Feb 262015
 

As I look back on the books I’ve reviewed over the past nearly-eight years on the Classic Mysteries podcast, I find, according to the Backlist page, that I have reviewed more than 20 of Rex Stout’s books, most of them featuring Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin.

Over at the Wolfe Pack’s group page on Facebook this week, there has been some discussion about which Nero Wolfe books are personal favorites. I must admit that my favorite still is The Doorbell Rang, written in 1965, at a time when there was still an air of “The Untouchables” around the FBI and its leader, J. Edgar Hoover. Some disillusionment was beginning to set in, however – and nowhere is that more clear than in The Doorbell Rang.

My podcast review, written before this blog was in place, summarized the book this way:

Here’s the situation: a very wealthy woman comes to Wolfe’s office on West 35th Street in New York. She has read an unflattering book about the FBI, and has bought ten thousand copies of it and sent them to friends, government officials, and others whom she believed should read the book. As a result, she says, she has been harassed by the FBI. She believes they have tapped her telephone, spied on her movements, and generally made her life miserable. She wants to hire Wolfe to stop the FBI.

It takes some persuading. Neither Wolfe nor his assistant, Archie Goodwin, is a fool. They know that if they do get involved, the FBI will shift its harassment to them. They could wind up losing their licenses as private detectives.

But Wolfe’s ego – and Archie’s too – make them accept the case, even though Wolfe doesn’t have any immediate answer to the question: how do you persuade the entire FBI organization – not to mention its boss – to stop doing what they won’t even admit they are doing…

And so battle is joined. Wolfe comes up with a plan, all right, and it’s one of the most delightful, daring and ingenious charades he has ever created. Along the way to finding an answer to his problem, he solves a murder which the New York City police have, in effect, been told by the FBI not to solve. It’s not often that Wolfe finds his old nemesis, New York City homicide detective Inspector Cramer, cheering him on…but that’s one of the many odd developments in this case.

It required a fair amount of courage for Rex Stout to write this one. It’s by no means typical of the rest of Nero Wolfe’s cases, most of which are great murder mysteries. In this one, the murder is secondary to the battle between Nero Wolfe and the FBI – and what a marvelous solution it is.

And this book has one of the best closing lines of any of Rex Stout’s books…

If you haven’t read this one yet, go get it and enjoy it. 

Feb 222015
 

It was only because of a trick that Nero Wolfe was persuaded to get involved in the case of Molly Lauck. That unfortunate young woman, a fashion model, had made the mistake of opening a brown box of candy and taking a piece – a piece which turned out to have been laced with cyanide. The police really had nothing to go on. But a young man named Llewellyn Frost managed to get a number of prominent orchid growers to sign a letter begging Nero Wolfe to get involved in the case. And so he did. And he discovered that in addition to that brown box of deadly chocolate, the case would hinge on another box – a mysterious – and missing – red box, whose contents, although still unknown, could move someone to murder. It happens in The Red Box, by Rex Stout, originally published in 1937 and only the fourth recorded case for Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin. The Red Box is the subject of today’s audio review on the Classic Mysteries podcast, and you can listen to the full review by clicking here.

It doesn’t take Wolfe long to begin to suspect that the wrong victim may have died by eating that poisoned candy. For that matter, it really doesn’t take him long to determine the probable culprit – but there is, as he says repeatedly, no proof. There will be more deaths before Wolfe (with the active help, for once, of Inspector Cramer of Homicide) stages one of his most daring office confrontation scenes in order to solve the mystery of the red box and its contents.

As always, the story is narrated by the irrepressible Archie Goodwin, which guarantees a fast, funny delivery, full of wisecracks, with plenty of first rate quotes from Nero Wolfe as well, who is, as always, irascible and sharp. At one point, for example, while talking to a wealthy client, he observes, “Nothing is more admirable than the fortitude with which millionaires tolerate the disadvantages of their wealth.” Stout really was a marvelous writer; I don’t think most readers would put up with Wolfe’s mammoth ego for very long if it weren’t for Archie’s narration.

At the moment, The Red Box appears to be in print as part of a paperback collection which also contains Stout’s The Rubber Band. It’s also available in e-book format. It is very much worth your reading time.

