Monday, October 19, 2015

Bouchercon, Part IV: My first panel

Laura Lippman
I moderated one panel and one special-event discussion at Bouchercon 2015 in Raleigh, N.C.,  which seems long ago but from which I only returned on Tuesday. Here's the first part of what it was like.

Kevin Burton Smith
"Beyond Hammett, Chandler, Spillane, and Macdonald" was a reprise of last year's similarly titled panel in which authors, editors, and other crime fiction experts talked about their favorite lesser-known crime writers of the past.  This year's panelists included Laura Lippman (above right) on the YA author Zilpha Keatley Snyder, Kevin Burton "Thrilling Detective Web Site" Smith (left) on Norbert Davis, Sarah Weinman (below right) on Elisabeth Sanxay Holding, and Jordan Foster, who scarpered before I could snap her picture, on Ted Lewis.

Sarah Weinman
All four panelists were eloquent, illuminating, and entertaining, and, more to the point, they chose their subjects well. Lippman taught the gratifyingly packed room that an author who wrote fantasy for children could fill her stories with hard-boiled and even noir tropes.   Smith opened audience eyes to an author who proved that superb writing and hard-boiled toughness are compatible with slapstick comedy.

Weinman talked about Holding, writer of superbly tuned domestic suspense (and, I would argue, noir), and one of the best of the mid-twentieth-century female crime writers Weinman is doing so much to bring back into circulation. And Foster? She spoke comprehensively about Lewis, known for the novel now called Get Carter, but author of at least two other crime fiction classics, and one of the toughest of all crime writers, who combined sharp observational humor with Jim Thompson-like nightmare intensity.

I like to think the panel expanded the audience's idea of what crime fiction can accomplish as much as it expanded mine, because that's exactly what I set out to do.

© Peter Rozovsky 2015

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