Mystery coming to Suffolk this fall

Published 10:49 pm Friday, July 11, 2014

Literature will be front and center in Suffolk this fall with a gallery display focusing on re-imagined classics and a “cozy mystery” authors’ festival that is sure to delight lovers of the sub-genre.

The Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts, Suffolk Public Library and Suffolk Division of Tourism are collaborating on the events.

“It should be very interesting,” said Pat Eelman, who works at Jester’s Gift Shop in the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts. Jester’s is helping coordinate the “Mystery of a Masterpiece” show at the center.

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On display from Sept. 12 to Nov. 8, the show invites artists to re-interpret book covers. A list of 100 titles, ranging from classics to contemporary bestsellers, is available from which to choose. Artists will pick up to two works on a first-come, first-served basis.

“Artists will be able to come up with their own creation as it applies to the book that they’ve picked,” Eelman said.

Ten titles already are taken, Eelman said. They include “The Old Man and the Sea,” “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “Alice in Wonderland.”

But that leaves 90 books still available, and they range from William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” to J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” There are children’s classics — “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “Where the Sidewalk Ends”; memoirs — “Tuesdays with Morrie” and “Marley and Me”; great American novels — “Gone with the Wind” and “Grapes of Wrath”; world literature — “All Quiet on the Western Front” and “Out of Africa”; and dozens more titles.

In keeping with the “mysterious” theme, the list includes a heavy dose of all types of mysteries and ethereal themes, from the “Boxcar Children” series to “Frankenstein,” “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” “Carrie,” “Interview with the Vampire” and “The Woman in White.” Also on the list are “Dracula” and “The Raven,” but sadly for artists with plenty of black paint sitting around, they’re already taken.

Artists who want to participate in the show must turn in their work by Aug. 28-29, so there’s only about a month and a half left to create the work. Any medium, including three-dimensional, is welcome. A “Best in Show” ribbon will be awarded by a panel of jurors.

An opening reception will be held Sept. 11 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the center. It will be on display from Sept. 12 to Nov. 8.

Together with the closing of the gallery exhibit, a daylong festival featuring nine bestselling authors, mostly writers of the “cozy mystery” sub-genre, will be held at the center from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Nov. 8. The authors will participate in book signings, meet and greet fans and do readings. A workshop on how to become a mystery author and a moderated author panel discussion will take place.

Featured authors include Ellery Adams; Maggie Sefton; LynDee Walker; Melissa Bourbon; Wendy Lyn Watson (who also writes as Annie Knox); Mary Burton; Gayle Trent (who also writes as Amanda Lee); Mollie Cox Bryan; and Joyce and Jim Lavene.

The sub-genre is characterized by its frequent setting in small, socially intimate communities, amateur detectives who are usually women holding jobs that bring them into constant contact with other residents, murders that take place off stage and prominent thematic elements frequently introduced by the detective’s job or hobby, according to Agatha Christie is among the best-known of authors of the “cozies,” as fans call them.

For more information about the exhibit and authors’ festival, call 514-4130. To reserve your title to create an artwork for the show, call 923-0003 or email