Welcome to the 4th day of my story about Malice Domestic 29! Today, I'd like to talk about authors - ones I love and have loved for years, ones I've recently discovered, and ones that I'm sure will become favorites once I have the time to read all of my TBR (will that day ever come??).
Since this conference is more about 'traditional' mysteries or what some would call 'cozies', I knew that there might be fewer authors whose books cross my path with regularity these days. However, I was quite enthused about some authors who created some favorite books of mine in the past. And, of course, I have a couple of stories about that.
Joan Hess has written two mystery series, both set in Arkansas. I read her Claire Malloy series probably 20 years ago and then, as happens with series, kind of lost track of it. I knew that Joan lived in Arkansas at that time. The first day, as I came off the elevator to meet my husband for lunch, a lady stopped me and said, 'You're from Texas!' (which my name tag showed). I glanced at her badge and said, 'Oh, you're from Austin. I'm from that area too!'. Then I noticed the name above the city - 'And you're Joan Hess!!'. I told her that I had loved her Claire books and said, 'I didn't know you lived in Austin.' She explained that she had moved to our area several years ago. We then talked about Barbara Mertz/Elizabeth Peters - a great friend of Joan's. My understanding is that the new (and last) Amelia Peabody mystery, begun by Elizabeth Peters and finished by Ms. Hess, was quite the labor of love. It's called The Painted Queen and it will be published in July. Whether it is exactly as Elizabeth Peters would have written or not, I'm planning on reading it as a tribute to both authors. I was delighted to get to visit with Joan Hess.
|Anne Hillerman (R at table), Cheryl Hollon (taking picture with phone)|
I was also delighted to get to talk with Anne Hillerman and tell her how much our mystery group had enjoyed her first book, Spider Woman's Daughter. The 3rd book in Anne's continuation of her father Tony's series has just been published - Song of the Lion. I also visited for a few minutes with Cheryl Hollon, author of the Webb's Glass Shop series - next book to be out in November - Etched in Tears. I met Cheryl at Left Coast Crime and reviewed her first book here.
I also enjoyed stopping by and meeting G.M. Malliet, who writes the Max Tudor series. Max is a retired MI5 agent and he's now a vicar in a small village. I told her that our mystery group had read the first book in the series and she had some fans in Texas. The latest Max book is Devil's Breath, which came out in April. She told me about her new book, a standalone suspense novel, Weycombe, to be published in October. I'll definitely be watching for that one.
|Leslie Meier (R at table)|
The last author that I got a picture of was Leslie Meier. All these pictures were from the author signings, by the way. Leslie is another author that I've read for years and years. Her series is set in Maine and her protagonist is Lucy Stone, mother of four, and sleuth deluxe. The titles are often related to holiday events. I told Ms. Meier that her first book, Mistletoe Murder (aka Mail-Order Murders) was on my list of 'comfort reads'. Said that I had probably read it 5 or 6 times. I shared that I reread books on my 'comfort' list because I know that they will give me warm and fuzzy feelings when life was not 'warm and fuzzy' at all. She was so kind and said that she wanted to give me one of her paperbacks and to choose one I hadn't read. I selected Birthday Party Murder and she signed it. Then she said, 'Oh, my publisher told me to save these for special people.' and she also signed and handed me a hardcover copy of her latest (the 23rd in the series) book, British Manor Murder. I was amazed and thanked her again. Wasn't that sweet? Makes me want to go back and start her series at the beginning and read it all over again.
I'll mention a few other authors I met and that I've loved or want to give a special 'shout out'!
- Dorothy Cannell - loved her Ellie Haskell series
- Maggie Sefton - still love her Kelly Flynn knitting series - set in Colorado
- JoAnna Carl/Eve K. Sandstrom - love her Chocoholic series and also her Down Home series set in Oklahoma - only 3 in that one, but enjoyed 25 years ago
- Ann Cleeves - met Ann at Left Coast Crime and visited with her while waiting for an elevator here - told her I'd become a big, big fan of both her Vera and Shetland series and the TV adaptations - she again talked to me about her passion for supporting libraries
- Dorothy St. James - the moderator of a panel that I attended - we had such a nice visit - Dorothy's new series will begin with Asking For Truffle: A Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery, which will be published in September. I look forward to trying it.
- P. A. DeVoe - She was nominated for an Agatha for 'Best Children's/Young Adult' book and was the first person I met that first morning. I sat down by her to wait for an event and we started talking. Her nominated book was Trapped: A Mei-hua Adventure and though she didn't win, she was so excited to be included in the nominees. We had a very interesting talk, as Ms. DeVoe is a cultural anthropologist. I look forward to reading some of her books.
My only regret is that I didn't get to meet Margaret Maron. She was there and I saw her twice, but it wasn't the right time or situation to step up and introduce myself. Her Deborah Knott series has been a very great favorite of mine for many, many years. Ah well. Ms. Maron has a new book coming out in her Sigrid Harald series, Take Out. This author says it will be her last book. I loved her last Deborah Knott book, Long Upon the Land. I'll be looking forward to rereading all her books at some point soon.
The last post about Malice will be on Thursday. I'll sum things up, share a bit about the Agatha Awards Banquet and also tell 'who won the Agathas' for 2017. Thanks for stopping by and 'listening'!