Wow, where did the time go? There’s only a few hours left until my Saturday post is due and I haven’t had a moment to write a word since striking out from NYC’s JFK airport early Tuesday for Left Coast Crime’s 2014 Calamari mystery convention in Monterey, California. Monterey is approximately 120 miles south of San Francisco in the heart of some of the most beautiful coastline and fertile agricultural land on earth. But it’s all been one giant blur to me, punctuated by terrific weather. Not that I’ve had much of a chance to enjoy it.
Left Coast Crime conventions are always great fun, but for me this one’s been particularly consuming…as I have been of a batch of homemade cookies offered by the 2014 Bouchercon folk at their hospitality table to anyone signing up for its November 13-16 Murder at the Beach convention in Long Beach. I think it’s fair to say—from a cookie perspective—that I’ve registered a baker’s dozen number of times.
To give you a taste (not of the cookies) of the sorts of suspicious characters frequenting these conventions, here are my efforts at trying to capture them unaware in their native habitats, but it’s been hard.
|Lefty Nominee and left hand|
|US Guest of Honor|
Many are just far too wily to surprise.
Others just have an instinct for the camera.
This one I caught trying to beat me at my own game.
No matter. The days have been filled with meeting old friends and new, and basking in gracious honors bestowed upon all of us in the Murder is Everywhere family to share: Cara is the convention’s US Guest of Honor, Cara, Lisa, and I are nominated for the 2014 Calamari Award for Best Mystery in a Foreign Setting, and alum Tim Hallinan is up for The Lefty for 2013’s Best Humorous Mystery Novel. The awards will be announced later tonight but it really doesn’t matter who wins (honest), because not only do we already feel like winners, we each have plaques to prove it!
|Tim, Lisa, and Jeff holding validation of efforts|
Besides, it’s hard to let such things go to your head when Cannery Row is literally next door and the Salinas Valley is just up the road. These were the stomping grounds of a literary master who, though never lucky enough to be honored with a Calamari award nomination, did manage to make a name for himself. Perhaps you’ve heard of him: He moved to New York City late in life, lived in two separate apartments on the corner of 72nd Street and Third Avenue, purchased his eyeglasses at E.B. Meyrowitz, and bore the initials “JS.”
He also happened to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. That’s him up there with the dark hair giving his Nobel acceptance speech and looking down on his gray-headed, similarly bespectacled, NYC neighbor and lifelong admirer.