:1)

                    4. What is the major significance of a “terebinth” paired with a “stone of remembrance”? (Hint: Joshua 24:26)

                    5. Three men in scripture have mysterious disappearances recorded in the bible: Who were they and cite the passages?

                    6. What do the names Bethpeor and Moab mean and how is this location connected to Moses? (Hint: Deut. 34:6)

                    7. Who was the first biblical prophet and why does his prophecy only appear in the New Testament?

                    Let me know if you would like the answers. (I tend to do things in sevens. Just a recent quirk of mine. 😉)

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. Let’s see…when I saw questions 1, 2, and part of five, I thought of a few answers (admittedly, I didn’t get a chance to properly check until today XD).

                      But for question 1, I thought of Methuselah.

                      For 2, Elijah and Moses.

                      And for 5, I remember Enoch (Genesis 5:24) and Elijah (2 Kings 2) didn’t die, but were taken up to heaven (is the third one Moses because they don’t know exactly where he was buried? Dt. 34:5-6, and Jude 1:9)

                      Lol, the rest had left me stumped (yes please, what are the answers?)

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. Yes, you answered several correctly.

                      1. What man in scripture lived the longest in terms of years and what does his name mean? (Hint: Genesis 5)
                      Methuselah lived 969 years, according to Genesis 5:25-29, but technically, since Enoch, his father, did not die (see also Hebrews 11:5), Methuselah was the oldest man on earth, BUT if we are counting years of time since birth, Enoch would be the correct answer, since he was born in 3426 B.C. and Methuselah, was born in 3317 B.C. (remember that the numbers go down as we head towards 0 A.D.). If Enoch presently remains alive (he would be 5,448 years old presently), so Enoch would be the oldest, since he outlived his son, and was born 2,546 years before Elijah (880 B.C.). (This was a tricky question, I know. 😉)

                      2. Who might the two witnesses referenced in Revelation 11:3 be and are there implications in other scriptures that might indicate who these could be? (Hint: Matthew 17:1-13, Deut. 19:15, 2 Cor. 13:1)
                      You are correct. Here’s something also to consider concerning what these two men represent. Moses was associated with “The Law” as the recipient of the Ten Commandments, and the person who God used to pen The Torah under His Divine Inspiration which is the first 5 books of the OT (Deut. 31:9 & 26). These include the Levitical laws as well, so Moses represents the human symbol for the giving of “The Law.” Elijah was a very dynamic representation of the age of “The Prophets”, so it is clear that in the Jewish mind, it was clear that Elijah was representative of “The Prophets”.
                      Scripture reveals that these two areas were what the nation used as witnesses to God’s truth, which affirmed the testimony of what was being said or asserted. Here are essential passages supporting that position:
                      * The law and the prophets [were] until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it. [Luke 16:16]
                      * Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. [John 1:45]
                      * But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; [Romans 3:21]

                      Further, the principle of having two or three witnesses to exonerate or condemn a person is also biblically well-established. (See Deuteronomy 17:6 & 19:15 [see below]; Matt. 18:16; 1 Corinthians 14:29; 2 Corinthians 13:1 [see below]; Hebrews 10:28; 1 Timothy 5:19)

                      * One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established. [Deuteronomy 19:15]
                      * This [is] the third [time] I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established. [2 Corinthians 13:1]

                      Remember, that is what the “two witnesses” are sent to do. To proclaim judgment against the wickedness done by the antichrist and those who follow him. They represent the Law and The Prophets with the authority to warn and condemn him and his followers.
                      The third witness is Christ Jesus, Himself, and He returns as the Righteous Judge on the White Horse.

                      3. What is a “terebinth” and what does it signify in the OT? (Hint: Genesis 12:6 & 18:1)
                      Terebinth is a tree where a deity appeared to a human. Considering that, the “burning bush” could be considered a “terebinth” in Exodus 3:2, and in Judges 6:11, 19, where “the Angel of the Lord” appeared to Gideon, but they also were understood to be a tree symbol of divine appearance by pagans as in Hosea 4:13.

