Spring in the States
Malice Domestic is a convention, based in Bethesda Maryland, devoted to traditional mysteries. Over the years I've made great friends there and it feels like a family reunion each time I go. This year was a bit different though, and very special, because I was at Malice with Brenda Blethyn, aka Vera Stanhope. The convention had given her a Poirot Award and she'd agreed to go to collect it in person. From the welcome cocktail party to the final Agatha tea, we all had a ball. It was terrific to see the affection for the character I created almost twenty years ago, and Brenda was, as we knew she would be, generous, funny and insightful. Thanks to the Malice Board and to all the participants who made us so welcome. And to the Minotaur team and my UK publicist Maura Wilding who made a very hectic schedule run so smoothly.
Malice was special too, because it saw the return of Canadian writer Louise Penny, following the death of her beloved husband, Michael. We live an ocean apart, but Louise and I have become good friends and when my husband died at the end of last year, Louise was there to support me. She has a huge readership in the US - her books regularly top the New York Times Bestseller list - so when she suggested that I join her for two events in Washington DC and NYC, I knew we'd have a great audience. And so we did, not just in numbers but in the warmth of the response.
Louise's generosity extended to including me in her circle of friends, and I'll remember those informal post-event dinners, the laughter and the gossip, long after I've forgotten the details of the tour. I stayed in her beautiful apartment and the morning of my departure, we walked in Central Park. The first glorious day of the spring. Sunshine and friendship. A trip to treasure.