Book Club Questions
- Harry and Dizzy Lark are versions of the hard-boiled detective and the girl detective, respectively; they’re direct descendants of Philip Marlow and Nancy Drew. How do they compare to the predecessors with whom you’re familiar? How does the father-daughter relationship affect both detective types? (For more about girl detectives and their detective fathers, see the Inquiring Minds section.)
- In her suburban Southern neighborhood in 1961, Dizzy is an anomaly because her parents are divorced. How do you think her unusual status shapes her as a character?
- Like you, Dizzy and her friends are, above all, passionate readers. How does their reading influence how they think and feel?
- In the book, Harry stops working for the mob because he foresees how important the new space center will be to his children. He appreciates that his children need heroes to look up to and emulate. Of course, Dizzy rightly elevates Juney Armbruster to hero status for participating in civil rights demonstrations. Who are today’s kids’ heroes? Do they measure up, in your opinion?
- The book is set in the time before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (in the days before “civil rights movement” was conventionally capitalized). What do you think has and hasn’t changed in American race relationships since that time?