It's no coincidence a bookstore with the name of Mystery Lovers Bookshop holds a yearly festival for mystery lovers. Forty-five or so authors will descend on Pittsburgh today--many of them making the trek up from the D.C. area after the Malice Domestic convention. For the last few years, I've been picking up several writers from a local hotel and taking them to an author's tea at the Oakmont Library hosted by Allegheny County librarians. After a little schmoozing we head for the festival. This year my SUV mates are Joanna Slan, Casey Daniels, Nora McFarland and Deborah Sharp. Joanna and Casey must enjoy living vicariously--it's the third year they're riding with me. The first year they tagged along, I took them the long way to Oakmont. Through some of Pittsburgh's least desirable neighborhoods. It was fun. At least I thought so. I mean, really. We didn't get shot at or anything.
First time authors to the Festival of Mystery are always amazed to see the line of readers and fans waiting outside the door when they arrive. Imagine a line of people waiting to get into a popular nightclub. Now imagine that instead of undernourished twenty-somethings wearing too-little clothing, the line looks more like one you'd see at your local Walmart. Got the picture? And the weather doesn't matter to these fans. They'll be sitting in their lawn chairs in a torrential downpour. What really matters though, is these fans spend money on books. Lots and lots of money. It's good for the authors and it's good for the bookstore.
This year's FOM will be a little bittersweet. It will be the last one hosted by current store owners, Mary Alice and Richard. They're retiring and recently sold the store. They'll be announcing the new owner at the FOM. From what I hear, it will be in good hands.
Here are some pics from the 2010 Festival of Mystery: