The other big mystery event of the week

Starting at 4 PM today, The Mystery Lovers’ Bookshop in Oakmont, PA kicks off its 11th annual Festival of Mystery, and Regis Behe offers up a preview in the weekend edition of the Tribune-Review.

This year brings 19 festival neophytes, including Nancy Pickard, the

author of the Jenny Cain mystery series. Pickard, who has served on the

board of the Mystery Writers of America, has visited the Oakmont

bookshop on solo book tours. She’s been impressed by the breadth of

Mary Alice Gorman’s knowledge and devotion to the genre.

“I’ve never heard of anything that’s this ambitious and that

has continued for so long, “ Pickard says of the festival, now in its

11th year.

What differentiates Mystery Lovers’ gathering is its unusual setup.

Each of the authors is interviewed by either Gorman or her partner,

Richard Goldman. The writers are also available for autographs,

questions or just chit-chat with the public. Gorman thinks this

availability — she’s not aware of any other mystery conclave that has

a similar format — is part of the reason why writers and their

publicists covet spots at the festival.

And because a new crop of writers tend to come out for the festival each year, chances are likely you can spot the genre’s next big star.

“Our customers depend on us to come up with what’s interesting and new and what’s fresh,” Gorman says, and that’s a statement worth agreeing with.