Bouchercon - mecca for lovers of the mystery genre. The conference has fascinated me for years, although it was only this week I realized I've been pronouncing it wrong. Named after Anthony Boucher (1911-1968), an author, reviewer, radio scriptwriter and one of the founders of Mystery Writers of America, the event is pronounced "Bow-cher-con," not "Boo-cher-con." Live and learn. So what is Bouchercon? It's the largest annual meeting in the world for mystery lovers -- sort of a Mysteries R Us. As an avid reader and moderator of B&N's Mystery Book Club, attending this conference for the first time has been like walking into the Garden of Eden in the middle of an apple harvest - temptation is everywhere! It's not as if I need any more mysteries filling my bookcases and TBR pile - but really cool old collector's books don't count, right? They're an investment (at least that's what I'm telling my husband).
I had just graduated from high school when the first Bouchercon was held in Santa Monica in 1970, but I was already a long-time mystery fan by then. THE SECRET OF THE OLD POST BOX thrilled me at age 8, Nancy Drew left me breathless at age 9, my Mom's old Beverly Gray books lured me at age 12 and when I read FUNERALS ARE FATAL by Agatha Christie at age 15, I knew I was a fan for life. I still can't figure out why someone like me - mild-mannered, boringly normal - is so addicted to mayhem and murder. It's, um, a mystery.
I've been hearing about Bouchercon since its early days, because a good friend of my dad's has attended just about every one. His stories are legend in our family, and now I've finally met uber-fan Tony Del Vecchio and his wife Betsy. I've been reading Tony's quarterly book and movie reviews for years, and I have him to thank for introducing me to many then-unknown authors who are now favorites (and best sellers).
Neil Armstrong said, "Mystery creates wonder and wonder is the basis of man's desire to understand." Me? I just wanted to see if I could figure out "whodunnit" before the end of the book. Still do, although now my tastes are a lot broader, and my list of favorite authors who write mystery, suspense, romantic suspense, noir, police procedurals, thrillers and all the other sub-genres of mystery could fill a book.
Bouchercon is paradise to a mystery geek like me - now that I've taken a bite of this apple, I know I'll be back for more. The dark side has me in its clutches -- oh yeah, I'm in the zone. The Mystery Zone.