The 2015 Bingo Challenge

This week, we’re back to another entry in the 2015 Vintage Mystery Bingo challenge being presented by Bev Hankins at her marvelous “My Reader’s Block” blog. The Bingo card has 36 squares to be filled by reading a book appropriate to each square’s instructions. The Red Box is my entry for the first square – top row, left-hand column ‘ calling for a color in the title or cover color.

Vintage Golden Card 2015

Sep 072014
 

As any regular reader of Rex Stout’s novels about Nero Wolfe can assure you, it takes a great deal to move the sedentary gourmand out of his brownstone house on West 35th Street in New York City. The prospect of a great meal, however, may do the trick. That is why, in Too Many Cooks, we are treated to the spectacle of Wolfe, assisted by Archie Goodwin, traveling by train – horrors! – to West Virginia, for a banquet prepared by some of the world’s finest chefs, Les Quinze Maitres – the fifteen masters.

But Wolfe’s dinner plans are interrupted when somebody sticks a knife into one of the chefs, right in the middle of a sort of taste-testing contest. The police believe the culprit is one of Wolfe’s friends. So it is partly to clear his friend’s name – and also from some ulterior motives of his own – that Wolfe and Goodwin must solve this murder.

First published in 1938, Too Many Cooks was the fifth book to feature Wolfe and Goodwin, and it is the subject of today’s audio review on the Classic Mysteries podcast. You can listen to the entire review by clicking here. Nero Wolfe, taken outside his comfort zone (quite literally), is fascinating as he grumbles his way to a surprising solution. I think this is one of the best of the early Wolfe books, and I recommend it highly.

The Challenge

As part of my continuing commitment to the Vintage Mystery Bingo Reading Challenge under way at the My Reader’s Block blog, I am submitting this to cover the Bingo square calling for one book that features food/cooks in some way. For details about the challenge, and what I’m doing for it, please click here.

Jan 282014
 

Perhaps it is merely a sign that the spring will be with us soon, with its promise of rejuvenescence, but I was reminded that today is the official publishing date for Robert Goldsborough’s Murder in the Ball Park, his latest continuation of Rex Stout’s series of mysteries starring Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin. I’ve written about it here and Jeff Pierce’s excellent interview with Goldsborough is here.

By coincidence, I also received an email today from Mike Ripley, who writes the monthly “Getting Away with Murder” column for Britain’s Shots eZine, telling me that we are about to get a new mystery featuring Albert Campion, the character originally created by Margery Allingham. Ripley has “completed” the book, called Mr. Campion’s Farewell. Based on a conversation in the Golden Age of Detection group on Facebook, the new book is actually the completion of a book begun by Philip Youngman Carter, Allingham’s husband, but never completed. (Carter did complete an earlier manuscript left unfinished by Allingham, Cargo of Eagles. Curtis Evans reminds us in his blog, The Passing Tramp, that Carter also wrote two Campion books of his own, Mr. Campion’s Farthing and Mr. Campion’s Falcon. (To confuse matters further, the latter may also appear as Mr. Campion’s Quarry.) In any case, Severn House plans to release Mr. Campion’s Farewell in the U.K. on March 27th, with an ebook and US edition due in June.

Not content with these revivals, Ripley’s note also contains the curious line, “Other revived detectives are available.” I have no idea what he means and will be very eager to find out.

Jan 272014
 

Someone has murdered the master – the master chess player, that is. Paul Jerin was playing a dozen games of chess blindfolded, against twelve different opponents simultaneously, when someone gave him a cup of hot chocolate quite liberally laced with poison. As far as the police were concerned, it was a simple case – the only person who could have done it was Matthew Blount, the man who gave Jerin the hot chocolate and who immediately washed out the cup afterwards. Blount’s daughter wasn’t buying it – and she came to Nero Wolfe to persuade him to find the evidence that would clear her father.

In a nutshell, that’s what you’ll find in Gambit, by Rex Stout. The 1962 mystery featuring Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin is the subject of this week’s audio review on the Classic Mysteries podcast, and you can listen to the entire review by clicking here.

The word “gambit” is a technical term in chess, referring to an opening move by a player in which a pawn or other chess piece is sacrificed to gain a strategic advantage. It becomes a central image in the book, as Nero Wolve and his right-hand assistant, Archie Goodwin, try to determine who killed Paul Jerin and why. They must, of course, come up with an answer that satisfies the police – and they quickly discover that they are working on a case in which they simply haven’t a shred of evidence, even after they answer the questions of who and why.

