Thursday, November 17, 2011


By Paula Matter

*Barry Eisler didn’t look too happy either. However, he did stay in his chair.

What in the world am I talking about, you ask?

After woefully cancelling my registration to this year’s New England Crime Bake con, I became even sadder as the weekend approached.

How could it be that I would miss this fabulous experience? I’ve made the trip to Dedham, MA the past two years for this mystery con. I know many of the attendees, and a lot of them are people I get to see only once a year. My car knows the route. I can drive it in six hours regardless what Mapquest says. I was scheduled to work only one day, and I could easily ask someone to cover half my shift on Saturday morning. If I got on the road by 9:30, I’d have plenty of time.

What could possibly stop me?

Oh. I’d cancelled and they’d been sold out for weeks.


Since one of my mottoes is “It never hurts to ask,” I asked.

They said yes! Well, she said yes. Barb Ross, the wonderful lady in charge of registration, wrote back right away saying attending just the banquet would be no problem.


But it was a costume banquet. Hmmm. Who here does not know how much I love dressing up for costume parties?

That’s right. I simply had to get a costume.

The theme: Sleuths, Spies and Private Eyes. Nothing simple about it since time was limited. I read further down on the Web site page, and there, there it was! A category for “The Best of the Baddies.”

A villain? Oh, hell yeah.

Here's the photo the fabulous Mo Walsh took. Can you tell who I am?

Here’s a hint: When I told Nancy Pickard I was her number one fan, she jumped out of her chair, and tried to hide from me.

 After winning first place (the judges said they were too scared to not declare me the winner!), Hallie Ephron told me I could now call myself an award-winning writer. (Don’t worry. I’m only doing that today for a title.) Full disclosure: While there were many dressed in costumes for the other categories, mystery novelist Vincent H. O’Neil, and I were the only two  “Best of the Baddies.”

If I hadn’t scared the judges, Vinnie had a good shot at winning as Professor Moriarty.

And just to show y'all the judges weren't really scared, here's another photo:

I have to share one more photo with y'all. Nikki Bonanni (on left) won Best Overall and here's why:

                                               Lisbeth Salander, Harriet Vane & Emma Peel

Thanks to everyone at Crime Bake. See you next year!


Ramona said...

Paula, that is hilarious--and scary!

I was sad to miss Crime Bake this year. It's a great con, and great fun. Their banquet night rocks!

Annette said...

Too funny, Paula! But nothing beats your Victim of the Query Shark costume.

Joyce said...

I agree with Annette! VQS!

Vincent H. O'Neil said...

Great costume, Paula -- and actually more than a little scary. I'm not a bit surprised you beat me. Of course, the good Professor never forgets something like this . . . just ask Sherlock Holmes.

Working Stiffs said...

Next year, Ramona! We'll let nothing stop us.


Working Stiffs said...

Annette and Joyce, I loved that costume, too. But remember the sweat? Yuck.

Working Stiffs said...

Hey, Vinnie, glad you stopped by!

Sounds like a challenge, sir. I wonder what Crime Bake will plan for next year's banquet?


C.L. Phillips said...

Awesome! Just awesome!

Jenna said...

Hi, Vinnie! *waves*

Awesome costume, Paula. And I can certainly see why Nancy would be nervous! Congrats on the win, although I have to say I thought Vinnie looked pretty darned good, too.

Working Stiffs said...

Thanks, C.L., and Jenna! It was so much fun.

Y'know, it occurs to me that none of you have actually said who I was. Do y'all know...?

Hallie Ephron said...

You were memorable, Paula! In fact... I may have a hard time forgetting so if I hide under the table next time we meet... Seriously, you were one scary babe stalking that floor wielding the business end of the hammer.

On a side note, Misery is one of my all time favorite books. When I was writing Never Tell a Lie I went right to it to see how he writes first-person from the viewpoint of someone confined to a room. So brilliant.

Patg said...

That's one con I reallllly have to get to some day.
Congrats, Paula.

Working Stiffs said...

Hey, Hallie! You know me, I'll just join you under the table.

Funny. When I want to see how a great writer has done something, you're one of the first I go to.


Working Stiffs said...

Yes, Pat, you should! And, thanks!

Nikki B said...

Paula - it was an honor to share the floor with you -- and yes, even I was kinda was the look in your eyes.... ;) Nikki

A. J. Pompano said...

Oh yeah, that was a scary costume, Paula and you really got into the part. That’s why I made sure I sat on the other side of the table. Vinnie made a great Moriarty too. You two really were the “Best of the Baddies.” Hey, you ARE an award winning author. Didn’t you win the Flashwords contest one year?

Nancy Pickard said...

Still scared speechless!!

Working Stiffs said...

Hey, Nikki! Thanks for stopping by.

Y'all have got to see Nikki's awesome costume. She won Overall Best and deservedly so. I've copied a photo of Nikki, Hank Phillippi Ryan, and Margery Flax and will upload it.


Working Stiffs said...

Ang! You're one of the reasons I love attending Crime Bake. Thanks for letting me be your guest this year.

I won the Flashwords two years in a row. Mo told me had I entered this year, they were gonna ask me to retire so someone else had a shot at winning. I'm still grinning over that!

Working Stiffs said...

Hey, Nancy, thanks for stopping by!

You're okay now -- the scary lady's gone.

Thanks for being such a good sport!