|Connie Dial and Bob on Saturday|
I live just three blocks from the Empire Plaza and the Egg (the Hart Theatre) and the euphemistically named Convention Center underneath it—beneath the four-square blocks of stone pavement known grandly as the ‘Empire Plaza’ (In the finest tradition of the Egyptian Pyramids, a memorial to its builder, the dead New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller, who wiped out an untold number of neighborhoods, homes and mom-and-pop stores to leave us it.) If I sound cranky, it’s from humping up and back on my cane between the Great Book Room and the seven Lecture Rooms on the rolling institutional expanse of the Convention Center floor, looking like nothing so much as a Giant Underground Parking Garage. If you made the mistake of coming in from the Madison Avenue entrance as I did, you had a half-mile trek ahead of you. And the only watering holes along the route were McDonald’s-class. You couldn’t get a decent meal in The Hole and you had to be a long-distance race walker to find help above ground on the streets of Albany. If they’d asked me, I’d have told them: Albany’s a pretty piece of architectural history, and just as dead. Unless you’re driving.
Okay, I got that off my chest. Yes, I had a good time with my companions in the mystery field as my fellow-blogger Thelma Straw predicted. I had the most fun putting faces to the names I’ve long known; some good talks with PI writers; and a really fine nuts-and-bolts panel of women—Laura Lippman, Megan Abbott, Jennifer McMahon and Moderator Clair Lamb—discussing the likes of unreliable narrators and shifting points-of-view in their novels.
And, of course, my own panel, Law Enforcement & Fiction. We were three ex-cop novelists with 77 years of policing among us: Moderator Colin Campbell, 30 years on the streets of Leeds, in West Yorkshire, England; Captain Connie Dial, 27 years in the LAPD; myself, with 20 years in the NYPD. That Saturday was my best day. It ended with lunch at Albany Pump Station (reached by car) with old friends, P.M. Carlson and Annamaria Alfieri (a/k/a Patricia King), whom I met in the writers group we formed 27 years ago in Manhattan and worked away happily in for years.
On second thought, forget all my bellyaching. (Old people are allowed to be grouchy, right?) I have this Bouchercon to thank for a good couple of days among friends.
© 2013 Robert Knightly