Book Group Discussion Questions for “Murder on Rosemary Street”
- One of the main themes of the novel centers around William Faulkner’s quote, “The past is not dead. It’s not even past.” What are some instances in the story where this is true?
- Do you think Professor Albert Nelson was justified in living a separate life from his wife Ruth in order to keep his prestigious position at the university? Or do you think he should have defied racial stereotypes and made his life with her?
- Many citizens of the town of Custer’s Mill are ready to embrace the change that the new highway would bring. Others, however, want to hold on to the simple, small town lifestyle. Do you feel that progress is always good, or are there some instances when we should hold on to the past?
- Serafina is portrayed as a free spirit who tends to leave chaos in her wake. Do you feel her reckless behavior is responsible for Emma’s tragic past? Did Emma’s life change direction because of Serafina’s actions, or should Emma have taken some ownership for her own destiny?
- How do the Library Ladies provide comic relief to the story?
- Why do you think Pete wanted to get rid of Hiram?
- How does the prologue foreshadow future events in the story?
- Why do you think Hiram chooses to communicate with Bible verses?
- Do you feel sorry for Billy? Or should he have been able to shake off Pete and face up to the responsibility of being part of the reason Kath was killed in the fire?