Theresa Schwegel and Megan Abbot brought their road show to M is for Mystery in San Mateo this evening. Last year they competed to win the Edgar for best first novel. Theresa won and that might have laid the groundwork for a feud. But last fall they were both nominated for an Anthony. Neither won that time, and they drowned their sorrows together in Madison and sometime during that lachrymose evening decided to tour together. I just bought their second books tonight (The Song Is You and Probable Cause) so I haven't read them, but I have read their first books, and they are terrific, particularly for their atmosphere. (Megan's books are worth buying for their covers alone. She says people are arguing whether the woman on the cover of her latest looks more like Susan Hayward or one of my all-time favorites, Gloria Grahame.) The back and forth between Megan and Theresa tonight appeared spontaneous enough that it must have been practiced at previous stops on the tour. Especially enjoyable were their comments on classic noir, both books and film. Megan said she knew the house in Double Indemnity as if she lived there, and Theresa is writing an appreciation of Double Indemnity's femme fatale, Barbara Stanwyck, for an anthology Megan is editing on female noir. Theresa has her third book coming out at the end of the year, even though she has just finished its first draft. Megan's third book Queenpin, a trade paper original, will be out in June. Their prolificacy turns me emerald with envy. Both Megan and Theresa are on their way tomorrow to Seattle for Left Coast Crime. I'll see them up there. (BTW, Megan assures me that her mother Patti is just as wonderful as she seems in her occasional comment to this blog.)
Any stop at M is for Mystery is expensive for me. In addition, to purchasing Megan and Theresa's books, I picked up Julia Buckley's Dark Backward, Lori Armstrong's Hallowed Ground, and the first in Julie Hyzy's Alex St. James series. But I also got a couple of books that I am paying for in time and effort rather than dollars. At M Is for Mystery at 2PM on February 20, I am interviewing two writers with books out in February: Tim Maleeny (Stealing the Dragon, another book with a great cover) and Peter Spiegelman (Red Cat). Ed Kaufman, the store's proprietor, provided me with advanced readers' copies. I'll be reading them on the plane to and from Seattle.