Sunday, January 24, 2010

Welcome Guest Blogger - Barb Goffman!!

We here at Mystery Lovers' Kitchen are absolutely delighted to welcome Barb Goffman back for a special visit. Today Barb is here to talk a little bit about Malice Domestic (which is where I met Krista and Avery last year!) And, of course, she has a recipe to share, too!

Let me step aside now and allow Barb to jump in...

~ Julie

If you love mysteries, particularly traditional mysteries, take note: Only 96 days until Malice! Yep, just four months before Malice Domestic begins. On April 30th, the largest annual fan convention devoted to the traditional mystery begins its 2010 adventure in Arlington, Virginia – right outside DC.

And an adventure it is. If you’ve been to Malice recently, you know the fun we’ve had. (Yes, as program chair, I’m biased, but I’m also right!) If you haven’t been to Malice recently, here’s a little bit of what you’ve been missing:

· Parnell Hall in drag, appearing as his character The Puzzle Lady

· Peter Lovesey sharing the hilarious results of his books being translated into Japanese

· Marcia Talley sharing all her dirty little secrets

· Carole Nelson Douglas morphing from Delilah Street into Midnight Louie

· The chance to snag an empty seat at your favorite author’s table and share a meal with her. (I had breakfast on the fly last year with Anne Perry!)

· Meeting mystery fans from throughout the U.S. and beyond. Perhaps you’ve heard from Doris Ann Norris, the 2000-year-old librarian, on listservs like DorothyL. At Malice you can meet her in the flesh.

· Sitting with your favorite author at the Agatha Awards dinner

· Learning how to kill with undetected poisons from The Poison Lady herself, Luci Zahray

· Hearing funny lady Elaine Viets lead this panel of comedians: Don Bruns, Jeff Cohen, Parnell Hall, and Pari Noskin Taichert

· Watching Sherlock Holmes face off against Hercule Piorot in the greatest-sleuth-of-all contest. (Sherlock won.)

· Learning CSI techniques from real-life technician John French.

· Attending a whirlwind charity auction run by Hank Phillippi Ryan and Pari Noskin Taichert and winning the chance to name a pet in Sandy Parshall’s next book

And here’s just some of what you’ll miss this year if you don’t attend:

· Mary Higgins Clark. Need I say more? The queen of suspense will be our lifetime achievement honoree, and she will be in the house.

· William Link. Don’t recognize the name? Well, maybe you’ll recognize these names: Columbo, Mannix, and Murder She Wrote. He co-created and produced them all and he’s this year’s Poirot Award honoree.

· A tribute to Ed Hoch. The man had nearly 1,000 mystery short stories published. His passing two years again was a real loss to the mystery world. This year his friends and family will gather to honor his memory.

· The return of some real fan favorites. Margaret Maron. Dorothy Cannell. Charles Todd. Carolyn Hart. Katherine Hall Page. Louise Penny. Donna Andrews. They’ll all be there, sitting on panels, signing books, chatting with fans. Maybe even with you.

· Some ladies from a little blog called Mystery Lovers Kitchen. Yep, Avery Aames, Krista Davis, and Riley Adams (aka Elizabeth Spann Craig) are all on the schedule.

· Rhys Bowen as toastmaster. If you’ve never heard this funny lady, well, you really shouldn’t deprive yourself of the treat.

· And last, but certainly not least, our guest of honor, Parnell Hall. He sings. He acts. He tells jokes. Oh yeah, he also writes great books and is a hell of a nice guy. You can meet him, but you’ve got come to Malice to do so.

So how do you do that? Simple. Go to You can register online or download the snail mail form. Then make your hotel reservation, arrange your transportation, and mark your calendar for April 30th – May 2nd. And like me, you too can start counting the days.

Here’s a little something to keep you occupied while you wait for Malice: Our chair Verena Rose’s Seven Deadly Sin Salad.


1 pound fresh spinach, torn

1 medium head lettuce, torn

6 hard cooked eggs, sliced

1 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled

1 eight-ounce can of sliced water chestnuts, drained

1 ten-ounce package of frozen English peas, thawed

1 cup mayonnaise

½ cup sour cream

½ a package (four ounces) of buttermilk dressing mix

Optional ingredients

Sliced onion

Chopped fresh parsley

Grated cheese


Layer the first six ingredients (plus onion, if desired) in the order listed above in a large salad bowl. Combine the mayo, sour cream and dressing mix and then mix well. Spread this mix over the top of the vegetables in the bowl, sealing to the edge of the bowl. Garnish with chopped parsley or grated cheese, if desired. Cover tightly and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Toss before serving. Yields 12 to 15 servings.

Hope you like the salad. If you’ve been to Malice before, we’d love to hear your favorite Malice memories. Please share! And if you’ll be a first-timer, we’d love to hear what you’re most looking forward to!

