An air of mystery surrounds the return of Wayne County Reads in 2018.
Solve it and you will uncover the title of the 2019 edition of Wayne County Reads.
And readers of the 2018 selection will be able to test their detective skills against one of the greatest of all literary detectives -- Sherlock Holmes.
The Wayne County Reads Committee met Thursday night at the Wayne County Public Library on East Ash Street to finalize the programming schedule to complement the 2018 selection, "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes."
The book is a collection of 12 short stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and originally published between 1891 and 1892.
The annual Wayne County Reads has for several years running chosen one book a year for the community to read, and then planned programs around that book.
The program, however, took a year off in 2017 .
"Wayne County Reads is a one-book, one-community project whose goal is to get everyone in the community on the same page, if you will, for reading and discussing a common book," said Donna Phillips, Wayne County Library director and committee member.
The program started in 2004.
Representatives of the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base library, the University of Mount Olive, Wayne County Public Schools, Wayne Community College and Literacy Connections are active on the committee along with several community residents.
"We skipped last year," Phillips said. "The reason we did that is many of our committee members had retired from their positions and rotated off the committee.
"The remaining committee members felt like we needed a year to sort of reorganize ourselves and to recruit some new committee members. We were able to do that and have a really productive committee."
The committee this year was very much interested in re-engaging Wayne County Public Schools, she said.
The school system was interested in that prospect, Phillips said.
Selecting Doyle's work was seen as a good way to re-engage the school system as well as to re-energize the community by selecting a book with broad appeal, she said.
"In years past, we have sometimes chosen difficult subject matter," Phillips said. "Sometimes the subject matter didn't necessarily lend itself to school children. So we were very intentional in trying to find something that will resonate with the community, but would fully engage the school system."
The committee turned to the high school reading list after members agreed that a lot of people love a good mystery.
They settled on Holmes.
Wayne County Reads will start in March with events held from 7 to 8 p.m. each Tuesday night in the month.
It will kick off on March 6 at Wayne Community College's Moffatt Auditorium featuring award-winning North Carolina mystery writer Margaret Maron.
The event moves to the University of Mount Olive's Southern Bank Auditorium on March 13 with a presentation by Dr. Elliot Engle, author, writer, scholar and lecturer.
On March 20, the Wayne County Public Library on East Ash Street will host a panel discussion on "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes." Panelists will include Liz Meador from N.C. Wesleyan and Dr. Holland-Toll from the University of Mount Olive.
The final program on March 27 will be held in the library's Gertrude Weil Auditorium.
It will be "Murder Mystery Night in the Library."
Participants will be able to join fellow murder mystery buffs to figure out "who done it." Teams will compete by unraveling clues and examining evidence in an attempt to be the first team to solve the murder mystery.
As an added incentive to attend all of the sessions, those who attend will be given clues that will help them solve the mystery of what the title for 2019 will be.
From 6 to 7 p.m. on March 15, the base library will hold a book club meeting that will be open to those who have access to the base.
The committee continues to look at other activities for the month including an escape room, trivia night, T-shirts and essay contest.
Copies of the book will be available at Books-a-Million, county library branches and the schools.
Also, the book is in the public domain and available online.