Treason has done his worst; nor steel nor poison,
Malice domestic, foreign levy, nothing
Can touch him further.
~ William Shakespeare, Macbeth
I’m leaving for Malice Domestic in Bethesda, Maryland. I have no business sitting here writing or doing anything else. I should be upstairs packing. But the suitcase has reached critical mass, the point at which it’s critical I get the rest of the stuff I’d forgotten about in with the mass already there. Some things are best left till the last minute, so here I sit.
The washing machine is going full-tilt, if that’s worth any points.
Malice Domestic is a mystery fan convention held every year in Bethesda. It celebrates the traditional mystery–books best typified by the works of Agatha Christie. The genre is loosely defined as mysteries which contain no explicit sex or excessive gore or violence. Its name is based on the lines from Macbeth quoted above.
Friends who have been to Malice say it’s fun. They talk most about schmoozing in the bar. I’ve never been much of a schmoozer, but this is my chance to see how it’s done. At this conference, I won’t feel guilty for missing some of the sessions and not scribbling down notes. Schmoozing is allowed. This one is just for fun.
There will be fans of mystery, both fiction and nonfiction, and there will be authors–Rhys Bowen, Carol Nelson Douglas, Margaret Maron, Sara Paretsky, Kaye George – Janet Cantrell, Laura Oles, and more. Kaye George and Laura Oles are members of Austin Mystery Writers and contributed to AMW’s anthology, MURDER ON WHEELS.
At the banquet on Saturday night, Agatha Awards will be presented for Best Historical Novel, Best Contemporary Novel, Best First Novel, Best Short Story, and so on.
If you’re in a reading mood, here are links to the nominated short stories:
Best Short Story:
“The Odds are Against Us” (PDF) by Art Taylor, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Nov. 2014
“Premonition” by Art Taylor, Chesapeake Crimes Homicidal Holidays (Wildside Press)
“The Shadow Knows” by Barb Goffman, Chesapeake Crimes Homicidal Holidays (Wildside Press)
“Just Desserts for Johnny” (PDF) by Edith Maxwell (Kings River Life Magazine)
“The Blessing Witch” (PDF) by Kathy Lynn Emerson, Best New England Crime Stories 2015: Rogue Wave (Level Best Books)
In addition to Malice, there’s something else I’d like to see in Bethesda: turkeys that engage in parthenogenesis. My genetics professor mentioned they were raised in Bethesda. That was in 1972, but I don’t see why the turkeys wouldn’t still be there. I googled them and found reference to haploid turkeys, but nothing to connect them to Bethesda. I won’t be there long enough to see anything but the inside of the hotel anyway, but I’d sure like to find those turkeys.
Well, the time draws near. I must deal with the critical mass.
Watch this site for more news about Malice Domestic, schmoozing, and, if I find them, haploid turkeys.