“Characters Welcome,” the slogan of the USA Network, might also be the motto of the three authors profiled in this issue.
Robert Crais started out in the late 1980s with Elvis Cole, a quirky, funny wiseguy detective with obvious roots in earlier PI fiction. Over the years, though, Cole has developed into his own man and been joined by an intriguingly varied cast of friends and colleagues. Kevin Burton Smith dubs this colorful alternate universe “ElvisWorld” and it’s a fine place to visit.
Jill Paton Walsh didn’t invent Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane, of course—that was the genius of Dorothy L. Sayers. But Walsh, a well-respected novelist in her own right, has created a richly imagined world in which the two continue to develop both individually and as a couple. While The Attenbury Emeralds has its roots in Lord Peter’s very first case soon after WWI, it’s the doings of the Wimsey family and friends in 1952 that is the real draw.
The entire premise of Steve Hockensmith’s Holmes on the Range series relies on the power of character, not only to entertain but also to inspire. Old Red Amlingmeyer, a 20-something, dirt-poor cowpoke in the Old West is so enraptured by Sherlock Holmes that he eventually transforms himself into an entirely credible detective. Luckily for us, Old Red’s younger brother, Big Red, decides to emulate Dr. Watson and chronicle the rootin’ tootin’ results.
Also in this issue, Art Taylor takes us to the movies in “Deadline! Journalists in Crime Films.” J. Kingston Pierce presents a gallery of gorgeous contemporary book covers, and Lawrence Block remembers his friend Evan Hunter (aka Ed McBain). Nate Pedersen finishes off his series on collecting with a guide to appraisals, auctions, and selling a collection.
We’re On the Road this Year
Brian and I will be traveling a lot in 2011. In March, you can find us at Left Coast Crime in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In May we’ll be at the Malice Domestic Mystery Convention in Bethesda, Maryland, where Mystery Scene will again be sponsoring the New Authors Breakfast. And in September, we hope to see many of you at the Bouchercon World Mystery Convention in St. Louis where Brian and I are Fan Guests of Honor. And who knows where else we’ll pop up?
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