Dorothy Cannell: Had a wonderful time at Malice meeting up with writer and reader friends. Also spending blissful time in the bookroom splurging on new and out of print titles. Afterwards my husband Julian and I drove Margaret Maron and her husband Joe back to Raleigh and spent a few days with them. Again more purchases there at a fabulous (huge) used book store. Great selection of mysteries from decades past, which I enjoy but also find helpful in writing my current series set in the nineteen-thirties. It being important to me to get the language right – not inserting words or phrases inapproriate to era.
I do appreciate being able to order desired books from Amazon, but there is always the delight of the treasure hunt in searching through shelves and spotting a favorite author. One who may not be much read these days but whose work, in my opinion, still holds up today. We have a great ‘Second Time Around’ store on Route 1 in Belfast. The owner is wonderfully knowledgeable about out-of-prints. She put me on to Leslie Ford, Helen Reilly, and Rae Foley. We once had a passionate discussion on Patricia Wentworth, our enthusiasm for her Miss Silver, and the pity that these mysteries do not seem to have received their deserved acclaim.
My own meanderings introduced me to Sara Woods whose protagonist Antony Maitland is a London barrister who goes above and beyond for his clients. Another find was Anthony Gilbert (pseudonym for female author) also featuring a barrister, but of the less polished short. Particular favorite is E.X. Ferrars who wrote many stand-alones, several featuring retired botany Professor Andrew Basnett.
At Malice I had a happy chat with Jim Huang, who in addition to doing some reprints of authors (including Pat Carlson), has edited or otherwise worked on a number of resource books for mystery enthusiasts under the imprint The Crum Creek Press, which I find invaluable in my searches for appealing authors past and present. These include: They Died In Vain. Overlooked, and Underappreciated and Forgotten Mystery Novels. I find these useful not only for the info, but also in being able to check off which books I have read so as to avoid repeat purchases. Needless to say I have been blissfully binge reading these past couple of weeks. Wishing you the same!
P.S. On a braggy note I received gratifying reviews on Death at Dovecote Hatch from Booklist, Kirkus and Publishers Weekly.