We've been reading a lot about last week's Bloody Words on Mystery Maven Canada and I agree with everything that's been said. It was a wonderful conference – beautifully organized and full of fun and laughter and opportunities to meet and exchange ideas. I enjoyed every minute of it and can hardly wait for the next one to take place in Toronto, June 1-3, 2012.
But for me, that's simply too far in the future. I need to satisfy my craving to get together with like-minded writers and readers before a whole year goes by. Luckily, there's another opportunity coming up soon. Scene of the Crime Festival will be held on Wolfe Island, the largest of the Thousand Islands, on Saturday, August 13.
A couple of years ago one of the guest authors referred to it as a tiny, perfect mystery festival and I think that just about captures it. Wolfe Island is a free twenty-minute ferry ride from Kingston, Ontario but when you step off the boat it feels as though you might have time-travelled back fifty years. Quaint gingerbread houses line the streets of Marysville, the only village on the island. People say hello to you as you wander along and last year one local gentleman actually tipped his hat to me.
The number of festival registrants must be limited each year because the venues are small. Two charming churches, built around the turn of the last century to meet the needs of an island-sized population, provide the meeting and meal spaces.
And speaking of meals - they are delicious. Sixty-five dollars buys you your festival pass as well as the meet-and-greet coffee and muffins event overlooking Lake Ontario in the morning and a substantial lunch and church supper at the end of the day. And keep your forks, folks, because there's always home-made pie!
August 13th will be a day full of panel discussions, readings, book signings, lectures, awards and plenty of food. This year's Grant Allan Award winner is Maureen Jennings, author of the William Murdoch Series (and T.V.'s Murdoch Mysteries.) Guest authors are Elizabeth Duncan, C.B. Forrest, R.J. Harlick, and Howard Shrier. These are by no means the only authors coming to the festival though. Many of us come back year after year, just to experience the fun of a day on the island with other writers and readers of mystery fiction.
Check out the Scene of the Crime Website (www.sceneofthecrime.ca) and sign up if you can. You won't regret it!
Sue Pike has published a couple of dozen stories and won several awards including an Arthur Ellis Award for Best Short Crime Story. Her latest, Where the Snow Lay Dinted appeared in the January issue of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine.
Sue and her husband and an opinionated Australian Shepherd named Cooper spend the winter months in Ottawa and the rest of the time at a mysterious cottage on the Rideau Lakes.