Some Discussion Questions
A note from the Author: Fog is the first in a new series of classic puzzle mysteries starring working mom and amateur sleuth, Morgan Kendall of Quarry Canyon, California. Fog not only entertains those who just love a good mystery, but it also encourages readers to clarify personal views on the death penalty as well as the sexual abuse of children by offering expressions of the full range of opinion on such matters. Most people will have plenty to say on both topics, making Fog an excellent choice for book clubs that like a meaty discussion. Here's a few, somewhat ponderous, questions to get your group talking.
1. Ideas about morality (right v. wrong) and ethics (what is legal v. what is not legal) sometimes seem to overlap rather hopelessly. This is certainly true when issues of the death penalty and the sexual molestation of children arise, leaving many of us get lost in fogs of confusion. In Fog the citizens of Quarry Canyon express a differing opinions on both these topics. As a group try to list out these positions, then try to untangle those that seem to be moral positions from those that seem to be ethical ones. To what extent did reading this book clarify or shift your own views?
2. At several points in Fog, Morgan decides to "go with her gut" (her emotional response) rather than wait until she can to articulate specific reasons for a conclusion or action. Do you believe that going with one's gut feelings can lead to an ethical or moral result? Why or why not? Draw specific examples from situations in Fog (or your own life). Which characters in the book seem most "in a fog"? Which characters "see" things more clearly? Do you think that the resolution of the mystery surrounding Justin's death help clear out this metaphorical fog?
3. When this book was written capital punishment (execution), albeit infrequent, still occurred in thirty-three US states, including California; at the same time seventeen states and the District of Columbia outlawed the death penalty, as has the European Union. Meanwhile public opinion polls record shifts and changes; the debate is far from resolved. Why do you think this issue has been so difficult for Americans to resolve? (If your group has access to wi-fi during a meetings, you may find it interesting to summarize the results from current opinion polls; if you don't have access, this research may be assigned ahead of time and presented by a member.)
4. Very few Americans condone gross sexual molestation of very young children by adults, but there can be a lot of grey area to think about. Discuss this grey area. How helpful do you find legal definitions of age boundaries, i.e. the definition of "minor" by a specific age, as for driving, voting, marriage, or military service? How do you sort out in your mind the difference between what constitutes "molestation" and expressions of affection? Was Will a child molester? Was Charlie?