Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Bloody Words 2011, the mystery conference taking place in Victoria on June 3-5, is approaching swiftly and I have a problem.

I've been put on a panel talking about humour. I have no sense of humour. Just ask my children. Never mind that Margaret Cannon said, "The dialogue is crisp, the jokes are funny and the setting as nutty as any city slicker can credit." What was she talking about? I was writing serious stuff in Champagne For Buzzards. People were murdered, guys with tattoos were acting badly, and someone put a dead body in the back of Sherri's pickup.

And now they've put me on a panel where listeners will expect to laugh. I think it's like choosing sides for basketball. After all the good ones had been picked there were one or two of us hanging about on the sidelines. With arms crossed, and unable to meet each other's eyes, we tried to act like we didn't really care. So, just like in team sports, I had to be put somewhere.

Why couldn't it have been somewhere I would fit in? How about murder for the deeply depressed? And just like in basketball, I'll go where I'm told and just try to stay out of the way, try not to get hurt. But just in case, has anyone got a joke? Wait, how about the one that goes, a priest a rabbi and a minster walked into a bar? That's a good one...no one will have heard that one before. Check out the web-site at www.bloodywords2011.com to see a truly marvelous list of speakers and panels. And don't forget Michael Slade's ghost walk.

Maybe they'd let me be the ghost.

Phyllis Smallman’s debut mystery won the first Arthur Ellis Unhanged Arthur in 2007 and was short listed for the Debut Dagger in the UK. In 2009 MARGARITA NIGHTS was shortlisted for best first novel by the Crime Writer’s of Canada. In 2010, Good Morning America named the Sherri Travis mysteries as one of the top six series for a summer read. Smallman worked in a library and as a potter before turning to a life of crime. Depending on the time of year she can be found on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia or Manasota Beach, Florida.


  1. Thanks, Phyllis. I'm laughing already.Looking forward to your panel.

  2. Your books are hilarious, Phyllis. You can't help being funny. Can't wait for the panel and Bloody Words in total.

  3. I certainly understand why you were asked to join the panel. What fun!