The first-ever West Coast installment of the Bloody Words mystery convention is presently underway in Victoria, British Columbia. The Arthur Ellis Awards were handed ’round by the Crime Writers of Canada on Thursday night, but the conference itself didn’t get started until Friday.
At the tail end of a wet, cold spring, the sun came out and the conference hotel, situated on the waterfront in Victoria’s gorgeous Inner Harbour, felt transformed into a resort hotel. That resort atmosphere seemed to permeate the convention’s initial day, which culminated with two late-night events, both led by Canadian guest of honor, author Michael Slade. The first was a well-attended performance of Slade’s Shock Theatre, doing performances of two 1940s radio plays: Two Skeleton Key and Chicken Heart. Pictured above is the cast of Two Skeleton Key, with Slade at the microphone. To his left are International Guest of Honor Tess Gerritsen, author and Bloody Words co-chair Lou Allin, K.C. Dyer, and Ron Chudley.
Later still, Slade led those interested on a tour of Victoria’s ghostly highlights. Surprisingly well-attended considering the hour (the tour got stated around 11 p.m. and wound up back at the conference hotel around 1:30 a.m.), Slade led his group up and down the historic city’s side streets and back alleys, introducing them not only to the local haunts, but to some talented and sporting Bloody Words volunteers in ghostly garb, as well.
Today’s schedule includes a full day of panels, a mass autograph session, and a banquet this evening. The convention concludes of Sunday.
A beautiful, well-located and well-run convention.