Sunday, March 15, 2009

A week of mystery

Last week I attended my first book event in a bar, learned from experts from the Boston Police Department ballistics lab how to make a gun and bullets nearly untraceable, and found out my award-winning mystery short story "Mercy 101" will be read aloud over the radio waves and available as a "podcast."

I wish every week had this much mystery in it.

The book reading and signing in a bar was a novel experience, literally. It's part of a new series launched by my local independent bookstore, RiverRun, and it brought Jedediah Berry to town to read from his unusual book, "The Manual of Detection," which the Boston Globe has described as "surreal, absurd and cerebral." The intimate Red Door lounge/martini bar, which was otherwise empty on a Tuesday night, offered drinks with names related to the book, while music appropriate to the novel played in the background. After the reading, there was a musical interlude so the small audience could chat over drinks with Berry and submit questions to be posed later, with prizes awarded for the top entries.

The next night Husband No. 1 and I headed to Brookline, Mass., for a Mystery Writers of New England meeting featuring two experts from the Boston PD Ballistics Lab. Here are just a few of the interesting things we learned:

  • The best way to make it difficult, if not impossible, to trace a bullet is to hide the corpse for a while -- the markings on the bullet continue to fade the longer it's in the body;
  • It costs about $400 to buy any type of illegal gun on the streets of Boston; and
  • More revolvers are used in Boston than any city other than Las Vegas because of so many small manufacturers in the area over the years.
  • (I can't say anymore about how to make a gun untraceable because 1) I don't want to give you ideas and 2) I want to surprise you with the information in my story or book.)

Meanwhile, "Mercy 101" is scheduled to be read aloud Tuesday on a radio program called Lit103.3, "fiction for the ears," in Northampton, Mass., but it also is available anytime on the web site in podcast form or can be heard online by pushing the black arrow that comes up on this page. Although the program is about an hour long, the intro and story, itself, only last about 35 minutes. I couldn't wait to hear how the story, which won the 2007 award for best New England crime short story, sounded when someone else read it aloud. "Mercy 101" and its characters have been inside my head for so long that it was odd, but wonderful, to hear it in someone else's voice. This is my first podcast. Can Hollywood be far behind?

One can only hope....


Glimmer said...

Husband No. 1 finding out particulars of illegal gun buying disturbs me a little bit. I remember the noose he presented me with for a birthday one year on good ole 14th Street. Sound familiar? Uh huh....


Anonymous said...

I am not sure you and No.1 Husband need such deadly information; it is a little scary...