We left Malice after closing ceremonies on Sunday, tired but happy. The traditional farewell tea was lovely, and I'd like to commend those who work so hard to make Malice a success each year. It's an effort-laden thing, making such an event look effortless.
Malice is a con devoted to (but not exclusive to) cozy writers, those who seldom dismember their vicitms and never in detail. Still, we are mystery writers, and death isn't pretty. At Malice one meets authors who include along with the murder and mayhem recipes, quilting patterns, crossword puzzles, and all manner of screwball occupations, from cheese shop owners to purse-dog trainers.
At this year's Malice, Mary Higgins Clark was honored for lifetime achievement, and William Link, of television fame with shows such as Mannix, also received recognition for his work in entertaining mysteries.
I traveled with my friend, reviewer P.J. Coldren, and met there her friend Luci Zahray, known as the Poison Lady because she helps writers poison their (fictitious) victims and not get caught. I also met a friend from other conferences, Barbara Graham, whose third book in the Tony and Theo series is in the works and should be every bit as exciting as the first two.
Prizes went to Louise Penny for best novel, A BRUTAL TELLING, and Allan Bradley for best first novel, THE SWEETNESS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PIE. Mr. Bradley is an inspiration to all of us "mature" writers, winning such an award at 70 years of age or thereabouts.
Cons like Malice make me both glad and sad. I love seeing friends, meeting new people, hearing bits of gossip and helpful advice. But it's a bit deflating to see so many likeable, talented people all vying for any little slit of spotlight, smiling eagerly at the fans in hopes someone will say, "Oh, I think I'm going to buy your book."
A woman in the elevator told me, "I've begun reading your book, and I'm really enjoying it." That alone is worth the price of admission.