Tuesday, September 13, 2011

There goes the bride: A Bouchercon 2009 chase scene

The old cozy writers say that when the wind blows cold in the nighttime at Bouchercon, you can hear the rustle of satin and the click of white high heels ...

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(Photos courtesy of Anita Thompson)

Our small gang had set out for a late lunch and agent's party at Bouchercon when we met what appeared to be a body of vestal virgins delivering pizza.

"Have you seen a bride?" one of them asked me.

Alas, I had not.

I don't know if they ever found what they were looking for, but Bridesmaid #1 seemed determined to lead the satin-swathed entourage through every park and monument in downtown Indianapolis if she had to.

Later we saw a banquet setting up at the restaurant where we'd gone for the lunch/agent's shindig — a wedding reception, perhaps? — but no bridal party.

Sounds like a mystery to me.

© Peter Rozovsky 2009

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70 Comments:

Blogger Loren Eaton said...

I was thinking thriller: The bride suddenly vanishes -- and she didn't get cold feet. ...

October 26, 2009  
Blogger Fred said...

Being rather cynical, my first thought was a publicity stunt. Is there a film now showing or a book being published that has something to do with missing brides?

Or, remembering the story about the straw and the wheelbarrows, perhaps it's a unique publicity campaign for that brand of pizza. Do you remember the name?

October 26, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I wonder who vanished, though, Loren. Perhaps some worried bride was wondering where her bridesmaids had gone.

October 26, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Fred, is that the story that begins with puzzlement over why anyone would bother to steal straw, and ends with all the wheelbarrows gone?

I suspect this was no publicity stunt. My prosaic guess is that the bridesmaids simply showed up at the wrong monument for the wedding pictures. (Indianapolis has quite a number of monuments and grandiose public buildings in a small area. Perhaps the women had confused the War Memorial, pictured here, with the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, a picture of which illustrates my first Bouchercon post.)

Another factor arguing against this having been a publicity stunt is that the pizza-like box contained corsages. In any case, assuming the women finally got where they were going, I'd bet that was one wedding where the bride was not the only one blushing.

October 26, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

The guesses keep on coming, both on blog and off, about the mystery of the fleeing bridesmaids.

A murder/suicide, said one correspondent, though if the bridesmaids were the perps, they were unsuitably dressed for a chase (note the shoes) or for blending into a crowd.

And this, from my mother:

I see 2 possible scenarios for your bridal pizza puzzle:

a) "Chercher les hommes "...in which 4 disgruntled women members of a sect are determined to get married and, appropriately clad, set out to find 4 like-minded prospective husbands... armed in advance with a pizza for the wedding reception.

b) "Echapper les hommes"...in which the same 4 members of a sect are determined not to marry the ugly old goats that the sect leader has decreed that they wed, and grabbed the reception refreshments, i.e. pizza, to tide them over while in hiding.


What do you think the real story is? And where should me mum be publishing her short fiction?

October 26, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Late-breaking news flash: My boss, an Indianapolis native, said wedding parties often go to Monument Circle, site of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument (first picture here), for wedding pictures. These wandering bridesmaids had gone to the War Memorial instead. So my guess a couple of comments above may have cracked the case. Still, keep the solutions coming. Your guesses have been far more entertaining than mine.

Hmm, but if I have my Indianapolis geography right, they are heading away from Monument Circle rather than toward it in the top picture to this blog post.

I wish the couple well after this rocky start to their married life.

October 26, 2009  
Blogger Fred said...

It's the story about the customs agent who saw a young boy cross the border daily pushing a wheelbarrow filled with straw. He knew the boy was smuggling something, so he carefully searched through the straw every time the boy crossed over, but he could find nothing.

Finally, the agent retired and met the boy on the street sometime afterwards. He explained he was retired, etc. and just wanted to know what the boy was smuggling.

The boy shrugged and said, "Wheelbarrows."

October 26, 2009  
Blogger Fred said...

Ah, corsages--oh well.

I wonder if the box had a false bottom.


Wrong monument--a prosaic solution, but probably the right one.

October 26, 2009  
Blogger Fred said...

How about _The Alfred Hitchcock Magazine_? Or, if it's still around _Mad Magazine_.

Definitely not _True Romance_.

October 26, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

That's a good old story, Fred. The version I first heard involves sawdust being smuggled out of a factory.

October 26, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Hmm, the title of the story could be "The Wrong Monument" -- or "The False Monument," which opens even more possibilities.

Yeah, I figured the box could have a double false bottom: pizza concealing corsages concealing the murder weapon.

October 26, 2009  
Blogger Fred said...

Sawdust and a factory. [g]

I live in Tucson, which is about 70 miles from the border, so border crossing issues, etc. are significant here.

It's interesting the way local conditions or issues creep into stories this way.

October 26, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

My mother, who must have raised me to read mysteries, says she first heard about a guy who rode across the border on a bicycle day after day ... the border guards suspected him of being a spy or something, but he was smuggling bicycles.

