"aided by the diary I kept" [HOUN]
Sherlock Holmes for Dummies had the honor of being nominated for both an Edgar Award, and an Agatha Award for non-fiction mystery book of the year. What follows is a brief diary of my recent, amazing trip to both the Edgar Awards in New York City, and the Agatha Awards at the Malice Domestic Convention in Bethesda, Maryland. For a more exciting, as-it-happened account, see the video embedded below.
"You remind me of Edgar..."[STUD]Wednesday, April 27
10:45 a.m.: My wife Pam and I departed for NY without incident from the Indianapolis Airport, unless you factor in the extra security screening Pam got because she had a tissue in her pants pocket. Really? Knowing no one can hijack the plane with a tissue now is a big comfort.
1:00 p.m.: All checked into our mid-town hotel, and just heading over to a favorite diner Sherlockians while in New York, The Red Flame. Wow! It’s been remodeled (again), inside and out. It’s nice, but I’m kinda missing the old Flame.
7:30 p.m.: After an afternoon of goofing off, it’s time for dinner at the Oyster Bar at Grand Central with Pam’s brothers and their families. They are attending the Edgar Awards with us, offering moral support. That is really great!
Thursday, April 28
6:30 p.m.: What a day. First the 9/11 museum at Ground Zero on a cold, rainy day. Very sobering (and coincidentally just three days before they caught Bin Laden). But now, it’s time for the Nominee Reception at the Grand Hyatt for the Edgars. Feeling at first a bit like the guy who crashed the party, but soon I’m pinching myself as Pam and I stand there chatting away with mystery fiction icons Sarah Peretsky, and then Mary Higgins Clark. Unbelievable.
7:30 p.m.: After seeing many Sherlockian friends [Les Klinger, Dan Stashower, Peter Crupe, Lindsay Faye] it is awards time. I’m at the Wiley Publishing table, with my family and the gang from Wiley. Alas, Sherlock Holmes for Dummies lost to the Charlie Chan book...oh, well! It is still an unbelievable experience.
11:00 p.m.: Sitting in an Irish pub [Patrick Conway's] ’round the corner from Grand Central Station with my family, celebrating the experience. Hooray! On to the Agathas!
"I met Agatha..." [CHAS]Friday, April 29
11:30 a.m.: Pam and I depart from Penn Station for Washington. DC via Amtrak. Wow...that train station is insane ["...and lead us not into Penn Station"? -Ed.]. We arrive in DC, catch a cab to the Hyatt Regency in Bethesda, and check in. My brother Patrick, an antiquarian bookseller, arrives from Indiana to accompany us on this leg of the adventure.
4:00 p.m.: I register us, and then dash down to the opening ceremony of Malice Domestic, the convention that is giving out the Agatha Awards. I can see right away that the audience, which is 90% women, is not Sherlock’s crowd.
7:00 p.m.: All the Sherlockians on hand gather for dinner in the hotel restaurant. Peter Blau and Bev Wolov, Dan Stashower, Julie McKuras, and us. Really, it is these moments that make these events truly memorable.
Saturday, April 30
All Day: The day is made up of sessions, books signings, panel discussions, and shopping in the dealers room. I participate in a panel discussion with all the non-fiction authors who are nominated, and follow it up with a book signing. It’s a lot of fun! Along the way we meet many, many more authors, including Sue Grafton and Carol Nelson Douglas. What a great day!
7:00 p.m.: The Agatha Awards Banquet arrives. Wow. For those who think the BSI Dinner is big, they should experience a 500-seat banquet! Unbelievable (and for my taste, too big…) Alas, Sherlock lost out to The Secret Diaries of Agatha Christie, as I knew it would. There’s no way a book on Agatha Christie is going to lose an award named after Agatha Christie. But no hard feelings, as once again it was a fantastic experience and great fun.
Here's the whirlwind tour in video:
Well, the next day we headed home, back to real life, but still savoring the amazing, amazing experiences we had. Sherlock Holmes for Dummies has been out almost exactly a year...and what a year it has been. And what a way to conclude the promotion of the book. Thanks to everyone who bought a copy! If you'd like to keep following our adventures, please join us on the Sherlock Holmes for Dummies Facebook page.
Postscript: Sherlock Holmes for Dummies was nominated for the coveted Anthony Award, which are given at the annual Bouchercon World Mystery Convention, which for this year will be in St. Louis in September.
Editor's note: This column is part of a series called "From the Dummy's Chair" [MAZA] by Steven Doyle, BSI ("The 'Western Morning News'"), author of the Edgar-nominated Sherlock Holmes for Dummies. Because of the limitations in the print world, he wasn't able to completely fit everything he wanted into the book. This series will become a real-time continuation of that labor of love. Steve is also half the team behind the Wessex Press.