All of this would mean nothing if along the way I had not made friendships that bond. An example of that is that Ted Hertel and I who were friends and fellow mystery aficionados when we decided to work on Eyecon'95. Ted was the vice-chair of that event and we had a blast. Going into that con we said if we were still friends afterward we would consider hosting the world mystery convention. What we discovered is that we were better friends after Eyecon'95, went on to have a marvelous time hosting the world in 1999 and we are still best friends.
I will be the first to admit that one of the charms of being a dedicated crime fiction fan is meeting the authors of the books that I so enjoy. For twenty years I attended the conferences like Bouchercon, Left Coast Crime Conference, Magna Cum Murder, Murder and Mayhem, Mystery Writers of America workshops and other events. This meant a lot of repetition so that the authors would see my face a lot, making it easy for me to becomes "friends" with the creators.
Photo credit: Paul Chaffee
One of those authors is Indianapolis author Terence Faherty (http://www.terencefaherty.com). Terry is New Jersey born but migrated to the Midwest as a technical writer in the early '80s. His career as a crime fiction writer began with the publication of the short story "As My Wimsey Takes Me," collected in First Culprit (Chatto & Windus, 1992).
Terry is the author of two great crime fiction series. The first is the Owen Keane series.
Deadstick, St. Martin's Press, 1991
Live to Regret, St. Martin's Press, 1992
The Lost Keats, St. Martin's Press, 1993
Die Dreaming, St. Martin's Press, 1994
Prove the Nameless, St. Martin's Press, 1996
The Ordained, St. Martin's Press, 1997
Orion Rising, St. Martin's Press, 1999
The Confessions of Owen Keane, Crippen & Landru, 2004
Eastward in Eden, The Mystery Company, 2013
Owen is described by the author as a failed seminarian turned amateur sleuth. What I have always said is that this series pushed from just entertainment into literary contribution to crime writing. There is an elegance to Terry's writing that guides the reader's eye and the reader's mind. These are novels of philosophy as well as detection.
Being a fan of Hollywood, film noir and movies in general, Terry's second series is a movie fan boy's dream. This series features a Hollywood fixer named Scott Elliott.
Kill Me Again, Simon & Schuster, 1996
Come Back Dead, Simon & Schuster, 1997
Raise the Devil, St. Martin's Press, 2000
In a Teapot, The Mystery Company, 2005
Dance in the Dark, Five Star, 2011
The Hollywood Op, Perfect Crime, 2011
Play a Cold Hand. Perfect Crime, 2017.
Besides all the great Hollywood news and trivia buried within the stories, each one is a tale of trust because Scott works for a boss who only shares what he wants to, often leaving our hero in a quandary as to what is the right path to take. These are also love stories as the relationship between Scott and his gal Ella are complex and moving.
That leads to the point of this blog: the last Scott Elliott novel, Play a Cold Hand, has this dedication:
For Ted Fitzgerald, Ted Hertel Jr., and Gary Warren Niebuhr
Ted Hertel Jr. (Ted the Elder) is my best friend.
Me? I am a guy who often wonders about all the cool things that have happened to me during my life--this being one of them. I wanted to say thanks in a special and unique way so I looked at my "new"hobby for the answer.
Since setting aside crime fiction fandom to become a found object assemblage artist, I have been studying with artist Michael deMeng (http://www.michaeldemeng.com) since 2007. As life would have it, Michael began a series of pieces about Edgar Allan Poe in 2018.
What cracked me up was how much Micheal's work echoed the Edgar, or the annual award given by the Mystery Writers of America which is crime fictions equivalent of the Oscar.
So, the three amigos decided to commission Michael deMeng to make a thank you to Terry for his dedication to us.
I began talking about friendships and how much they mean to me. To have my crime fiction fandom friendships intersect with my assemblage friendships means to much to me. So I will end with my own thanks:
To Terry, for being a great writer and sharing your art with me
To Michael, for being a great artist and sharing your art with me and Terry
To Ted the Younger, for just being you
To Ted the Elder, for always having me back.
The Poe as it rest in Indiana among Terry's other awards