Memory Book by Howard Engel

Here are the discussion questions for this Howard Engel novel featured on BOOKED. Be sure to check out the general Booked club questions posted on our web site.

  1. The Quill & Quire has described Howard Engel's Benny Cooperman as "Canada's favourite soft-boiled detective". Do you agree? Is Benny unique as a Canadian Private Investigator (P.I.) and if so, how does he differ from American depictions of P.I.'s?

  2. One of the most amazing things about this novel is that it ever got written at all, given the author Howard Engel's inability to read following his stroke in 2001. Like Engel, the protagonist Benny Cooperman suffers from alexia sine agraphia, an inability to read or comprehend what is written. Did the real life story of the author affect your feelings towards the fictional Benny Cooperman? Did it enhance your enjoyment of the story?

  3. In re-discovering his investigation, Benny's plate fills up with seemingly unconnected and confusing evidence. Near the end, he decides to host a party at his hospital room and invite all the players in the hopes that they might crack under the pressure of being together in the same place at the same time. Is this scene a cliché or a classic à la Agatha Christie or TV's Inspector Columbo? Did you enjoy this scene?

  4. In a lot of crime fiction we see characters whose first love is the job and their personal and romantic relationships come second. Benny and his on-again-off-again girlfriend Anna Abraham's relationship is no exception. What did you think about their relationship? Did it enhance the story?

  5. A fair amount of time in the story is focused on the neurological rehabilitation of Benny Cooperman. Did this slow the reading down for you or did you find it well integrated and interesting?

  6. Violence or even the threat of violence doesn't appear to be a part of Benny's makeup as a P.I. What did you think of the author's choice to depict Benny in this manner?

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