Sunday, February 8, 2009

Murder in the Magic City

Report from beautiful Birmingham, where they put on a mighty fine mystery conference -- Southern hospitality at its best from welcoming gin and tonics on Friday night to a down-home barbecue dinner on Saturday night. And in between, an all day session of panels with not one but TWO guest speakers!

A rattling good time was had by all!


Front row: Terrell Griffin, Deborah Sharp, Vincent O'Neil, Elizabeth Zelvin, Mary Jane Maffini, Peggy Ehrhart
Middle:Deborah Crombie, Vicki Lane, Meredith Anthony, Maggie Toussaint, Peggy Webb, Carla Neggers
Back: Jennie Bentley, William Kent Kruger, Lawrence Light

and below, Cara Black who didn't get into the first group shot with everyone.

Cara's highly acclaimed, best-selling Aimee Leduc Investigation series -- set in the various parts of Paris and featuring a half-French, half-American detective -- definitely has me intrigued. A resident of San Francisco, poor Cara is forced to travel to Paris several times a year to do research. A tough job, as she says with a Gallic shrug, but somebody's got to do it. And it's tax-deductible.

Deborah Crombie (on my right in the top picture) is another whose story wrings my heart. A native Texan, Deborah is a longtime Anglophile whose Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid/ Sergeant Gemma James series (also highly acclaimed) is set in the UK. So Deborah gets to spend time in England twice a year in the name of research.

Why didn't I think of this? No, I had to set my series in my very house, on our very farm . . . could my daily life be a tax write-off? Maybe it's time for Elizabeth Goodweather to discover a pressing need to travel -- she could be making a study of the lavender growers of Provence, say, and . . . and historic herb gardens of England . . . yeah, that's the ticket!

Some more nice folks: Lawrence Light (pink tie) writes the Karen Glick series about Wall Street -- as he put it, about greedy b-----ds getting their comeuppance (should be right popular these days -- we can dream, can't we?) And he and his wife, Meredith Anthony have just co-authored LADYKILLER -- a dark thriller .

Vincent O'Neil (who moderated the WHEN/WHERE panel on setting with Cara Black and me) places his award-winning investigative series in the fictional North Florida town of Exile.

The WHAT panel, Jennie Bentley, Maggie Toussaint, Elizabeth Zelvin, and Mary Jane Maffini -- from home renovation to golf to alcohol treatment programs to professional organizers -- these ladies prove that mystery can be found everywhere.

And here, for those of you who might like to know more, are links to websites.

2009 Guests of Honor:
Deborah Crombie and William Kent Krueger

Also scheduled to appear:

Jennie Bentley
Cara Black
Peggy Ehrhart
H. Terrell Griffin
Vicki Lane
Lawrence Light and Meredith Anthony
Mary Jane Maffini
Carla Neggers
Vincent H. O'Neil
Deborah Sharp
Maggie Toussaint
Peggy Webb
Elizabeth Zelvin

Tomorrow the whole gang moves over to Wetumpka, Alabama for Murder on the Menu --- a luncheon with authors rotating from table to table in hopes of enticing their captive audiences into purchasing books. And then I head down to the Dothan area to visit my brother for a few days. I doubt that I'll be able to post as he (gasp) has no computer and no internet hookup.

I should be back on Wednesday with more odds and ends. (No, I still haven't heard from Herself.)

But I'll be having more to say about some of these folks as I read their novels -- so many books . . . such crowded shelves.

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Anonymous said...

It sounds like so much fun - I wish I were there! Enjoy!

Marta McDowell said...

For Elizabeth's visit to historic herb (pronounce that h) gardens of England, I highly recommend the Chelsea Physic Garden on Royal Hospital Road, SW3, London. Founded in the 1600s to train apprentice apothecaries, it has a poison garden in addition to medicinal, culinary and other simples. Surely one of your healers from the holler could trace their roots to Chelsea. I worked there in the summer of 2007 - a magic place, with lovely gardeners. And you can't beat London for a holiday. Cheers!

Vicki Lane said...

Karen, it was terrific!

Marta, oh, my, how perfect! Surely that would be a tax write-off!

Maggie Toussaint said...

I'm excited to be mentioned and pictured in your blog, Vicki. I enjoyed meeting you and I can't wait to dig into your book.


Elizabeth Zelvin said...

Wow, Vicki, I'm impressed that you've already got Alabama stories and pictures up on your blog. I'm just about unpacked, catching up on mail and email, filing away papers and receipts and Alabama magnets, and polishing off the homemade cookies from the ladies of Wetumpka. It was great spending time with you and the others.

Vicki Lane said...

Hey, Maggie and Liz! It was such a pleasure spending time with you all! What a lovely conference it was!

Anonymous said...

Hey Vicki,
I just finished Signs in the Blood and am catching my breath before I pick up Art's Blood. What a terrific read!
Thanks so much for coming to B'ham and making "Murder" so much fun.
We're getting chicks at the end of March!

Karen Cunningham

Vicki Lane said...

Hey, Karen! What a great weekend it was! I so much enjoyed meeting you and your husband -- brave man, to take on chickens!

There are a bunch of posts here about the chickens -- in the search blog thingie, you can type in chicken, chicken tractor, chicks -- and find the old posts!

And many thanks for all your work!

Vicki Lane said...

Re visits abroad, Sophie has suggested that, should Elizabeth and Phillip get married, they could honeymoon in Paris!

Cara Black said...

Honeymoon in Paris...yes Vicki!
So nice being on a panel with you and thanks for posting my photo and the kind words. As promised I'll find your book in Paris and give you a report. But I'll give copies (in French) to my friends who I know would live to read it.

Vicki Lane said...

Hey, Cara -- I'm almost finished with MURDER IN THE MARAIS and am really enjoying it in spite of the fact that my knowledge of Paris is minuscule. But that's what reading is for, no? I expect to become an authority through reading your books -- maybe in time for that honeymoon!

Vicki Lane said...

And, Cara, I meant to say I'd love to hear what you and your friends think of LA MONTAGNE DES SECRETS!

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