In keeping with reality I proved that I am indeed a crime fiction nerd by being the first guest (along with my husband) to arrive at Thursday night’s Noir at the Bar – Toronto. It was quite early, yes I know embarrassing.
Once checking with the barkeep that food was available to be ordered along with our beverage of choice (Smithwicks) we moved further inside to be warmly greeted by Tanis Mallow. We then found our seats in a perfect observation spot for the evening.
As we dug into our chicken curry Rob Brunet struck up a conversation and we talked books, authors and social media. A great way to enjoy dinner and a brew as far as I’m concerned.
The clock neared 7pm and the room began to fill. Authors and friends arrived and there were many enthusiastic greetings. It was shaping up to be a quite an evening when Howard Shrier and his lovely lady Harriet shared our table.
This began another discussion, that there are many books and many reasonably good books, but few books that fully engage and transport the reader. Authors and readers can become quite stingy with their reading time.
The time arrived, Tanis and Rob gave heartfelt greetings, introductions and then the readings began. Over the next few hours we were blissfully beguiled and bewitched as each author presented their work, using atmospheric tension, humour and cliff hangers.
Watching published authors listening to other published writers was fascinating. Some were still and intent and others fidgeted knowing they were up next. Presenting in front of your peers (some for the first time) is never easy.
Was there nervousness, tension and anxiety? Yes. Perhaps there was even some rivalry in the room. Who knows, but what was obvious was unparalleled support, affection and respect.
Suddenly it was over and those of us who had won books in the drawings proudly clutched the signed copies. I walked away with Hilary Davidson’s Evil in all its Disguises and a lively chat about business travel.
Noir at the Bar will be back again in Toronto sometime this summer – stay tuned.
Frank de Blasé