KEY WEST, Florida Keys — No sleuthing skills are needed to understand why missing Mystery Fest Key West, set for Friday through Sunday, June 22-24, would be downright criminal. Readers and writers seeking clues about crafting and enjoying mystery fiction can meet, interact with and learn from some of America’s most notable authors during the fifth annual Mystery Fest Key West.
Among the starring “suspects” are keynote speaker Ace Atkins, a prolific crime novelist chosen by the Robert B. Parker estate to continue Parker’s iconic “Spenser” series; editor, publisher and Mysterious Bookshop proprietor Otto Penzler, a world-renowned authority on mystery fiction; and famed multigenre author Heather Graham, who has penned more than 100 volumes including the acclaimed “Krewe of Hunters” novels.
Other presenters include forensic scientist and top-selling author Lisa Black; Diane A.S. Stuckart, who created the Leonardo da Vinci historical mysteries; cozy mystery writer Nancy J. Cohen; and Charles Todd, co-author of the award-winning Inspector Ian Rutledge series. Law enforcement experts are to offer insights as well.
The festival’s dastardly doings are headquartered at the DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Hotel Grand Key, 3990 S. Roosevelt Blvd. Attractions include writing workshops, panel discussions, book signings, receptions and gatherings where mystery buffs can mingle with the genre’s leading lights.
Workshop and panel topics include the forensic use of fingerprints, writing historical mysteries, book promotion and the state of the publishing industry.
Attendees can detect upcoming festival happenings at a poolside welcome reception featuring Heather Graham, and discover Key West’s history and hotspots during a Conch Tour Train excursion. In addition, they can “interrogate” speakers Ace Atkins and Otto Penzler at an ice cream social at the Key West Lighthouse, 938 Whitehead St.
Other highlights include the Saturday presentation of the Whodunit Mystery Writing Award. The winner receives a publishing contract with Absolutely Amazing eBooks among other prizes.
The suspenseful events conclude Sunday, June 24, with a waterfront brunch at the Schooner Wharf Bar, 202 William St., sponsored by Mystery Writers of America’s Florida chapter.
Cost of the festival is $195 per person and special hotel rates are available for registrants.
Event information and registration: mysteryfestkeywest.com
Key West visitor information: fla-keys.com/keywest or 1-800-LAST-KEY