During a recent trip to San Francisco, my husband and I were able to take a few days and drive down to Monterrey and Carmel.
I have always thought this is one of the most beautiful areas of California, and we made the most of it by spending several days in Monterrey, visiting the aquarium, walking around Carmel and making the 17-mile drive of Pebble Beach.
So what does this have to do with mysteries.
It had been 22 years since we visited this area—the last time was for my first Bouchercon held in 1997 in Monterrey.
This Bouchercon hooked me forever on the conference. Since then, I have only missed two.
Before this Bouchercon, I never knew such an event existed.
I think this was one of the largest Bouchercons—2,200 people attended if I am remembering correctly.
I fondly remember meeting Bill and Toby Gottfried, who put on a hell of a conference; being introduced to Donald Westlake and Sara Paretsky; meeting this new author who had just won an award, Harlan Coben; having a long conversation with Charlaine Harris about her Shakespeare series; hearing Val McDermid talk about her watch; participating on my first Bouchercon panel moderated by Janet Rudolph. At night, we heard the seals barking.
I bring this up because it is nearing time for another Bouchercon.
This year, Bouchercon will be Oct. 31 through Nov. 3 in Dallas.
Guests of Honor include Peter Lovesey, Hank Phillippi Ryan, James Patterson, Deborah Crombie, Felix Francis, Harry Hunsicker and McKenna Jordan.
In addition, there will be hundreds of other authors representing every aspect of the mystery genre.
In addition to the numerous authors, Bouchercon 2019 celebrates the 50th of anniversary of the convention.
Plan to party in Dallas.
Raymond Chandler’s work remains timeless. His solid characters, view of society and iconic look at Los Angeles are always in style.
So I was especially interested to see how Randall Silvis briefly weaves in Chandler in his novel A Long Way Down.
And I promise no spoilers—just a beautiful homage to Chandler.
In Silvis’ third outing with Ryan DeMarco, the former Pennsylvania state policeman turned private investigator returns to his hometown of Youngstown, Ohio.
Ryan is a reader and his hometown reminds him a couple of times of Raymond Chandler.
Driving from stoplight to stoplight, Ryan is reminded of a phrase Raymond Chandler has used “the big sordid dirty crooked city. Chandler’s Marlowe preferred it over small-town life, but DeMarco was no Philip Marlowe, and he knew it. Any similarities were only skin-deep. He was more like Chandler himself, a man whose spirit and heart were gradually crushed by the city.”
Ryan proves quite the Chandler fan, as he often relies on the author, and Marlowe, to guide him.
Later on, Ryan remembers the quote “I test very high on insubordination,” which Philip Marlowe had said in The Big Sleep.
“The quote had always pleased DeMarco. As did Nabokov’s observations that curiosity is insubordination in its purest form.”
Ryan’s literary tastes also run to mainstream literature.
“. . . the word komorebi came to him then, a word he had read long ago, probably in a novel by Yukio Mishima, that fine Japanese writer. . . . A single word to describe the way sunlight streamed through leaves on a tree.