                      4. What is the major significance of a “terebinth” paired with a “stone of remembrance”? (Hint: Joshua 24:26)
                      As in Joshua 24:26, there are three things present in that scene: 1. A terebinth tree, 2. A massive stone, and 3. The Tabernacle of the Lord
                      * Joshua recorded these things in the Book of God’s Instructions. As a reminder of their agreement, he took a huge stone and rolled it beneath the terebinth tree beside the Tabernacle of the LORD. [Joshua 24:26 NLT]
                      What is so powerful about this pairing is this:
                      Jesus was present and crucified on the wood of a tree: God in the Flesh was sacrificed on the Terebinth to reveal Himself as the final sacrifice for our sins. The cross then is “The Terebinth” symbol for the Christian.
                      The most significant “Stone of Remembrance” is a powerful reminder of WHY Christ Jesus’s sacrifice is a symbol of victory and perpetuate witness of that. The Stone that was rolled away to reveal the “Empty Tomb” is a powerful reminder that we serve a resurrected Jesus who has conquered both sin and death:
                      They found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. [Luke 24:2 NLT] (See also John 20:1)
                      The third thing present in the scene in Joshua 24:26, is The Tabernacle of The Lord, which Jesus Himself is, because for those who accept Him as Savior, He now lives and “tabernacles” with us in our hearts.
                      * And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God [is] with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, [and be] their God. [Revelation 21:3]

                      Incidentally, the Hebrew name translated as “Joshua” in our English texts is “Yeshua”, which in Greek was translated and rendered in English as “Jesus” in the New Testament. God uses symbols and patterns in the OT to reflect what He would do personally in the NT. Jesus is the guarantor of our New Covenant secured by Himself. He seals us in Himself and clothes us with His righteousness. Both the “Terebinth” and the “Stone” are the assurances of His Tabernacle being in our own hearts.

                      5. Three men in scripture have mysterious disappearances recorded in the bible: Who were they and cite the passages?
                      Enoch (Genesis 5:24; Hebrews 11:5)
                      Elijah (2 Kings 2:11 & 16-18)
                      Moses (Deut. 34:6; Jude 1:9)

                      6. What do the names Beth Peor and Moab mean and how is this location connected to Moses? (Hint: Deut. 34:6)
                      (I am adding to that the name “Nebo” as well.)
                      When we see the Hebrew word “Beth” it means “House” (e.g. Bethlehem actually means “House of Bread”)
                      Peor means “Open Door”, so Bethpeor literally means “The House of the Opening/Door”
                      Nebo means “Prophet/Prophecy”

                      So Moses was buried by God at the threshold of “Prophecy” and the “House of the Open Door”.
                      Since Moses is the representation of “The Law”, and we know that God gave us the “Law” to reveal the sin that separates us from entering “His House”, it is an amazing picture of our condition. Sin, as revealed by The Law, must be put to rest, before anyone can enter the “House of The Opening”.
                      Also, the land of Moab was where Moses is buried, but no one knew where specifically. Moab literally means “Who is your father?” (Genesis 19:37) The oldest daughter of Lot named her son “Moab” to mock her immoral trickery of her father. So here’s the symbolic picture:
                      The power of the Law is an impediment to us entering the House of the Open Door. The “Law” had to be put to death to remove the barrier. Jesus says of Himself, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” [John 14:6 NKJV] He also refers to Himself, “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” [John 10:9 NKJV]

                      But the chief impediment is settling the question of “Who is your father?” Jesus, Himself is the Door to making us His children.
                      * And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. [2 Corinthians 6:18 KJV]

                      Jesus is the fulfillment of that picture and prophecy. Jesus IS the access to God’s House. Jesus’s death on the Cross put to death the power of the Law by taking its consequence upon Himself. His Life is our Life. His access to The Father gives us access to The Father. He IS THE OPEN DOOR.
                      I think it is pretty amazing that so many things are underneath this mystery.

