A Mystery Meet Up In St. Louis

Bowling for dollars

Bouchercon, held September 15‚ 19 in St. Louis, always provides fun opportunities for mystery authors and readers to give back locally. At the stunningly retro Flamingo Bowl, 13 teams of authors, publishers, and wannabes knocked down the ten pins and passed on proceeds to the St. Louis County Library System’s Foundation (www.slcl.org). Especially notable for their unabashed enthusiasm: Charlaine Harris’s Bowling for Vampires team, and for their winning shirts, the Minotaur Marauders.

Bouchercon cochair Ruth Jordan tells me the event netted about $500, but the goodwill generated by participants (who blogged about the cause, donated autographed bowling shirts, etc.) had a snowball effect in terms of bumping up bidding at both the silent and live auctions. When the dust settled, approximately $29,000 was raised for the library! Apparently, authors Laura Lippman and Mark Billingham can add auctioneer to their list of talents.

Point taken: consider a bowling tournament as a fund-raiser in your neck of the woods. People love the fun of it and the team building. Your community might delight in the incongruity of library staffers bowling for dollars, too. Email me at terry.jacobsen@gmail.com if you want more details.

Bouchercon winners

Bouchercon is the go-to event for mystery awards: the Anthony (voted on by Bouchercon attendees), Shamus (given by the Private Eye Writers of America), Macavity (Mystery Readers International), and Barry (Deadly Pleasures magazine).

Louise Penny continued her winning pace, receiving both the Anthony and Macavity Awards for Best Novel with B ury Your Dead. Steve Hamilton snagged the Barry for Best Novel for The Lock Artist. The Shamus Best Hardcover PI Novel went to Lori Armstrong’s No Mercy.

More Anthony winners include Canadian Hilary Davidson’s The Damage Done for Best First Novel and Philly-based Duane Swierczynski’s Expiration Date for Best Paperback Original. Pittsburgh brought home a Shamus winner with Michael Ayoob’s startlingly original In Search of Mercy, for Best First PI Novel. (Ayoob researched writing contests using the grants department of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh‚ and that’s how he got published!)

Two other outstanding debuts that have gone neck and neck all year both earned a Best First Award: the Macavity went to Bruce DeSilva’s Rogue Island,and the Barry honored Paul Doiron’s The Poacher’s Son. Don’t forget Reginald Hill’s The Woodcutter for the Barry Best British Novel and Christopher G. Moore’s Asia Hand for the Shamus Best Paperback Original PI novel.

Last but not least, the Macavity Sue Feder Historical Mystery winner is Kelli Stanley, for her San Francisco neonoir, City of Dragons. Check your catalogs and feature the winners on your Facebook pages: these are writers to watch!

Plenty of us have bookmarked the website www. stopyourekillingme.com to answer questions about sequels, awards, and more. Kudos to them for winning an Anthony for Best Website/Blog.

Buzz in the hallways

Meg Gardiner has a stand-alone coming out next fall. Ransom River, featuring a Los Angeles jury being held hostage. Hank Phillippi Ryan smells a political scandal with her 2012 stand-alone, The Other Woman. Overall, expect more books about human trafficking, and since 2012 is an election year, there will be plenty of political corruption to go around.

Next year, rock on: Cleveland is the spot for Bouchercon 2012