In The Writer's World

A very exciting book signing is coming up this Sunday at Murder By The Book, 3210 SE Hawthorne, Portland. At 1 p.m. British mystery writer Carola Dunn (she lives in Eugene these days) and I are signing books. In honor of Emma, wine and “cheesy bits” will be served. Ms. Dunn has more than twenty mysteries to her credit; I have but one, and counting.

The “cheesy bits” Emma serves at the Westerly is my homage to the late John Mortimer, who penned the “Rumpole of the Bailey” novels that the Brits made into a television series of the same name. We watched them on PBS “Mystery” years ago. Rumpole’s wife Hilda often was visited by her old school chum Dodo MacIntyre. Dodo was a pain in Rumpole’s life because when she visited she inevitably made uncomplimentary remarks about Rumpole’s “naughty tummy”.  Hilda madeDodo’s cheesy bits for all the social functions at Rumpole’s chambers, and I get the impression from Rumpole’s expression each time they were mentioned that they were ghastly.

A great deal of what I enjoy about mysteries are the little details, the jokes. And these come from the characters. And I digress. To me, Sherlock Holmes’s words, “The game is afoot,” are tantalizing; likewise, in Elizabeth George’s wonderful mysteries she pays Sir Arthur Conan Doyle tribute when her character Tommy Lynley says “The game is afoot” to Sgt. Havers.

Mysteries may or may not be literary. Some are, some aren’t. I love them whether or no. Which brings us back to Murder By The Book. How wonderful to have a bookstore devoted to murder most foul. Please join us on Sunday and see this wonderfulPortland fixture for yourself. Oh, and if you have an unsigned copy of An Unholy Alliance bring it with you and I will sign it and you can taste for yourself Emma’s version of the “cheesy bits”. They are delicious!

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