Bruce Robert Coffin just back from the Malice Domestic Mystery Writers Conference. Malice is held each year in Maryland during the month of April. This year’s conference was the 30th, and although it was only the second I have attended I am told it was one of the best. The keynote author was Louise Penny, writer of the highly acclaimed Inspector Gamache series, set in the fictional Canadian town of Three Pines.
Now, I had expected to meet Louise last fall at Bouchercon which was held in Toronto but, as you might imagine, long lines of fans thwarted my plans. This time a had a sure-fire plan to meet her. Last week I visited Ann and Paula, the owners of Mainely Murders Bookstore in Kennebunk, Maine (as an aside, Mainely Murders opens for the season today!). I informed them that I was headed to Maryland to attend Malice. As they always do, they asked that I take plenty of pictures to document the gathering, a la Charles Kuralt, only without the secret life. “Get your picture taken with her,” they said. Hmm, I thought. Perhaps this would be my in with Louise. My Penny Plan. I mean, how could I disappoint Ann and Paula? How could Louise? We’d be doing it for them, right?
How did I fare in my Penny Plan? It worked like a charm. All kidding aside, in addition to being a talented novelist, Louise was as charming and gracious as I had imagined. She even took home the Agatha Award for Best Novel!
Malice 30 was a huge success. I made some new friends and reconnected with others, shared a taxi with Lea Wait and Kaitlyn Dunnett/Kathy Lynn Emerson, cheered on my Agatha nominated friends, took part in the Malice-Go-Round, sat on a panel and book signing, co-hosted a banquet table with friend and fellow scribe Marni Graff, stayed up too late, got up too early, and did a bit of work on the next Detective Byron novel.
Am I looking forward to Malice 2019? What do you think?