This past Saturday, I had the pleasure of attending Malice Domestic. For those of you who don't know, "Malice" is the biggest, baddest convention for fans of the traditional mystery (defined loosely as one having no excessive violence or sex on page, an amateur sleuth, and a confined setting where most of the characters know each other).
I had a chance to make some new friends and connect with some old ones, and I walked away with more books to add to my TBR pile (ahhhh! See Timber!!!!!! ).
Some highlights (and a few personal observations):
The New Authors Breakfast, where newbie authors each "took" a different table and ate breakfast with fans. (Rosemary Harris likes fruit.)
A panel for the Best Novel Nominees (Donna Andrews, Rhys Bowen, Louise Penny, and Anne Perry (Julia Spencer-Fleming, the other nominee, couldn't make it), moderated by Marcia Talley. (A British accent makes everything seem more sophisticated.)
A panel, moderated by Shawn Reilly, featuring the nominees for Best First Novel (Sarah Atwell (writing as Sheila Connolly), Krista Davis, Rosemary Harris, and two Midnight Ink authors G.M. Malliet and Joanna Campbell Slan (CONGRATS!)).
An interview with Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Anne Perry by her uber-agent Donald Maass.
A panel, moderated by funny-man author Chris Grabenstein, where Judy Clemens, Jeffrey Cohen, Vincent O'Neil, and Hank Phillippi Ryan impersonated famous sleuths in a March-Madness-type elimination cage-match. Sherlock Holmes emerged victorious. (I think I agree with Don Bruns's observation from the audience, "This might be the strangest panel I've ever been to.")
An interview with the 2009 Guest of Honor Nancy Pickard, conducted by Carolyn Hart. Nancy's sage final words of wisdom: "Don't pee in your boots." (Sounds about right to me.)
A panel about the "Dark Side" of mysteries, with Carl Brookins, Don Bruns, Robin Burcell, John L. French, and Stefanie Pintoff. The panelists all decided (well, mostly all decided) that, as writers, it was unwise to kill or maim or torture pets in books. On the other hand, killing humans was not only fine, but encouraged.
The Agatha Awards Banquet capped off the night. Congrats to all the winners (and a special Double-CONGRATS to G.M. Malliet, winner of Best First Novel for Death of a Cozy Writer!).
See you next year at Malice. And remember, don’t pee in your boots!