No hand-bag clutching in NOLA
The first mystery conference I ever attended was in London, in 1990. At the time, I had a separate agent for the English/Commonwealth market, and she happened to mention that there was this conference that I might go to…
Because it coincided with family stuff, I went. And found it interesting, and informative, and more than a little intimidating.
This was the first year BoucherCon was held out of the US. (It returned to the UK five years later, in Nottingham—which, as it happened, was the second fan conference I ever attended. I’ve been a bit more regular since then.) It was held in King’s College, London
which was great fun and very central, but probably the worst venue imaginable for the purpose of an international crime conference, particularly for a new writer. (I wasn’t published until 1993.) I knew no one, and I was staying with family out in West London, so the only place I encountered people were on the stairs and corridors, of which there seemed a huge number. There was no central place to hang out and awkwardly venture a conversation, other than the student cafeteria, which was a long and winding set of hallways distant.
As I remember, the book room was smushed into a sort of wide passageway. The only event I remember after all these years was an interview of PJ James, during which Q&A a decidedly odd lady in a houndstooth cape and deerstalker cap held up a dog hand puppet and announced, “Sherlock Hound wants to know, why did you use Devices and Desires as the title of one book and a chapter title in another?”
(Is my memory of the author eyeing the exit and clutching her handbag factual, or interpretive?)
This year’s BoucherCon is in New Orleans, and promises to be a very different experience from that of King’s College. For one thing, it’ll be nice and warm. For another, Echoes of Sherlock Holmes will be out,
and a bunch of the authors will be there with their pens. But primarily, the company of readers is fabulous and the panels will be way cool. Such as the one I’m sharing with five other woman and Andrew Grant (who promises he looks quite fetching in a corset. I’m still waiting to see the promised photograph.)