“Bevan is doing with the tarot what
Sue Grafton did with the alphabet.”

Discussion Questions for Book Groups regarding The Emperor Card, the fifth book in The Tarot Mysteries.

  1. Sleuths, even accidental ones such as Xana (“Ex-Anna”), are often troubled characters. What evidence is there of psychological stress or damage in this protagonist, and how does she cope or respond?
  2. Xana’s full name is Rosalind Alexandra Bard, and there is a Shakespeare quote in each book. Why?
  3. What experience do you have with tarot cards? What led you to your experience, and how did you react to it?
  4. The tarot is considered, among many other things, a tool for training intuition. Why do some people rely on and use their intuition while others don’t?
  5. How do you feel about the tarot’s use as a divination tool?
  6. How does the Hebrew alphabet character on each Tarot Mystery relate to the tarot card of the book’s title?  To the theme of the book?
  7. What are some of the standard tropes of the mystery genre that appear in this book? What atypical or unusual elements does the author employ in the story?
  8. How do the names “Hawk” and “Kinsey” tie this mystery series to other well-known mystery series? How does the author’s style compare to those authors?
  9. How does Ms. Bard’s house at the western edge of the San Francisco peninsula, with its location in that city and its proximity to the Pacific Ocean, play a role in the book?
  10. How is gold used as a metaphor in this book?
  11. The tarot’s Emperor Card is traditionally considered to relate to fatherhood, authority, perimeters, mastery, and establishing rulership over one’s own realm or self. How does this story introduce chaos and insecurity into Xana’s life? How does she navigate and ultimately master the experiences that triggered the chaos?