That’s all I’ll say about the plot – but I will also recommend this story because it has what I think is probably the finest opening scene of any of the Nero Wolfe novels. We are treated to the spectacle of Nero Wolfe, sitting in his office, tearing pages out of the then-new, third edition of Webster’s New International Dictionary, Unabridged. The book outraged Wolfe’s sense of what he considered to be proper English usage, by, for instance, using “imply” and “infer” interchangeably, and his response is quite visceral. It’s a marvelous scene. The book also ends with what Archie calls “one of the best charades Wolfe has ever staged,” as he sets up a gambit of his own to catch the killer.

Gambit, unfortunately, appears to be out of print again, although the link above will take you to a version for the Kindle; I also see that Amazon’s web of used book dealers seem to have a number of reasonably priced copies. It’s worth going to the trouble to get it – it’s a clever plot, and if you find yourself arriving, along with Wolfe and Archie, at the correct identity of the killer, you will still face…but why spoil it? I do think you’ll enjoy it.

One more thing: Gambit will be my first entry this year in Bev Hankins’s newest vintage mystery reading challenge over at the My Reader’s Block blog – you can read all about it at the link, but it’s a challenge involving matching books to categories. Players can choose “Golden” (pre-1960) or “Silver” (1960-1980) bingo cards. Gambit fits nicely on the Silver card as “a book with a detective team.” It’s going to be an interesting year.

—-

UPDATED to fix broken link

Jan 222014
 

I have written here about the new mystery featuring Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin, written by Robert Goldsborough, called “Murder in the Ball Park,” which will be published officially next week.

Over at The Rap Sheet blog, Jeff Pierce has published an interview which he conducted via email with Goldsborough, talking about the new book and also about some of Goldsborough’s books which are not continuations of the Nero Wolfe series, featuring a Chicago police reporter named Snap Malek. It’s an interesting interview, and I think you’ll enjoy reading it. Among other points, Goldsborough says that his favorite among the original Nero Wolfe books is The League of Frightened Men, a book which is also among my favorites – I think it’s one of the best of the very early books in the series.

By the way, The Rap Sheet ought to be on your regular checklist for staying up with news from the broader world of mystery fiction. 

Back to Wolfe’s Lair

 interviews, Kirkus, Nero Wolfe  Comments Off on Back to Wolfe’s Lair
Jan 222014
 

I was pleased recently to be able to conduct an e-mail interview with Robert Goldsborough. The 76-year-old former Chicago journalist is the author of nine novels (thus far) expanding Rex Stout’s already rather extensive series of whodunits about Manhattan armchair detective Nero Wolfe and his more energetic legman/secretary, Archie Goodwin. The first of Goldsborough’s Wolfe outings was Murder in E Minor (1986), which he followed up over the next seven years with half a dozen sequels. However, the author dropped that series back in 1994, and instead concocted an unrelated handful of historical mysteries featuring a Chicago police reporter, Steve “Snap” Malek. Not until last year did Goldsborough return to the fictional environs of Wolfe’s West 35th Street brownstone in order to deliver a spirited prequel to Stout’s series, Archie Meets Nero Wolfe.

Now he’s back with Murder in the Ball Park (Mysterious Press/Open Road), a yarn that finds Archie trying to convince his rotund boss to tackle the shooting death, at New York City’s renowned Polo Grounds baseball stadium, of a state senator–an assassination that was witnessed by both Archie and another of Wolfe’s regular operatives, Saul Panzer. Meanwhile, all of Goldsborough’s previous Wolfe/Goodwin novels have been made available again in e-book format.

A good chunk of the interview I conducted with Goldsborough found its way into my latest column for Kirkus Reviews. But as so frequently happens, I had far more questions of the author than could be answered in the space of that column. So I’m installing the balance of our exchange below.

J. Kingston Pierce: Where do you live in Chicago?

Robert Goldsborough: My wife and I live in Wheaton, a western suburb, and we also have a small condo in the city. I was reared in Elmhurst, another western suburb, and have lived in the Chicago area all my life.

JKP: I’m not sure I buy the story that as a teenager, you told your mother you were bored, and her response was to give you a magazine serialization of one of the Nero Wolfe mysteries, thereby making you a Wolfe and Archie Goodwin fan for life. Is there not more to the tale than that? And how old were you at the time?

RG: The story is not more complicated; that is essentially what happened, and the publication was the long-gone American Magazine. I was about 13 at the time.

JKP: By the way, do you remember which serialized Nero Wolfe novel it was that first hooked you?

RG: No, but it would have been one published about 1950.

JKP: It sounds as if you had a close relationship with your mother. Can you tell me more about that? And were you equally tight with your father? Was he a Nero Wolfe fan as well?

RG: I was close to both my parents, but my mother was the one who loved mysteries, the Wolfe stories first and foremost, but closely followed by [Agatha] Christie’s Poirot stories. My father, who was an architect, wasn’t much of a mystery reader. His preference ran to non-fiction, mostly biographies and books on history.

JKP: After your initial introduction to Rex Stout’s many novels, how quickly did you read the Wolfe series? And have you read all of his non-Wolfe works as well?

RG: I probably was well into college before I had read all of the Wolfe novels and novellas. I’ve also read a number of Stout’s non-Nero Wolfe books. The ones that come to mind are How Like a God [1929], The President Vanishes [1934], and Red Threads [1939], an Inspector Cramer mystery.

JKP: So, name your five favorites among Stout’s Nero Wolfe books.

RG: My hands-down winner is The League of Frightened Men [1935]. The other four, in no particular order, are The Golden Spiders [1953], The Doorbell Rang [1965], Some Buried Caesar [1939], and A Family Affair [1975].

JKP: What do you think the Nero Wolfe tales can teach today’s crop of crime- and mystery-fiction writers?

RG: That a fast-paced, exciting, and well-constructed mystery can be crafted without resorting to gratuitous violence, obscenity-laden passages, and graphic sex.

JKP: Your initial set of new Wolfe novels was published between 1986 and 1994. But then you stopped writing them. Was that your choice, or was it the decision of your publisher, Bantam Books?

RG: Some of both. Bantam chose to go in other directions, and these books of mine had accomplished one of the goals of both the publisher and the Stout estate–namely, to revitalize the extensive backlist of Stout books. This was accomplished. Also, I had for some time wanted to write books with my own protagonist.

JKP: A decade later, Three Strikes You’re Dead was released, introducing a protagonist of your own devising, Chicago Tribune reporter Steve “Snap” Malek. What did that newsie and his world offer that Wolfe and his armchair detection did not?

RG: I’ve always been interested in Chicago history and Chicago newspaper lore, and this series gave me a chance to explore both areas.

JKP: Why did you choose the post-Second World War era as your backdrop for the Malek yarns?

RG: Actually, two of the Malek books take place before and during the war (1938 and 1942). I’ve always been interested in the Chicago of the ’30s and ‘40s, probably because I was beginning to come of age during those years, at least the ‘40s.

JKP: For those people who haven’t read the Malek series, could you just briefly describe its protagonist and his professional milieu?

RG: Malek is a late-30ish Chicago Tribune police reporter operating out of the press room at Police Headquarters, which in that era was located at 11th and State streets. He is brash and street smart, somewhat in the manner of one Archie Goodwin. He goes out in search of scoops and ends up becoming an amateur detective, sometimes at his peril.

JKP: How much of Malek’s experience as a Trib reporter reflects your own later experiences with the same newspaper?

RG: For several months in 1959, I was a City News Bureau cub reporter assigned to the Police Headquarters press room. This was in an era where there were four intensely competitive Chicago dailies, and much of what I put into the Malek books, particularly the press room scenes, is drawn from my own experiences and observations working with those colorful characters from the dailies.

JKP: You labored on behalf of the Chicago Tribune from 1960 to 1982. That wasn’t the high point of American newspapering, but it wasn’t far off. What do you remember best from being a newspaperman during the Kennedy, Vietnam, and Nixon years?

RG: The event that stands out most was when I was part of a Tribune team that put together, almost overnight, a 32-page section, I think it was, with the complete transcript of the Watergate tapes. It was devastating to the Nixon presidency. We worked around the clock to get that section out fast.

JKP: Did you have mentors who taught you the newspaper game?