* * * * *

Barb Goffman is an Agatha Award-nominated author who toils as a lawyer by day to pay the vet bills at night for her miracle dog, Scout. (He had cancer three times, but now he’s cured!) She’s program chair of Malice Domestic and writes short stories in her spare time. Barb’s most recent story is “The Worst Noel” in The Gift of Murder and she’ll have a new story coming out in April in Chesapeake Crimes: They Had It Comin’, the fourth volume in the Agatha- and Anthony-award-winning Chesapeake Crimes series. Barb’s website is


  1. Welcome to the Mystery Lovers' Kitchen, Barb!

    I'm going to be the newbie of the group at Malice this year. :) I'm really excited about meeting my friends in person and being around people who love mysteries as much as I do!

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  2. Riley/Elizabeth, you're going to have a blast! And Barb, you know I'll be there if my arteries don't turn to stone from that pound of bacon in Verena's salad. (Bacon is a noble food, isn't it?)

  3. That does look like a killer salad :)

    I'll be at Malice, too, and I can't wait!

  4. Hi, Riley. Can't wait to meet you in person. We're going to have a real fun time. Activities start Friday morning and run through Sunday afternoon, so rest up!

    Hey, Joni. I've always liked how bacon smells but not how it tastes. Odd, huh?

    Hi, Alan. I just finished reading the ARC of your book last night. Nice job! See you at Malice - if I don't run into you first at the Giant or something!


  5. The salad sounds delicious. Hope everyone has a blast at Malice, sounds like a fun place to be.

    Thanks ladies for the link to Thoughts in Progress. This is a dynamic group.

  6. Thanks, Barb. I haven't even seen my ARC yet!

  7. Hi, Mason. Hope you like the salad!

    And, Alan, since we live in the same neighborhood, there's no reason you can't pop over some time for a look at your ARC if you want. Let me know.

  8. I certainly wish I could go to Malice. It sounds like a blast. Of course, I'd have to look up my favorite Mystery Lovers' Kitchen ladies!!

  9. So many fine mystery writers include food and recipes as part of the story. It's a wonderful idea to have a mystery writer's kitchen blog.

    Malice Domestic sounds fantastic!

    All the best,

    Jacqueline Seewald
    THE DROWNING POOL, Five Star/Gale 2009
    THE INFERNO COLLECTION, Five Star hardcover,
    Wheeler large print 2008

  10. Oh, would I love to be at Malice someday! Your description is as tempting as that salad recipe...

  11. welcome to the party Barb. I love the sound of this convention

  12. Hi Barb!

    We've never met, but I feel as though I know you from your wonderfully personable post. I WISH I could come to Malice this year. I have an important commitment to my sister and her family for that week, and I cannot break it. But this year’s Con sounds fabulous--just great, great fun for anyone who enjoys mysteries!

    FYI - To make up for my absence, I happily contributed 10 signed copies of my latest hardcover Holiday Grind to a Malice Auction prize. Jennifer Stanley has done a fantastic job putting together a Cozy Book Club Box with 12 months worth of mysteries for the auction winner's book club! The box is full of fantastic reads, and I feel honored to be a part of it. (I wish I were winning it, lol!)

    I also have to tell you that I (heart) salads and Verena's Seven Deadly Sin Salad recipe looks awesome. Can't wait to try it.

    Cheers, Barb. Thank you for hangin' with us mystery writing cooks today, and I sincerely hope to meet you at Malice next year!

    “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  13. I was asked yesterday by Julie if I was going to be at Malice. My reply? "I wish!!". She urged me to try for next year's though, and I'm thinking I just might have to do that. The salad sounds great too. LOVE spinach in salads...and I make my own homemade ranch dressing that would be fabulous with this.

  14. Hi, Janel, Jaqueline, Jenny, A Year on the Grill (would it be too much to call you Grill Guy?), Cleo, and Shel, I hope you can make it to Malice, if not this year then next year. It really is so much fun! I'd love to meet you all.

    And Cleo, that auction basket sounds great. I'm saving up to bid right now!

  15. Barb, thanks for joining us today. I LOVE Malice! For anyone who is on the fence, the hotel lowered the room rates and if you have a roommate to share the cost -- well, it's actually quite affordable -- especially for such a nice hotel. The hotel connects to the Crystal City Underground, which means if you bring along the kids or a spouse, they can catch the Metro to DC and see the museums and monuments while you indulge in the land of mystery!

    Thanks to Verena for that wonderful salad recipe! Joni, don't worry about the pound of bacon. There's a pound of spinach in it, too, and I'm almost certain they cancel each other out. ;-)

    ~ Krista

  16. Come to Malice, Mystery Fans! You will have a ball! (And if you catch me, I may just buy you a drink!)

  17. Hi, Krista. Thanks to you and all the Mystery Lovers Kitchen gals for giving me the chance to talk about Malice. I'm so glad you'll be returning this year.

    And Jennifer (JB), watch out with that drink offer. You might be very, very popular come the convention!

    I have too many countdowns going on in my head. 96 days till Malice (yay!), and 9 more days until the final season of Lost. Yay, too! And sob.

