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No mystery about it

Many Suffolk residents are familiar with and have come to love the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts. The facility holds a variety of great visual and performing arts events through the year, and it hosts workshops and classes designed for everyone from home chefs to dancers to steel pan drummers.

But the Suffolk Center is still a gem waiting to be discovered by the wider world.

An event last weekend could be on the way to making the Suffolk Center more widely known and, as a welcome side note, giving the city a new tourist draw in the process.

The Suffolk Mystery Authors Festival, held for the fourth year on Saturday, attracted about 500 authors and their readers for a day of workshops, book signings and sales, and many of those 500 people were here from out of town.

Those who attended had the chance to meet some of their favorite regional authors, get tips on writing mysteries and maybe even find a new author or two whose work they will check out. This year, they were also able to participate in a murder mystery and figure out the culprit.

Officials said they were expecting people to attend from all over Hampton Roads, along with Richmond, Williamsburg, North Carolina and Washington, D.C.

This is just the type of event Suffolk needs to attract visitors. It’s something that isn’t widely done elsewhere in the region. It takes advantage of a great space that people love to discover. And it has the benefit of repeatability — just because someone came one year doesn’t mean they won’t find something new to attract them the next.

Congratulations to the folks at Suffolk Tourism for developing this fine program and to the staff at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts for hosting it so well.

We look forward to seeing the Suffolk Mystery Authors Festival continue to grow.