It only comes once a year....It involves lots of death, mayhem and alcohol....that's right - Bouchercon 2004. It was a well-run event this year, I thought. Toronto, as always, is a user-friendly city, though I must confess I'd almost forgotten that it actually gets cold in fall in other parts of the world, so spoiled am I by California weather. A lot of great authors showed up - everyone from Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane, Gayle Lynds, Christopher Rice, Lee Goldberg, Ridley Pearson to some folks I hadn't met before, but enjoyed seeing, like Barry Eisner and Michael Collins (the other Michael Collins, Dennis Lynds's dopplegänger showed up too). For the banquet, I sat next to one of my favorite booksellers, Otto Penzler. Otto was in rare form, his acerbic wit complementing the proceedings.
I was on a panel with Mike and Dennis and Kirk Russell about the importance of place in our fiction. The topic was a bit limiting, I thought (as is the case with most panels, I found there's only so many times we could answer questions about a specific topic before the well runs dry..."Are there any places you WOULDN'T want to set a story?") but we got it rolling a bit later with some improv, and it was a lot of fun to be featured with authors whose work I respect so much. Most fun, as always, was seeing the hardcore genre readers, who really know their stuff. I'm always impressed with the range and scope of mystery fans' libraries.