“MURDER AND MAYHEM v2.0” Or, “MEET ME IN MILWAUKEE”

Last year, tragedy struck when forces beyond anyone’s control forced the beloved library event Murder and Mayhem in Muskego to be cancelled forevermore. MMM was an amazingly successful event that brought renowned authors to the Milwaukee suburb for a one-day, panel style event. While raising money for the Muskego public library, it also allowed fans of the genre unprecedented access to their favorite storytellers. It also very quickly became the favorite literary event of the Malmon household.

But like all good things…

Without missing a beat, Jon Jordan, Ruth Jordan, Erica Neubauer, and Penny Halle got together and said, “ To Hell with it. We’ll just do it on our own.” And holy moly, did they ever knock it out of the park. The format remained the same: One day’s worth of top-flight author panels with plenty of time for Q&A. But now they’ve found the perfect partner in Potawatomi Hotel and Casino. With rooms and restaurants onsite, the weekend’s travel planning became 100 times easier.

The mystery community was a hair’s width away from losing a wonderful and unique event. But the Fantastic Four flew in and saved the day.

The highlights for me tend to lean towards the selfish, but for me it’s about the friendships. My wife Kate has always likened MMM to “going off to camp,” and she’s (always) right. Friendships form hard and fast, and then everyone heads off back home until the next camp (event.) But the mystery community is so tightly knit, those friendships pick up with almost no hesitation the moment everyone is together again. Social media is an incredible tool to keep those friendships alive and thriving, but there’s no substitute for hanging out and telling ribald tales in the same room together.

Bouchercon, the worldwide mystery convention, is in a few weeks. So you may be thinking, “What’s this dudes deal? Just head off to Long Beach, or wherever, and stop your whining.” B’con is cool, no doubt. But as author Alex Segura has said, it’s the San Diego Comic Con of the mystery community. It’s BIG. It’s loud. It’s easy to get lost in, and tends to leave your head spinning for days after. Maybe that’s why Kate and I became so enamored with the much more intimate MMM. Or maybe it was the uniqueness of the event, or the simple fact of its close proximity to our home in Minnesota. Whatever the reason, we claim it as our own. And we are so, so very greatful it’s still around and better than ever.

Random memories:

Participating in a video message for a friend of the mystery community battling cancer. The entire conference room shouting WE GOT THIS sent chills down my spine, and tears to many eyes.

Listening while Johnny Shaw held court and told story after story. My sides ached with laughter as he proved time and again that real life is crazier than fiction could ever be.

Seeing Kate moderate the first damn panel of the day, and rock it like the pro she is.

Watching Kristi Belcamino take part in her first ever panel, and then smiling widely as fans asked her to sign their books.

Getting a full-body hug with bonus leg-wrap from Marcus Sakey. Hey, even I like a hug every now and then.

There were a million more moments, random but no less moving. Here’s to many more MMM’s to come.

 

Dan Malmon

 

And we'll see YOU next year!

And we’ll see YOU next year!