The problem, she says, is that "I don't know how he crossed back."

October 26, 2009  
Blogger Fred said...

How did he come back?

Probably on a skateboard.

October 27, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

And the title of the story as my mother tells it has to be "Sects and the Single Girl."

October 27, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Efficient to smuggle in both directions, I suppose.

October 27, 2009  
Blogger Fred said...

Yes, cargo transporters hate deadheading.

October 27, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

The example I'm thinking of is the dreadful one of the triangular trade during colonial times.

October 27, 2009  
Blogger Fred said...

Triangular trade--

Rum, slaves, and ???

October 27, 2009  
Blogger Linkmeister said...

Fred, you're a Tucsonan? I went to UofA between 1968-1972, off and on. I mostly lived at a fraternity house on Cherry Avenue, which I see via Google Maps has now been subsumed into the U's Med Center.

October 27, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

In one form, it was rum
from New England to West Africa, slaves to the Sugar Islands,
molasses home to the New England distilleries. In others, slaves would go from Africa to the West Indies, raw products would go from there to England, and manufactured goods from England to Africa.

I took a walk along Bristol's waterfront during Crimefest earlier this year. Displays along the water talked about Bristol's role in the trade, and a guide on my tour of the city said tortured, guilt-ridden memoirs exist by sailors who were involved in the trade.

October 27, 2009  
Blogger Fred said...

Linkmeister,

UofA from 1968-1971, psych grad school.

October 27, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Our bridesmaids would have wandered in greater comfort in Tucson than they did in these pictures. Temperatures were low in Indianapolis during the convention.

October 27, 2009  
Blogger Linkmeister said...

Psych grad school? Then you weren't in the same two or three Intro lecture courses I was in at that time.

Ah well. Even then there were some 20,000 students there.

October 27, 2009  
Blogger Fred said...

Perhaps. I was a TA for one of the intro courses.

October 27, 2009  
Blogger Fred said...

See my blog for email address if you want.

October 27, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Linkmeister, I could be hosting a first-ever U of A reunion. And do you have any incompletes left from Fred's course?

October 27, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

First-ever virtual reunion, that is.

October 27, 2009  
Blogger Linkmeister said...

Heh. I had several incompletes in my time there (I never did graduate from UofA; went off and joined the Navy instead), but they weren't in Psych, as I recall.

October 27, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Mmm, I wonder if any of your other instructors post here.

October 27, 2009  
Blogger Fred said...

I'm surprised some university hasn't instituted a "virtual reunion" yet. Seems as though it could be done.

October 27, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

It would not shock me to learn that some school had done this already.

October 27, 2009  
Blogger Fred said...

I would be surprised to learn that no school had yet done it.

I'm waiting for some alumni to leave a message on my blog or twitter me about donations.

October 27, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

That would be one plus of virtual reunions: the greater ease of dodging donation-seekers.

We've just had a virtual crime-fiction convention; why not a virtual reunion?

October 27, 2009  
Blogger Fred said...

Never thought about that. I could just blacklist any donation seekers as spam and forget about them.

Good point

v word: splizin

October 27, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Yeah, I could probably safely blacklist donation-seekers without worrying that I might be cutting off a potentially valuable contact. I never hung out much with leaders, so that type probably doesn't know me.

October 28, 2009  
Blogger Fred said...

Those I knew in college seemed to have disappeared. I don't even find them in the obit section of the alumni news letter.

I don't think I've ever heard about anyone I knew well in college in the news as a "leader."

October 28, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Leader in alumnispeak means someone who gives enough money to be called a leader or a member of the president's table or something similar. These are not the folks I hung around with.

October 28, 2009  
Blogger Fred said...

Thanks for the clarification. I was thinking of a "leader" during college days and afterwards and had nothing to do with presence in alumni affairs.

Never knew one of those "leaders" either.

October 28, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Well, the two kinds of leader tend to merge, I think. I have a college classmate or two who have done wonderful things but without all that high a profile. My most notorious classmate, though, is someone you may have heard of: Jack Abramoff.

October 28, 2009  
Blogger Fred said...

Chuckle...interesting image--Jack Abramoff as an alumni recruiter drumming up donations.

October 28, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Yeah, I think he was pretty good at bringing in money.

October 28, 2009  
Blogger Linkmeister said...

I took a drive/ski spring break from Tucson to Durango with a guy who later became Chairman and CEO of Homestake Mining by the time he was in his early forties. I'm unaware of anybody else I know from those days who made it that high.

October 28, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Impressive, but he's still no Jack Abramoff.

October 28, 2009  
Blogger Fred said...

Got me beat.

Of course, I've lost track of most of the people I went to school with, so who knows--I may know many in high places, and probably a few in low places also.


Beautiful country up there. I like to drive to Cortez, Colorado, and stay overnight and then head for Durango the next day.

October 28, 2009  
Blogger Linkmeister said...

I confess one of the attractions was the fact that Colorado would sell 3.2 beer over the bar to under-21-year-olds like we were.