RG: The greatest influence on me in the newspaper business was Clayton Kirkpatrick, who was managing editor and then editor of the Tribune during my years there, and I had the privilege of serving as his administrative assistant for a stretch. Kirk, as he was called, was as principled as anyone I ever met in almost 50 years in the business. He steered the once-reactionary and resolutely Republican paper into a more centrist position as far as its editorials were concerned, and after he read the Watergate tapes, Kirkpatrick wrote the editorial titled “Nixon Must Go.” It has been claimed that when the president read that editorial, he said something to the effect that “when the Tribune turned against me, I knew I was through.”

JKP: Do you feel at all sorry for today’s young journalists, missing the bigger-than-life members of the press and robust energy of the newspapers you witnessed?

RG: I feel sorry for them more because of the straits newspapers find themselves in today. It is true that the business was more colorful generations ago, but also in some cases more irresponsible. Today’s journalists are as a whole smarter, more dedicated, and better educated than in earlier times. Unfortunately, there are fewer papers today than at any time in the last 150 or 200 years, and if the trend continues, the ranks of dailies will shrink further.

JKP: Why did you move from the Tribune to become the editor of Advertising Age in the early 1980s? And was that a vastly different work environment from your time at the Trib?

RG: I had been at the Trib for 21 years and felt the need for a change. I wanted to try my hand at business journalism, and Advertising Age was–and is–a fine example of a business publication. One major difference, of course, is that I went from a daily to a weekly. To make a correction, I was never the editor of Ad Age, but one of its senior editors. I greatly enjoyed my 23 years there. I never was much of a job-hopper, with two employers in 44 years.

JKP: So back to Snap Malek. Once more, you penned only a handful of those yarns–five in all–and then you suddenly gave up the enterprise. Why stop? Did you just have no more ideas for Mr. Malek?

RG: You’re right that I was out of ideas after my fifth Malek story, Terror at the Fair [2011]. But I never say never. I enjoyed writing those books, and it’s very possible that at some point, I will do more.

JKP: I was a bit surprised to find, in your new Wolfe novel, Murder in the Ball Park, a couple of historical anomalies in the text, especially your use of the honorific “Ms.,” which wouldn’t have been familiar in the 1950s. What are your feelings about getting everything historically accurate in a period novel?

RG: Ouch! Did I use Ms. in Murder in the Ball Park? Shame on me. When I am unsure as to when a word came into general usage, I usually consult The Random House Dictionary of the English Language, which gives a five-year window as to when a word entered the lexicon. In my (feeble) defense, I now have consulted that same dictionary, which says “Ms. came into usage in the 1950s as a title before a woman’s surname when her marital status was unknown or irrelevant.” Your point remains well taken, however, as I question how widespread the use of Ms. was in the early ’50s.*

JKP: Thinking back, I remember that there were some readers who were disappointed in how you originally handled Nero Wolfe, Rex Stout, and their familiar cohorts. This second time around, are you feeling more reader love for your Stout-ish tales?

RG: Going into the project the first time, I knew it was inevitable that some readers would be dissatisfied. However, I was pleasantly surprised that I got about a 95-percent approval rating from readers who wrote me–this being a time before the rise of e-mail. And given the relatively early returns on Archie Meets Nero Wolfe, I would say the positive rating is still around 95 percent, based on e-mails and Amazon comments.

JKP: And what do you think you bring to Nero Wolfe’s world that Rex Stout didn’t–or, perhaps, wouldn’t–deliver?

RG: I have tried to be as true to the spirit and the flavor of Rex Stout’s work as I could. About the only substantive change I made was to give Archie Goodwin a personal computer with which to enter the orchid germination records.

* A representative of Open Road Media, Goldsborough’s publisher, tells me that “we are planning on fixing the ‘Ms.’ in the next printing” of Murder in the Ball Park.

READ MORE: Rick Kogan on Robert Goldsborough’s Second Calling” (Chicago Tribune); “Featured Writer: Robert Goldsborough,” by Jerry Patterson.

Jan 172014
 

Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin tackle the murder of a New York state senator who was shot while attending a ball game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants at the Polo Grounds in Manhattan.

If that sentence doesn’t make sense to you, let’s start with a bit of semi-ancient history (which I, fortunately or not, am old enough to remember) – a time when there were only 16 major league baseball teams, three of which – the Dodgers, Giants and Yankees – all played in New York. I am told by reliable sources that the Dodgers and Giants continue to play baseball somewhere out west, but I cannot prove it.

