As the good Carter said tonight, sometimes it's good to hear someone you've known socially do a formal talk and Q&A about what they do, because you get to ask them questions that wouldn't just come up in regular conversation.
Tonight, Alan J. Porter was speaking and signing books at lit. on fire used books down the road (literally) from us, and it was a great chance to pic up his latest Sherlockian effort, "The Case of the Rotten Corpse" in Sherlock Holmes, Consulting Detective, Volume 7. T'were my wallet a little fatter this week, I might have picked up his Allen Quartermain novelette as well, and maybe that Beatles book he did (which sounded unique enough that even a non-fan like myself might be interested). But it was still a great time, even if one couldn't do all of the shopping one might have.
Well, just as Holmes said "it is always a joy to meet an American," I would say, "it is always a joy to hear a writer talk about their craft." Alan is the sort of writer who loves to dive into his research, and having played in the Victorian history fields of Sherlock Holmes, I can relate to that impulse completely. Sherlock Holmes is a great one to write about if you like following trails through history, but also, as Alan pointed out, a real challenge as well, since . . . well, he's Sherlock Holmes. He has to solve some pretty tough mysteries.
There were a few Sherlockian I can think of whom I wished were along tonight as Alan spoke of writing about the Beatles' teenage years, writing for comics, and finding mysteries for Holmes to solve -- I've noticed some overlap in fans of those subjects over the years. Or maybe it's just that the Beatles and comics have so many fans that there's bound to be some overlap with Holmes. (And they probably fit better than Rolling Stones and garden magazines with the detective.)
In any case, it was a lovely evening out, of a sort we don't seem to get nearly enough of here in this Illinois river city. Now to sit down and read Alan's latest.