Ooops! I Did It Again...
It was all just supposed to be fun. Nobody's eye was supposed to be put out.
Or, er, left out.
I've been a fan of MYSTERY SCENE for years. Back in the eighties, when I hadn't even heard of Bouchercon and the existence of mystery bookstores seemed more like a cruel rumour more than anything. issues of MS were hard to come by, particularly in Montreal, but every now and then I'd stumble over a copy (in a magazine store or while visiting my sis in Toronto) and snatch it up. Believe me, I read and re-read those things from cover to cover.
It was in the pages of MYSTERY SCENE that my understanding of the possibilities of crime fiction and crime fiction fandom first took wing, as I discovered that there were other people out there, even writers I'd actually heard of, who were every bit as passionate (and possibly anal) as I was. But, of course, far more articulate.
Naturally, the magazine's founders, Robert Randisi and Ed Gorman were there, but also along for the ride were regular contributors like uber-fan Max Allan Collins, Peter Sellers (who did a regular column on Canadian crime fiction) and Jan Grape who covered the P.I. beat back when the internet was only some geek's wet dream. And a cast of thousands.
These people were huge influences on me, and subsequently on the THRILLING DETECTIVE WEB SITE. And when Kate and Brian, who took over the reins a few years ago, invited me to do a P.I. column and an occasional article, I was over the moon.
In other words, I owe those guys. All of them. Big time. So naturally I wanted to help make the 100th issue of MYSTERY SCENE special. Or more special, I guess.
Kate had some great ideas to mark the occasion, and I figured a list of some of my favourite eyes that had taken the stage since the magazine first appeared, way back in 1985 (the "Mystery Scene era," I called it) would be sorta fun. I asked her what she thought.
"Go ahead," Kate said. Somebody should have stopped me then.
The problem, as Bob Seger once put it, was deciding what to leave in, and what to leave out. I wanted the list to be wide-ranging, including the expected, the unexpected and the inexplicable, a list of eyes whom I felt had somehow bent, folded and mutilated the genre –or otherwise stuck in my craw.
But I've been kicking myself ever since I first sent it off. How could I forget so-and-so? Why on earth did I include whatzizname? Why, why, why?
But worse are the other people -- authors, fans, readers, many of whom I consider friends -- who have volunteered to help out in the kicking department. And in some cases, I agree with them.
I dunno. It was an informal list, not meant to be definitive or anything, more a sort of mix-tape of personal faves than anything.
If you'd like to see the complete list, along with my pithy (and in some cases just pissy) comments, it's over on MYSTERY SCENE's new blog. I'd love to hear what YOU think...
Don't worry. I'm a big boy. I can take it.