There were three of us: the Homestake guy from Mt. Kisco NY, the southern guy from Tupelo MS, and me, most recently from Guam.

Diversity!

October 28, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Fred, the one time I remember being impressed by a classmate's accomplishments came when I was listening to a researcher talk about neuroscience on the BBC World Service late one night, and I realized I'd gone to school with her.

I once ate a pepperoni pizza at the Middle Earth Sandwich Shop in Pagosa Springs, Colo.

October 28, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Linkmeister, sounds like a road movie to me.

October 28, 2009  
Blogger Fred said...

"I once ate a pepperoni pizza at the Middle Earth Sandwich Shop in Pagosa Springs, Colo."

Now, there's a memory to be treasured. [g]

October 29, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Do or did you know that shop? It's been many years since I ate there. The pizza was good.

October 29, 2009  
Blogger Linkmeister said...

It was in a Renault 10, and at 5'10" I might have been the shortest of the three of us.

October 29, 2009  
Blogger Fred said...

No, I'm not familiar with the place.

October 29, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Sounds even more like a road movie.

October 29, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

No, I'm not familiar with the place.

Ah, so you were just beguiled by the idea of a restaurant with that name in that location serving pepperoni pizza? So was I.

October 29, 2009  
Blogger Fred said...

The "Middle Earth" name in Colorado is not surprising, but pizza in a place with that name is, for some inexplicable reason.

October 29, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Not so inexplicable, I'd say. Pizza is so thoroughly of this Earth that the contrast with fairy or elfish realms is miserable. I don't remember if the place served meat and potatoes. That would have been even better.

October 30, 2009  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

Love the wheelbarrow story. My thoughts turned to "straw," but wheelbarrows are better.

My question is: Why isn't your mother a published mystery writer? She's fantastic.

Have a great time at Bouchercon. And we'll [patiently] await panel reports when available.

September 14, 2011  
Anonymous I.J.Parker said...

Having fun. Good! It has been predicted that Bouchercon (et al.) is a dying habit mostly attended by newbies and stars who love the attention and the hobnobbing with friends in the bars. And the numbers are said to be down. Is this true?

September 14, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Kathy, the first report should arrive tonight. My mother might make a good mystery writer; the likely solution to the mystery turned out to be a good deal more prosaic than her guesses.

September 14, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I.J., I was saying to Charlaine Harris and Ken Bruen at Lee Child's cocktail party one year that -- Hey, John Connolly! Looking good! -- that Bouchercon is for fans.

As far as I know, Bcon 2009 had record attendance, and BCon 2010 was down slightly, due possibly to the cost of traveling to San Francisco and to the effects of the recession that no officials or journalists would call a recession until the recession was officially over although it has never really ended.

September 14, 2011  
Anonymous I.J.parker said...

Ah, well. The cost for most of us is prohibitive when compared to the actual sales that might accrue. I did have a very good time in Chicago, because I didn't try (beyond one panel and a brief signing stint). I went sightseeing and attended a lovely Shamus party. All very good fun (and some superb food off the premises), but VERY expensive.

September 14, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I.J., the current thinking is that it's a fans' convention. Jon Jordan, who has chaired and otherwise helped organize several Bouchercons, including this one, proclaims this often. I've been attending only since 2008, so I don't know if that line of thinking has always held sway.

September 14, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Publishers also use Bouchercon for launches and other events to promote books into they hope will make a big splash. Such is the case this year with Agnete Friis, Lene Kaaberbøl, and their book The Boy in the Suitcase.

For folks like me, Bouchercon is a hell of enjoyable vacation.

September 14, 2011  
Blogger Photographe à Dublin said...

It sounds as if you are having a very well deserved break from the official noir coalface.

Latest news from Dublin...
Alan Glynn launched his third thriller, "Bloodland" here and there's a short piece on my blog about genre.

September 16, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

P a D, my copy of Bloodland is right at the top of my post-Bouchercon reading list. Did you shoot the cover this time?

September 16, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

In re breaks, I feel like a farmer in the Middle Ages whose only contact with the outside world is the annual fair.

September 16, 2011  
Blogger Photographe à Dublin said...

Photography is a hobby, so it's unlikely I'll be producing any more book covers.

The photo for Alan Glynn's "Winterland" was chosen by chance and was a surprise to me at the time.

If you visit the Mulholland Books site, there is an interesting practice of linking to photos on Flickr that hava a sharp, noir look.

September 19, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

P a D: I'll look for the article. Thanks.

I love photos with a sharp, noir look, and I have taken a few more on this trip that I hope will have such a look.

September 19, 2011  
Blogger Photographe à Dublin said...

Flickr has several good Book Cover groups.

Also, this might be of use:

bookcoverarchive.com/david_baldeosingh_rotstein

September 21, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks; I'll take a look. I've seen a few book-cover blogs and illustrators' and designers' sites that make for good reading and browsing.

September 21, 2011  

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