I put on my best elephant earrings and hopped a plane for Bouchercon 2010 San Francisco, which ran from Thursday, 10/14 to Sunday 10/17. I was caught up immediately afterward in the Arizona book tour for Did Not Survive, but the SF memories are still vivid. I tend to get overwhelmed by Bouchercon (this was my third), but this time I had Angie as a buddy. She's a pre-published member of my writing group and great company. You'll be hearing more about her mysteries! Another member, Doug Levin, hit the ground running--we saw only glimpses as he hobnobbed with one author or mystery fan or another.
Meeting and greeting, panels and parties--I tried it all. My panel was at 10 AM Thursday, the first day of the conference. About 45 people showed up, which was 40 more than I expected, and we had a good time. Avery Aames did a great job as moderator. Mysteries featuring race horses, fancy cheese, stray frogs, wacky actors, and (of course) elephants made for a lively panel.
I especially liked the panel of international writers and that leads to a couple of mysteries to recommend to you.
The Second Death of Goodluck Tinubu by "Michael Stanley"--Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip. These are a couple of South Africans who were on the panel and who write a nice series starring Kubu, a Botswana police officer with a hearty appetite. Kubu is a nickname, meaning "hippo." (I once raised a baby hippo named "Kubwa Sana" so of course I have a warm spot for the name.) Botswana seems to be fertile ground for novelists and I enjoyed the characters and plot as well as the setting.
The Risk of Infidelity Index by Christopher G. Moore. Moore is a Canadian living in Thailand and a keen observer of his adopted country as well as his fellow ex-pats. His series is labeled "noir" but I did not find this one particularly dark or grim. I envy his ability to construct a complex plot that holds together and appreciate his way with characters.
Barbara Corrado Pope wasn't on this panel, but she writes a foreign series so I'm adding her to the list. Cezanne's Quarry is a tour of 19th century Italy with a young magistrate as our guide through a complex social and emotional landscape that includes the artist Paul Cezanne as a suspect. Besides, Barbara found a great little tapas restaurant in a San Francisco alley where she and I and Angie ate and drank and talked until it got dark. But, really, it's a fine book!
It wasn't all panels and smoozing. There were free drinks, too, thanks to Lee Child and Poisoned Pen Press. Sometime maybe I'll blog about disco dancing. Picture me doing the Village People's "YMCA". Or not...