Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Malice Domestic 2012: Celebrating the Traditional Mystery with Elizabeth Peters This Year!

I'm home after attending the Malice Domestic mystery convention. If you're asking yourself what on earth "Malice Domestic" means, here's a quick explanation: Agatha Christie wrote traditional mysteries with puzzle plots that involve characters we get to know, quite different from conspiracy thrillers or gritty hard-boiled stories that also live in the mystery genre. Malice Domestic celebrates traditional mysteries. It's what I write and what I love to read.

Meeting Elizabeth Peters!!!
One of the authors who epitomizes this genre is Elizabeth Peters, whose books I have adored since I was a teenager. She stopped attending mystery conventions years ago, but she attended one afternoon of Malice Domestic this year to receive the Amelia award, an award named for her spectacular character Amelia Peabody.

It was a highlight of the convention when I got to meet her! What a lovely, gracious author. When I met up with my friends afterward, I believe I was giggling like I was thirteen years old. 

I moderated a Travel Mysteries panel featuring Hilary Davidson, Janice Hamrick, Maddy Hunter, Marie Moore, and Sara Wisseman. These authors have books set around the world in Egypt, Peru, and Europe, so it was fun to hear their travel stories that impacted their fiction. (UPDATE: Marie's husband took a photo of the panel, which I've added below.)

Our Travel Mysteries panel.  

Kaye George and Jenny Milchman.
Although panels at conventions are great, one of the best parts is who you meet informally, such as running into Kaye George (a fellow member of the Guppies chapter of Sisters in Crime who was up for an Agatha this year) and Jenny Milchman. If you haven't heard of Jenny's "Made It Moments" blog where authors share their stories about the moment they feel like they've "made it" as an author, you need to check it out. It's one of the most inspiring things you'll read all day.

A couple of my friends arrived late to a panel we had all planned to attend, so I ended up sitting and chatting with Sujata Massey, who writes the Rei Shimura mysteries. I learned she's working on a new book, The Sleeping Dictionary, set in colonial India, that sounds very cool.

With Sujata Massey.

In addition to chance encounters, I also planned in advance to meet up with two writers I knew through the Guppies, Kendel Flaum and Diane Vallere. The three of us first got to know each other when we traded works-in-progress. We really liked each others writing, so we decided to embark on a joint project together (more details to follow later this summer). The project has been going great, in spite of the fact that we hadn't ever hung out in person! I had met Diane very briefly once before, and Diane had met Kendel, but the three of were very much virtual friends—until this weekend.

Hanging out with partners in crime Kendel Flaum and Diane Vallere.

At the Agathas Banquet.

Guppy Leslie Budewitz won an Agatha award for her non-fiction guide for authors BOOKS, CROOKS, AND COUNSELORS.

Leslie Budewitz accepting her Agatha Award for BOOKS, CROOKS, AND COUNSELORS

At lunch with Leslie Budewitz, Avery Aames, Tracy Kiely, Kaye George, and Sandra Parshall.

Last but not least, I'm happy to report I finally met Nicole Peeler! I was starting to believe this urban fantasy author was a figment of my imagination. Turns out I was mistaken—she's real! And very fun.

Meeting Nicole Peeler in person for the first time.

p.s. I played hookie from the convention for a few hours one afternoon to see the gargoyles on the National Cathedral in Washington, DC. I'll post more photos of the gargoyles over at Gargoyle Girl next week.

A gargoyle on the National Cathedral in Washington, DC.


  1. What a pleasure to meet Barbara Mertz/Elizabeth Peters! I've been reading her books since AMMIE, COME HOME in the sixties. And, I love Amelia Peabody! You've got a great looking blog and I enjoy reading it. Thanks for the info on Malice. I hope you're doing well!

  2. Your photos brought back memories of such a fun conference, Gigi! Thank you for sharing--and remembering the Made It Moments. I can't wait to feature yours!

  3. Gigi, what a treat to see you again -- as bright and beautiful as that streak in your hair! And so much fun to celebrate the Agatha nom and win with my Guppy sisters!

  4. Holly, I first discovered Barbara Mertz's books through her Elizabeth Peters series about historian Vicky Bliss. Those ones remain my favorites, but I love all of her stuff. It really was so exciting to meet her, and I was so happy I'm doing so well health-wise that I was able to attend Malice!

    Jenny and Leslie, it was great to hang out with you both at Malice!

  5. As I flew out over it, I wondered if you had gotten to the National Cathedral. So glad you did! What great pictures--especially with Barbara Michaels/Elizabeth Peters!

  6. I'm sorry I didn't meet you and other Guppies; I couldn't get it together to plan ahead and just arrived for one whirlwind day that felt like a week. Next year I'll know what I'm doing!

    Jacqui Corcoran

  7. Jacqui, I was there the whole time and it felt like a month! I know exactly what you mean.

  8. I was so sorry to miss Malice this year, but will be there next year for sure (as Tace Baker, most likely!). Thanks for the news and the photos.

  9. Reports of my non-existence have been greatly exaggerated. ;)

  10. Jacqueline, yes the long weekend was a blur and it was impossible to connect with everyone! Glad you'll be there again next year.

    Kaye, I was smart and did the gargoyle expedition as soon as I arrived. Otherwise I knew I never would have left the hotel!

    Edith, I look forward to seeing you next year!

    Nicole, you're lucky you made it to Malice. Otherwise I would have been sure you were an elaborate alter ego ruse of Sophie and Juliet ;)


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