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Whodunit? Mystery writers can hash it out

September 22, 2007|From the Associated Press

JUNEAU, Alaska -- Murder. Lies. Kidnapping. Corruption. Infidelity. Betrayal.

Just everyday fare for your mystery book fan.

But these also are subjects that will be dissected, probed and combed over the next week in Alaska during Bouchercon 2007, the yearly conference for mystery writers.

During the five-day gathering, readers can rub shoulders with about 225 authors as well as crime scene experts, criminal court judges and even cadaver dogs who sniff out corpses.

"This is to put writers in touch with readers," said conference organizer Dana Stabenow, an Alaska author whose mystery series features fictional Aleut detective Kate Shugak.

"Unless you are Stephen King, a book signing is attended by maybe 40 or 50 people," she said. "But this puts the writers in front of anywhere from 200 to 600 people."

The conference is named after the late writer Anthony Boucher and is organized annually in different states by local literary groups, in this case the Alaska Sisters in Crime.

This year's lineup includes bestselling writers such as Thomas Perry, Laura Lippman and Charlaine Harris; and Alaska residents John Straley, Sue Henry and Stabenow.

Once the conference ends, more than 30 writers will hit the road to Alaska's far-flung rural regions to present workshops. Stabenow said she hopes the authors can encourage kids -- many of them Native Alaskans -- to not only read but preserve their cultural history by writing.

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