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The Mystery of Hunting's End Discussion Questions

Special thanks to Rick Cypert, Nebraska Wesleyan University, for providing these questions.

1. How would you describe the protagonist Nurse Sarah Keate, based on her observations and reporting of characters and events around her? (e.g., see pp 54-59)

2. Lance O'Leary demonstrates his detecting skills in his interactions with, and questioning of, the guests at Hunting's End. What kinds of information emerge from the types of questions he asks? (e.g., see pp 98-107)

3. The relationship between Nurse Sarah Keate and Detective Lance O'Leary is complicated. How would you describe it based on their conversational exchanges and descriptions of one another? (e.g., see pp 236-251; 295-296)

4. What aspects, or perhaps stereotypes, of senior citizens are reflected in the character of Aunt Lucy? How does her character contribute to the story? (e.g., see pp 83-86)

5. Consider the various characters at the lodge -- an opera singer, a French cook, a young heiress, a Baroness, an undesirable fiance, a jealous wife, questionable business associates, a cantankerous elderly relative, and so on -- and think about how these familiar, yet distinctive, figures help to create a mystery plot.

6. Two "characters" on which you might not have focused are the stray cat and Jericho, the collie. Based on their actions and the scenes in which they appear, what might we conclude about their role(s) in this narrative? (e.g., see pp 81-82; 93)

7. Mignon Eberhart was known for creating atmosphere through her descriptions. Which descriptive passages resonated with you as a reader? (e.g., see p 260: "The cold draft along the floors, the steady sweep of snow outside, the moans of the wind as it swept under the eaves and poured its icy breath through every crack of the windows, the sighing of the sparse fire, and the curious hush, a waiting hush that oddly enough held fear and a kind of dread, within the lodge -- all proved it had been an illusion of release. That murder still bound us, exactly as it had bound us all along.")

8. Which clues captured your attention and helped you solve the mystery? Recall some of the chapter titles ("A Black Toupee"; "A Scrap of Lace"; "The Poison Again")? Were there any red herrings (or misleading clues) that led you astray?

9. On the wide stone chimney piece of the lodge is carved: "The End of all Good Hunting is Nearer than you Dream." Based on the novel, how would you interpret the significance of this epigraph? (e.g., see p 61)

10. Which elements of this mystery novel did you find most compelling? Which elements did you find less appealing?

Book a Speaker

Host a scholar listed on the Speakers Bureau of Humanities Nebraska. Apply for a grant from Humanities Nebraska to finance your event. Public programs sponsored by not-for-profit organizations may be eligible for funding assistance from Humanities Nebraska. See for dEtails on their Speaker's Bureau General Public Programs Eligibility requirements and for steps to book a speaker and to access application forms.

Nebraska Libraries: Rick Cypert is available to provide online presentations for your library. Please contact him for more information.

            Rick Cypert
            Professor of English and Education 
            Nebraska Wesleyan University 
            (402) 465-2348

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