Death in a Family Business
by Wally Wood
1. What secrets does Tommy Lovell keep from his father, and why? What secrets does Otto Jonker keep from his family, friends, and employees, and why? How do secrets complicate the police investigation into Otto’s accident? Do you agree with the characters’ decisions to keep certain details secret?
2. How does Tommy’s experience as the only child of a hard-working retail entrepreneur shape his attitudes, his career decisions, and his interactions with family and friends? If you could give Tommy one piece of personal advice, what would it be?
3. What is the relationship between Tommy Lovell and his father, Tom Lovell, compared with the relationship between Brian Jonker and his father, Otto Jonker? How do these relationships evolve as the book progresses? If you were Tom, would you be proud of Tommy? Why or why not?
4. Do you think Tommy is realistic about his role in the family and the family’s business? What about Brian and his role in the family and the family’s business? Do you agree with Tommy’s assessment of Wendy Jonker’s future role in that family’s business?
5. What impression do you get of the town of Pittsfield as the mystery unfolds? How does this setting affect the Jonker family business and the people who work and shop there?
6. Late in the mystery, Tommy makes a critical decision that could put himself and another character in a life-threatening situation. Do you believe he made the right decision? What else could he have done in that situation, given the risks he faced?