Mystery authors’ event set

Published 9:00 pm Monday, November 3, 2014

A dozen bestselling authors will converge on Suffolk this weekend for the first Mystery Authors Festival at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts.

Organized by the Suffolk Division of Tourism, the festival will include book signings, workshops, author readings, a moderated author panel discussion and an informal closing reception.

Katie Kelley with the Tourism Division said Saturday’s event will be a fun and informative pastime for anyone, not just mystery fans.

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“It’s kind of fun to think about how they got from normal, everyday people to bestselling authors,” Kelley said.

The participating authors include Ellery Adams, Mollie Cox Bryan, Mary Burton, Erika Chase, Vicki Delany (who also writes as Eva Gates), Annie Knox (who also writes as Wendy Lyn Watson), Linda O. Johnston, Joyce and Jim Lavene (who also write as J.J. Cook and Ellie Grant), Amanda Lee (who also writes as Gayle Trent), Maggie Sefton and LynDee Walker.

Most of the authors write in the “cozy mystery” sub-genre, in which Agatha Christie is probably the most famous writer.

“Even if you’re not a big mystery fan, these are not very taxing on the brain,” Kelley said. “They’re fun little palate cleaners. You just feel good after you read them.”

The “cozy mystery” sub-genre is set apart by several general characteristics, according to the Tourism Division. The detective is usually an amateur, a well-educated woman who holds a job that brings her into constant contact with other residents of the town. The crime — usually by a relatively bloodless method such as poisoning — takes place in a small, socially intimate community. The detective, dismissed by authorities as a busybody, is left free to eavesdrop, gather clues and use her intelligence and feel for the social dynamics of the community to solve the crime. A strong thematic element introduced by the detective’s job or hobby is a frequent occurrence.

It will be one of the many sub-genres discussed in one of the workshops, which breaks down the many different mystery sub-genres.

Other workshop topics include history of the mystery genre, anatomy of a mystery novel, getting novels ready for editors and agents and do’s and don’ts for querying agents.

Kelley said she has gotten to know several of the authors well in the process of planning the event.

“The people that are coming are really fun people,” she said. “I think it’s going to be good for everybody.”

The event is free and lasts from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the arts center, 110 W. Finney Ave. However, visitors need not stay the entire time.

“It’s very casual,” Kelley said. “It’s not one of those things where you have to stay the whole day.”

For more information and the schedule, visit or call 514-4131.