  18. Hey Barb,
    Coming in late today ... but thank you so much for this wonderful post. Boy, do I wish I could make Malice this year, but it's my daughter's senior prom weekend and I wouldn't want to miss that! Just like Cleo, though, I'm contributing to the Mystery Book Discussion Basket. Big thanks to JB for organizing this!

    Malice is one of the best events out there ... if you're on the fence, listen to Krista ... and consider attending. It's so worth it. (Hope you make it in 2011, Shel!) I definitely plan to make 2011.

    And I'm with you about LOST too, Barb. Can't wait, but I don't want it to end!
    Thanks for joining us today!

  19. I will be there, Barb, with bells on.

    Who is assigned to keep an eye on Parnell this year?

  20. Barb, what a great salad. What a great post! Sorry to chime in so late. Traveling today. But can't wait for Malice. What a fun, fun, fun conference!

  21. Hi, Julie. You'll definitely be missed this year. I'm already looking forward to your return in 2011.

    Hi, G.M. Things should definitely be interesting with Parnell this year. Joan Hess is coming back and will be doing his lifetime achivement interview, and I know Parnell is planning to
    sing to Mary Higgins Clark. Should be a hoot!

    And Avery, it should be lots and lots of fun. I'm so glad you'll be able to jon us!

    All you other readers out there who are on the fence, please do come! Malice first and foremost is a fan convention. A place to meet fellow readers and your favorite authors. To buy books and have them autographed. And to get away for a few days and relax. (Well, as much as you can relax in between panels.) We would love to see you!

  22. Oops. This is why everyone needs an editor. Joan Hess will be doing Parnell's guest of honor interview. Our lifetime achievement honoree this year is Mary Higgins Clark.

  23. It sounds wonderful! Every year, it's special, and every year something amazing happens! Very exciting. Thanks, Barb--what a huge task!

    And Shel--your homemade ranch dressing? I'd love to have the recipe!

  24. I like to build some surprises into the program. Last year in the Sleuthoff panel, Hank played Nancy Drew, and her lemon bar ad libs were hysterical! So glad you're coming back this year, Hank!

  25. I can't wait to see everyone at Malice! It's always a lot of fun. So if you're on the fence about going (and your daughter isn't having her senior prom) please come!

  26. Great to hear you'll be there, Meredith. :) This will be my fourth Malice, and every year it feels like a great big lovefest to me.

  27. Another Malice virgin here ... I'm not sure how I'll juggle my "fan girl" and "author" hats effectively with so many great writers in attendance. But I'm already planning on goodies to bring/share, and can't wait to get there!

  28. I love Malice and look forward to it a lot. I have to say I loved Hank's Nancy Drew Lemon Bars last year.

  29. What's life without Malice? This is the one event that always feels like homecoming to me. Can't wait! Thanks for all your hard work, Barb.

  30. I wouldn't miss Malice! Everything else I seem to skip a year or have a conflict, but Malice has been in ink on my calendar since before I got my agent! JB if you buy me a drink, I'll buy you one! Barb..who do I talk to about hosting a table at the banquet?

  31. I've been to every Malice since Malice III, and I'll be there this year, too!

  32. A big hello to Meredith, Liz, Wendy, Terri, Joanna, Rosemary, and Toni. I'm so glad you're all coming to Malice this spring! Yay!

    Wendy, so this will be your first time, huh? You're sure to have a blast. But rest up. I'm going to keep you busy all day Friday, Saturday, and much of Sunday.

    Terri, so glad to hear you'll be returning, but I don't see you on our registration list. (Granted I'm looking at the lists on our website, which were updated two weeks ago, so if you've registered since then, it's not reflected.) I just want to make sure that you're all taken care of. If there's a problem, please let me know or our registrar, Shawn Reilly.

    And Rosemary, you should reach out to our treasurer, Marian Lesko, about hosting a table at the banquet. Her contact info is on the Malice website.

    See you all in 95 days! (But who's counting?)

  33. Yee-haw, I'm saddling up for Malice this year as a seasoned veteran, no longer a newbie (It's my SECOND year as an author!) It truly was my favorite conference of 2009: wonderful fans, great authors, fabulous program. Thanks, Barb, to you and all the organizers for all the hard work. See y'all soon!
    Deborah Sharp
    MAMA RIDES SHOTGUN (Midnight Ink, 2009)

  34. Oops, my book deadline was today, so I'm a bit behind here, but just the thought of Malice warms my heart on this dreary January day. Thanks for blogging, Barb, I am so looking forward to it and to meeting some of my friends on this great blog for the first time face to face. Thanks for all your work making this terrific conference happen.

    Malice is always fun and such a festival for those of us who love cozies!

  35. I'm looking forward to Malice, too. It'll be my fifth. Thanks for all your efforts, Barb.

    Betty Hechtman

  36. Sounds like a convention that mystery lovers everywhere would be thrilled to attend.

    The salad sounds beautiful with its layered look, and so nutritious. Thank you for sharing!

  37. Ok, I'm WAY late here,but...if Joan Hess is assigned to ride herd on Parnell, who did y'all assign to ride herd on Joan???? Those two together are bound to be a recipe for disaster!