Things I learned on Day 1 of Bouchercon:
The Resurgence of Traditional Mystery
Helen Smith (moderator), Wendy Corsi Staub, Marcia Talley, Dorothy Cannell, Terrie Farley Moran
- Staub is the author of about 80 novels, including three this year. I can't even finish one.
- Cannell's current series, which is set in a 1930's English country house, has been described as "Downton Abbey meets Agatha Christie". Sold.
- A couple of panelists discussed including social issues into their recent stories, which isn't usually done in traditional mysteries.
Just the Facts: The Police Procedural
James O. Born (moderator), Stephanie Gayle, Dana King, Larry Kelter, Colin Campbell
- Campbell flew in from England, but his luggage didn't make it. A local cabbie took him to Wal-Mart to pick up what Campbell referred to as appropriate clothes. He was ribbed about that for the rest of the panel.
- On the importance of accuracy: Important, won't do something intentionally incorrect, but if necessary, things should at least seem possible and accurate. Fiction is held to a higher standard of accuracy than non-fiction and even small mistakes and you will hear from readers.
- When asked what brought them to writing, Gayle responded, "The money." That got a big laugh. Per King, reading Raymond Chandler gave him the writing bug.
Beyond Hammett, Chandler, MacDonald and Spillane
Peter Rozovsky (moderator), Kevin Burton, Jordan Foster, Laura Lippman, Sarah Weinman
I thought this panel would be a general discussion of genre writers not included in the title, but the format was each of the panelists discussing a writer they feel has been underappreciated or lost to time.
- Foster: Ted Lewis - Probably best known for Jack's Return Home, which became the Michael Caine film Get Carter. Foster also discussed Lewis's last and probably best book, GBH (which stands for Grievious Bodily Harm. Lewis died young due to affects of alcoholism.
- Lippman: Zilpha Keatley Snyder - Prolific author of kids/fantasy books. The two Lippman cited were The Egypt Game, in which a group of kids play out Egyptian rituals as a child predator menaces their neighborhood and The Changeling, which Lippman described as the first "mean girl" book.
- Weinman: Elizabeth Sanxay Holding - Started out writing romance, but turned to detective novels after the stock market crash. She was praised by Raymond Chandler and Anthony Boucher. A number of her books have been brought back into print.
- Burton: Norbert Davis - His forte was hard boiled detective fiction overlaid with humor, but he also wrote westerns and romance. He reportedly inspired Chandler to start writing. Committed suicide at age 40.