When Hilary Davidson reached the top of Machu Picchu, exhilarated and breathless, she turned to her husband with a glowing smile and said, “This would be a great place to kill someone!”
Stalwart man that he is, her husband soldiered through the rest of their three-week Peruvian sojourn confident that when she’d said “someone,” Davidson didn’t mean him.
How do I know this?
She told me so herself. Me and everyone else at New York City’s Mysterious Bookshop on Wednesday night, where she read from her latest Lily Moore novel, The Next One to Fall. (The novel is indeed set in Peru and Lily does encounter a body at Machu Picchu.)
We go to book signings and readings and author events precisely to hear such anecdotes: because as lovers of mystery and crime fiction we know there’s always more to the story than what makes it to the printed page, and because we want to know it all.
Mystery and crime fiction authors are happy to oblige us in this. After all, they can’t stay hunched over their keyboards plotting murder and mayhem forever. Every once in a while, especially when they have new books they’d like us to know about, they venture forth to meet the public. It seems only right that we, the public, go out to greet them.
If you’re lucky enough to have a mystery fiction specialty bookstore in your area—such as Murder By the Book in Houston; The Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale, Arizona; or Aunt Agatha’s in Ann Arbor, Michigan—you have access to a steady stream of mystery authors flowing through your town. (Want to find an independent mystery bookseller? There’s an association for that!)
Of course authors also make appearances at general interest chain and independent bookstores as well. And the libraries! Oh the libraries! Mystery authors love libraries, and they try to work them into book tours whenever they can.
We love author events, and we suspect you do too. The chance to hear the “story behind the story” is irresistible to the sleuth in us all.
So, where have you seen your favorite authors at readings and signings in your area?
Leslie Gilbert Elman, author of Weird But True: 200 Astounding, Outrageous, and Totally Off the Wall Facts, would like to remind you—subtly—that books make excellent gifts. Follow her on Twitter @leslieelman.