At any rate, readers of the Nero Wolfe mysteries will want to know that there is a new book coming out at the end of January, written by Robert Goldsborough, called Murder in the Ball Park. It is a continuation of the series written by Rex Stout featuring the irascible, largely immobile Nero Wolfe, and his assistant, Archie Goodwin, and it appears with the blessing of the Stout estate.

The story deals with the shooting of state senator Orson Milbank in the middle of a ball game, where Archie Goodwin is in attendance. The senator’s widow tries to persuade Archie to investigate the murder, and Archie, in turn, must persuade Wolfe to get involved – no easy task.

As readers of this blog probably know, I am an enormous fan of the original series of books and novellas to feature Wolfe, Goodwin and the rest of the 35th Street crew. So how is this continuation?

I must say I have mixed feelings.

I’m not a huge fan of continuations, especially of books featuring characters I know as well as I know Wolfe and Goodwin. I do think Goldsborough’s last book, Archie Meets Nero Wolfe, worked very well. It dealt with the meeting of Wolfe and Goodwin; as a result, I was more willing to suspend my disbelief in any details that might seem jarring to a regular reader of the series – the inevitable passages where a reader might say, “That doesn’t sound like the Nero Wolfe (or Archie) that I know.” It worked because it was set at the time when the two first met so the characters really hadn’t formed their familiar speech and behavior patterns.

Murder in the Ball Park, on the other hand, doesn’t have that grace. And, yes, I did find myself frowning occasionally and saying “That doesn’t sound…” or “Wolfe (or Goodwin) would never do/say that.”

But if I were a new reader? If I didn’t come with my own preconceptions of the characters? Well, in that case, I’d probably enjoy Murder in the Ball Park a lot more – perhaps enough to want to go back and read some of the Rex Stout originals. And I think that’s a good thing. The story is clever and Goldsborough certainly makes it clear that he respects the characters and Stout’s legacy. With that in mind, I’d say, yes, you’re likely to enjoy Murder in the Ball Park

Dec 082013
 

Two prestigious awards were presented Friday evening at the 36th Annual Black Orchid Banquet of the Wolfe Pack in New York.

The Black Orchid Novella Award, BONA for short, went to Susan Thibadeau for “The Discarded Spouse.” The award, presented in conjunction with Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, is given to the author of a novella, the intermediate-length form employed so effectively so often by Rex Stout for his Nero Wolfe stories. The award includes a $1000 prize, with the award-winning novella to be published next summer in AHMM.

The Nero Wolfe Award for the best American mystery of 2012 goes to Chris Knopf for Dead Anyway. Knopf’s next novel will be published in the spring.

The awards were the highlight of a day-long celebration of Rex Stout’s life and work, held annually on the first weekend in December. Banquet-goers were also treated to a keynote address by Robert Goldsborough, who has been writing additional Nero Wolfe/Archie Goodwin novels, with the blessing of the Stout family and estate.

Congratulations to the winners!

Dec 072013
 

The annual Black Orchid Weekend of the Wolfe Pack in New York City is well under way. It began last night with a book discussion of the novella “Murder is Corny” from the collection Three Witnesses, accompanied by a first rate dinner at Playwright’s Tavern. We also viewed the A&E production adapted from “Murder is Corny,” starring Maury Chaikin as Nero Wolfe and Tim Hutton as Archie Goodwin – a production which, we all pretty much agreed, was superior to the original novella. That excellent TV series is sorely missed today.

Tonight (Saturday night) will be the 36th annual Black Orchid Banquet, preceded this afternoon by “The Assembly,” a gathering where Wolfeian scholars and members of Rex Stout’s family gather to discuss various Wolfe-related subjects. At tonight’s dinner, the featured speaker will be Robert Goldsborough, the author of several “continuations” of Nero Wolfe novels, including the very good prequel to the series, called Archie Meets Nero Wolfe. These events are usually great fun, and a fine excuse to break out the formal evening wear.

At the banquet, the annual Nero Award for the best American mystery fiction will be presented, along with the Black Orchid Novella Award, given in conjunction with Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. I hope to see at least some of you there.

The weekend concludes on Sunday with a brunch – just another chance for the group to sit around and talk with each other. If you didn’t make this year’s events…start planning for 2014 – the first full weekend of December.