By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Jan 28, 2004 at 5:10 AM

{image1}Members of Milwaukee's Cloak & Clue Society spend a lot of time reading and discussing who-dunnit novels, but the success of the group -- now in its third decade -- is no mystery.

"Book clubs are very popular now thanks to Oprah, but we have been around for a long time enjoying the literature and each other's company," says charter member, Gary Warren Niebuhr. "Nothing makes me happier than to sit around with my friends and talk about good books."

Now more than 40 members strong, C & C meets the fourth Sunday of every month at Kingo Lutheran Church, 1225 E. Olive St., to discuss mystery fiction and related topics, to snack and to tell stories.

"We read only mysteries, but all kinds and varieties from humorous to dark," says club member Barbara Hahn.

The C & C Society originated in 1980 when Niebuhr and club president, Beverly DeWeese (pictured), started a small book club in Niebuhr's West Allis flat. After discovering another mystery group in the city, they decided to join forces.

"We decided that two groups did not make sense, so we went to see the other one and met Beth Fedyn," says Niebuhr, who is the Library Director for the Village of Greendale. "Beth, Bev and I have been in the group for over 20 years."

Each month the group discusses a different topic, author or particular book. Group members take turns leading the discussions and authors have included Agatha Christie, Conan Doyle, Dorothy L. Sayers, Michael Connelly and Raymond Chandler.

"We have about a half-dozen men in the group (and the rest are women). We have a few librarians, but the rest come from a variety of backgrounds and occupations," says Niebuhr, who wrote "A Reader's Guide to the Private Eye Novel," in 1993.

The Society hosts an annual banquet in June with a guest speaker. Past speakers have included authors such as Libby Fischer Hellman, Jeremiah Healy (Terry Devane), Terence Faherty, Toni Fennelly, Nancy Atherton and Alzina Stone Dale.

"It's not necessary to be a member of the group to attend the meetings. Our monthly newsletter is a great way to keep up to date with not only our meetings but the mystery world in general," says Niebuhr.

For more information about the Cloak & Clue Society, go to

Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.

Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.