Dying to know . . .

by Pari

I’m on an airplane today, winding my way back from Birmingham, Alabama and one of the best little ol’ mystery conventions around: Murder in the Magic City.

Since the day will be filled with plasticine food, overhead announcements and no computer — for me at least — I thought it’d be fun to open up the discussion. Usually, I stimulate the repartee with a strong lead-in, but today, I’m hoping that the two-part query below will really be enough . . .

If you could talk with any mystery writer — alive or dead — and ask a single question, what would it be? (and why?)

Come on . . . don’t be shy. Let’s get a cool conversation going here. I’ll try to check in before I check out of the hotel. 

25 thoughts on “Dying to know . . .

  1. pari

    I’m at the Drury Inn in Birmingham and wanted to check in to say “hi.”

    I love these questions so far!!! Tomorrow, I’ll read them all.

    My question is kind of weird. I’ve been thinking about Barbara Seranella lately . . .

    So, I’d ask her, “How are you doing right now?”

  2. Tom Barclay

    Time to block that IP address.

    I’d want to ask John D. MacDonald about how Travis would do later on as a father and family guy . . . I wonder how Travis and Meyer would do with life in the digital age?

  3. mystery

    I think JT is showing her ignorance of the publishing industry. Or maybe she’s just been working too hard on her book.

    I’m rather surprised Murderati writers aren’t on board PLBW. Well, we know at least two of them are, the others are just young.

    At least I hope that’s what it is.

    Try checking out some more informed blogs and you’ll get your answers.

  4. David J. Montgomery

    I’d definitely want to talk to Ross Thomas. Just one question would be hard, though… Maybe “What are Quincy Durant and Artie Wu up to these days?”

    People at Love Is Murder kept talking about PLBW, but nobody would tell me what it is. Must be something only the cool kids know about. (I just had a flashback to high school…Funny, but I don’t miss those days.)

    Safe travels, Pari!

  5. guyot

    From what I’ve gathered, the whole PLBW thing is a promo from some big namer author’s new book or series coming out.

    People at LIM knew about it – there were buttons and posters, etc. – but I couldn’t find out the real name behind it.

    I think it’s a Random House author, seeing as how those were the authors talking most about it.

  6. G. T. Karber

    Agatha Christie: Where did you go those couple of days when you just up and disappeared, because I know your whole “black out” story is bullshit? It was a publicity stunt, wasn’t it?

  7. Naomi

    Chester Himes: What did you really think about creating Gravedigger Jones and Coffin Ed? I know that you got into detective stories on a challenge and/or for money, but did those characters and stories become more significant to you as you went along?

    Black Dahlia: Who did it?

  8. j.t. ellison

    I appreciate your input, “mystery,” and readily admit to being hopelessly ignorant about the publishing industry, learning as I go. Certainly don’t need you to tell me that.

    But let us in on the big secret, already. Buzz is a wonderful thing until it’s overdone.

  9. j.t. ellison

    PLBW – Parents Little Book of Wisdom, Buck Tilton & Melissa Gray, ICS Books.

    From the authors’ experiences raising the best little boy in the whole wide world. Great advice for every Akela.

  10. Mike MacLean

    Whoever it was buzzing that PLBW book was incredibly rude and smug. Don’t think I’ll be buying it anytime soon (and yes “mystery” I am the book’s target audience)

    I’d ask Elmore Leonard how to stay so friggin’ cool into your 80s.

  11. Tom, T.O.

    I would ask all the lady authors (“lady” as in “female”) why they didn’t use me as the archetype for their stud muffins.

    As to rude, smug, and arrogant “mystery”:I could care less about PLWB and wouldn’t buy it now even if it were by a Murderati!

    Safe trip, Pari.

  12. Naomi

    BTW, PLBW–

    I don’t get it. And if it’s indeed what JT says it’s about, why promote in the mystery community? Our crowd is more interested in “killing” and “maiming” rather than “raising.”

  13. pari noskin taichert

    Oh, my, this is quite interesting. Here we were going along asking our favorite mystery writers questions when someone comes in an tries to promote.

    It’s kind of like those people on MySpace who create these huge graphics to add to any comments they supply. There’s something kind of tacky about hijacking a post for one’s own purposes.

    Still, though, I love the questions! I wish I’d been here to respond to every single one because I bet even more people would have participated — shared.

    But, thank you to all who did. I made it back from Alabama and have a small breather before the next trip.

    It’s wonderful to be home.

  14. pari noskin taichert

    Here’s a question for Tony Hillerman — I could actually ask him and I bet he’d laugh:

    What do you think your books would have been like if you’d taken that editor’s advice and gotten rid of “all that Indian stuff?”


  15. Zoe Sharp

    Very slow coming to this one because … that’s just the way my brain works. Glad someone explained the PLBW thing. I had one in the comments section of my last blog and failed to understand it at all – I thought it was just a form of internet tourettes.

    It never ceases to amaze me that people will say things hiding behind a nom de plume that they would never dare say to your face. We have a name for it: “keyboard heroes”.

    Anyway, I digress. The real reason for the post is because I finally thought of the author I’d like to talk to – any time period, right? Can I go and talk to myself thirty years down the line, just to see if I ever felt I got it right?


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