Adding a new twist to book clubs with mystery subscription boxes

Puzzling out last year’s story…

Playing Cosykiller at home

Playing Cosykiller at home

Virginia Steele Origins box 1

Virginia Steele Origins box 1

Book circles are a popular way for readers to share their passion for stories, but as the landscape of entertainment evolves changes are afoot in reading too.

GRIMSBY, N.E. LINCS, UNITED KINGDOM, March 15, 2024 / — Crime dominates book clubs and reading circles. Whether it’s a page turning thriller or a more traditional cosy style mystery, with murder mystery books being top of the publication and reading charts for decades, it’s not a surprise that the books most often selected for book clubs are also crime fiction.

Book circles have long been a popular way for readers to share their passion for stories and swap ideas for new reads. But as the landscape of entertainment evolves, reading groups have also discovered a new way to enjoy their time together by entering the world of murder mystery subscription stories.

Games are becoming a focus for social connection, and for those who enjoy reading and crime fiction, the ability to combine the two has proved irresistible.

Imagine a group of avid readers eagerly gathering each month, not only to discuss the latest novel but also to review facts each other has obtained from their current cold case. It’s a new twist on an old trope. Rather than just discussing a book, they’re actually discussing a serialized story, but unlike Sherlock Holmes which was original released episodically generating much discussion amongst the readers of The Strand Magazine, Cosykiller, one of the leading experience providers, is deliberately designed as a choose your own adventure mystery experience. It delivers episodically and in a much different way to a standard book, throwing the reader into the action, allowing them to become their own narrator and an active participant in the case.

There are already five stories in the Cosykiller narrative puzzle experiences which are designed to unfold over the course of a year. Launched from the UK, arguably the original home of traditional country house crime fiction, Cosykiller is the only “golden age of fiction” style boxo on the market.

“We deliberately aimed for the armchair sleuth” Jo Smedley, Managing Director of the firm explained. “When we launched there were other firms out there already delivering the serial killer vibe style experiences. But not everyone likes that. Cosykiller is much more like an Agatha Christie with characters you want to get to know.”

One of the most exciting aspect of incorporating games like Cosykiller into book group activities is the element of surprise. Unlike traditional book clubs where members typically know the plot of the selected book in advance, with subscription stories, each instalment brings fresh revelations and unexpected developments. Without the ability to read ahead, this element of suspense fosters lively discussions and speculation among the members, creating an atmosphere of collaborative sleuthing reminiscent of classic whodunits.

“You become your own narrator.” Jo said. “We provide all the evidence you need, and we find our armchair sleuths follow their own paths through the story. There can be some lively debates, and a lot of well defended theories as people try to put their own views across as to what is going on and who is responsible for the murder, or murders, in each case.”

Cosykiller launched in 2017 with “An Inheritance of Murder” a golden age of fiction style murder mystery set in India during the time of the Raj. It has released a new story every year, but took a short hiatus in 2023 to bring out a three month mini series and a book on codebreaking, rather than it’s next annual series.

Virginia Steele Origins came out in 2023.” Jo said. “It’s actually a sequel for our original game An Inheritance of Murder. We got to the end of that story and we were regularly being emailed to ask for more information on Virginia Steele. People just loved her as a character and wanted to know what happened to her. We decided 2023 was the time we were going to bring that character to life. We already knew so much about her. A lot of plotting and back stories never make it into the boxes themselves, and Virginia had a massive back story that was available to explore. Which is what we did. We designed it carefully so it doesn’t give away too much information on the original case, and it means you can play it as a prequel or a sequel to the story, though if I were to choose for you – I’d play it second.”

Murder mystery subscriptions offer a convenient solution for book groups looking to inject new energy into their gatherings. With busy schedules and competing commitments, it can be challenging to maintain momentum and attendance at traditional book club meetings. However, by subscribing to a serialized story delivered directly t oyour door, participants are incentivized to stay engaged and committed to the group’s activities throughout the year.

Beyond the thrill of solving a gripping mystery, murder mystery subscription stories also provide ample opportunities for thematic exploration and discussion.

“Cosykiller has a historic setting to most of its cases” Jo explained. “It means people get to explore the past as well as solving a case. It gives people the chance to look at the change in behaviour across history, and discuss motives and psychology of characters, as well as moral dilemmas society faced in that period. Our games often generate meaningful conversations that extend far beyond the confines of the story itself.”

If you’re looking for a new way to breath life back into your book club, then murder mystery subscription stories could be the route for you too. They represent an interesting fusion of literature, entertainment, and social interaction that is ideally suited for book groups seeking to shake up their meetings. So gather your fellow sleuths, sharpen, and prepare to embark on a thrilling literary adventure unlike any other.

The game is afoot!

Mrs Joanne Smedley
Red Herring Games LTD
+44 1472 348909
email us here
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