This column will not contain any political commentary and, instead, will be about a fan's reaction to attending Bouchercon 41 in San Francisco Oct. 14 to 17, which is the annual convention for mystery writers and fans and is named after William Anthony Parker White (AKA Anthony Boucher) who was a pioneer in the fields of both writing hard-boiled fiction and reviewing mystery novels.
The annual event is held in a different city each year and the selection of San Francisco as this year's host city was appropriate because "Baghdad by the Bay" has a rich history for fans of detective novels starting with the fact that both Daschiel Hammett and his PI (Private Investigator) Sam Spade worked in the northern California city that is located at the Southern end of the Golden Gate Bridge.
A large subgenre of detective novels features an amateur sleuth who works full time and solves mysteries on a part time basis. The day job background is an amazing smorgasbord of fascinating jobs, which often reflect the novelist's past work history. While at the Bouchercon we learned of novels featuring a detective who is a geologist (Susan Cummins Miller), a scrap booker (Joanna Campbell Slan), a travel writer (Hilary Davidson), and a former nun (Alice Loweecey).
Many police procedurals are written by former cops. A sizable number of lawyers have decided to augment their retirement fund by writing fictional crime novels base upon their real life experiences.
This columnist noticed a woman in a very conspicuous hat and asked her: "Are you Miss Marple?" It turned out she was Jeanne M. Dams whose next book will be titled: "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night." When she said she wanted to write a Tea-cozy thriller novel, we blurted out a concept for a plot that her phrase conjured up. She said it had merit and would take the suggestion under advisement.
We encountered four folks who were part of the staff of the Mystery Book Store in the Westwood section of Los Angeles, which has been a personal favorite of ours since before they moved to that particular section of town. We learned from one of them that the Los Angeles Times' Festival of Books which has been held annually at UCLA will be held in 2011 on the campus of the Bruin's cross town rivals at USC.
We have been a fan of Doug Lyle's non-fiction books about forensics and chatted with him several times during the SF event. We intend to conduct an investigation into his new series of fictional adventures by a sleuth who is well versed in forensics.
It was at the aforementioned L. A. book store that we became aware of the novels of Tim Dorsey, who writes about criminals living in Florida, and so we were delighted to find a copy of Electric Barracuda in the goodie bag.