I certainly made a number of unexpected friends during the weekend. Despite their focus on amateur sleuths, the folks at Malice Domestic were very welcoming and gracious to this private eye writer. The overwhelming majority of attendees were women, but they didn't make me feel weird being there. Well, maybe a little at the end during a formal tea and the best hat contest.

The Agatha Awards banquet is the major draw of course, but I have to admit that I had the most fun at the start of the conference. Organizers seat attendees at 20 different tables and then turn the first-time authors loose on them. We got to present our books at each table, but each writer only got 90 seconds to pitch. This turned out to be a lot more fun than I expected it to be.

Afterward the fans went to the dealers room to vote, in the most practical way, for which of us gave the best presentation. Five different bookstores were present, offering our books. I had placed mine with my old pal Kathy who owns "Mystery Loves Company" in Baltimore. She took good care of me, so I could just concentrate on doing a good panel and enjoying the conference. If you're making advance plans you should know that I've already registered for next year.

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