"STARTER KIT" FOR
LITERARY DISCUSSION GROUPS

(for the Ben Candidi Mystery-Thriller Series, by Dirk Wyle)



For Pharmacology Is Murder, by Dirk Wyle

  • Ben Candidi and Geoffrey A. Westley -- personality dynamics in counterpoint


  • What Margaret Westley brought to the story


  • Does the guilt reside in more than one person?


  • The transforming experience of higher education


  • Mentoring


  • Humanizing vs dehumanizing influences of science: Did one or more of the scientists exert a humanizing influence?


  • Was justice served?


  • Was crime fought with crime?


  • Is there a moral to the story? A moral "center of gravity"?


  • The role of Rebecca Levis


  • Can poetry be found in science?



For Biotechnology Is Murder, by Dirk Wyle

  • British cultural hegemony in the U.S.A. -- alive and well or a thing of the past?


  • Rosenkrantz, Guildenstern and on-the-job self-training


  • "Capitalist Rats"


  • Barcarole -- how boats give people license to act differently


  • Greed vs greed


  • Must distrust and duplicity always come with the venture capitalist territory?


  • Was justice served and who cares?


  • Miami as a character in the story


  • Dr. Brian Broadmoore as a taskmaster


  • Ben's level of self-awareness



For Medical School Is Murder, by Dirk Wyle

  • The love of Nature and the demands of civilization


  • Love for partner vs the need for self-realization


  • Ideal World vs Real World


  • Ben's level of self-awareness


  • Science in religion; religion in science


  • Professor Peter Peterson's legacy


  • Medical school as a center of higher learning


  • Dr. Thomas Stockmann: Enemy of the People


  • Moral choices made by Ben's colleagues


  • Idealists at war with each other


  • Psychological autopsy of Prof. Peter Peterson


  • What was at stake in the story?







For Amazon Gold, by Dirk Wyle

  • Jungle exploration do attitudes change with latitudes?


  • Developed- vs undeveloped nations and their indigenous peoples


  • Theodore "Pops" Harvey: Too good to be true?


  • Michael Malencik: Does that personality come with the territory?


  • Personality dynamics of Ben with Dr. Westley


  • Edith Pratt: What's making her tick?


  • Personality dynamics of Edith Pratt with Sanch Riquez


  • What really happened that night at Captain Walley's?


  • Yanomama culture


  • Who is fighting for what?


  • Psychological makeup of Rebecca Levis, M.D.


  • Psychological makeup of Ben Candidi, Ph.D.





For Bahamas West End Is Murder, by Dirk Wyle

  • The Gulf Stream water and the Little Bahama Bank


  • Island landfall


  • Bahamian bureaucracy and American boaters


  • The sociology of the West End Marina. Out-of-the-ordinary or predictable? Does boating or resort living bring out a different kind of personality?


  • Couple dynamics of Ben and Rebecca


  • Bahamians at West End


  • Ben's dealings with the marina neighbors, Dr. Brian Broadmoore and matters arising


  • Sir Hector: What makes him tick?


  • What makes Freeport tick?


  • Sgt. Leonard Townsend


  • Symbolism in the final struggle?


  • Disneyfication of Grand Bahama Island: Economic salvation or cultural ruin? Could they really use a Pirates Hall of Fame?





For Yucatán Is Murder, by Dirk Wyle

  • Discuss the various ways in which the Yucatán Peninsula serves as the background for this story: historical, cultural, anthropological and geographical.


  • In what ways does the Peninsula's history affect the present-day cultures existing within it?


  • Is the book essentially a crime story or a story of present-day Mayas confronting modernization?


  • What is Rebecca's quest? What are her methods? What makes her tick?


  • What things are important to Ben? What is his business and how does he go about it? What are his strengths and weaknesses?


  • Discuss the couple dynamics of Ben and Rebecca


  • How many different cultures or areas of endeavor are described in the book as existing in Yucatán? Which are working together and which are in competition?


  • Using information given in the book, what influence does the ancient Mayan way of life exert on present-day Yucatán?


  • Do the Mayas have a sinister or bucolic past?


  • What are the possible models that could define historical Yucatán in the popular imagination of Mexicans? Or of North Americans?


  • What do we learn about Arturo and Esmeralda Zapo? Can more be inferred?


  • Consider and discuss B'alam Chuc.


  • Symbolism in the final struggle?


  • Disneyfication of Grand Bahama Island: Economic salvation or cultural ruin? Could they really use a Pirates Hall of Fame?





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