                      7. Who was the first biblical prophet and why does his prophecy only appear in the New Testament?
                      The first recorded prophecy relayed by a person designated to be a prophet was actually given by Enoch. His prophecy is of the “end times” related to Christ’s return. It appears in the NT book of Jude.

                      And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard [speeches] which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling [words], having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage. [Jude 1:14-16 KJV]

                      Enoch saw the future, even back at the very beginning. Enoch’s name means “Teacher”. Enoch witnessed the conditions that led up to the “Days of Noah” his great-grandson. (Jesus refers to that time period in Matt. 24:37 & Luke 17:26 in comparison to the “End times”.) Methuselah (his name means “His death shall bring”) died in the very year that God sent The Flood. Methuselah’s son’s name was Lamech, sharing the same root word from which we get the word “lamenting”. Enoch was still on the earth when his grandson “Lamech” was born to his son Methuselah, so it is fair to assume that both of the men were “lamenting” the moral degradation of their society and speaking out against the wickedness of their day.

                      As you can see there is a lot packed into this. These mysteries also reveal profound truths.
                      Truly it can be said:
                      [It is] the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings [is] to search out a matter. [Proverbs 25:2 KJV]

                      Liked by 1 person

                    3. Oh that’s right! I didn’t think of Enoch (That was a good one!)

                      Thanks so much for answering all the questions, Brian. I really enjoyed learning about these profound truths!

                      I’m always left amazed at the many layers in the Bible; and no matter how deep you dig, you still don’t reach the end, but keep finding more and more amazing things. It reminds me of the Psalm 23 Bible study we did this summer as a family. We went through Phillip Keller’s A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 and wow did it bring new understanding to that passage (never gonna look at it the same way again.) 🙂

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  4. Also The Silent by Rebecca Kennedy is a great mystery/thriller/Christian teen novel that my friend Anna reviewed on her blog. I got it because she said it’s really good and I agree. I highly recommend it! I recommend that you only read it if you’re over 13 (I know you are Lily 😉😉). It’s very intense especially toward the end and has a tiny bit of romance. Very small amount and doesn’t go into great detail. 😉 That’s all I’m going to say though.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I love sudoku which isn’t a mystery book but it does involve logic and is a puzzle book. 😉 I also loved the Boxcar Children. I also used to have an AIO solve it yourself mystery book but I’m not very good with clues. My dad is really good at them and we’ve done escape rooms. If you’ve heard of those. They’re so much fun but nerve-racking at the same time because you’re timed and only have 2 hours to escape.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ve heard of those puzzles. I’ve only done a handful of crosswords lol. Oh, but the AIO sounds like a good one.

      Yes, I have! I’ve played a few escape room games on my kindle, but I’d love to learn how to do a real one someday. Are you given any clues before hand, or do you just have to investigate the room yourself (and use logic?)

      Like

      1. Depends on the room. We’ve done ones at home that give you a clue to start with but ones you do in person don’t usually give you a clue to start with. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh wow, such great recs!! I’ve never heard of any of these except the Enola Holmes one and I’m glad to hear you recommend it 😀

    Also, I love all your post titles 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw, thanks so much, Katja! Just to let you know, some of the Enola Holmes books get a bit dark (and I suddenly remembered some swear words. My mom edited it out when she read it to us, which is why I didn’t think of it *facepalm*.)

      Liked by 1 person

  7. *glances at the Nancy Drews and Boxcars I read as a child too* I have that Mr. Benedict puzzle book! And I’ve read a different book by Avi, but never heard of this one. I must investigate!🤭

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ooo, fellow Nancy Drew/Boxcar Children book reader!
      That’s cool. Have you tried any of the puzzles yet?
      *hands you magnifying glass and deerstalker hat* Let the investigation begin lol.

      Liked by 1 person

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