By JENNIFER GAVIN
A trio of best-selling authors—David Baldacci, Sandra Brown and Kathy Reichs—wowed a crowd of mystery-lovers on Sept. 20 as the Library of Congress and the Investigation Discovery network co-sponsored “Hardcover Mysteries.”
Held in the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building, the panel discussion was the opening event in National Book Festival Week.
Moderator Deanna Marcum, the Library’s associate librarian for Library Services, and Investigation Discovery President and General Manager Henry Schleiff greeted the audience. The show, which debuted in October, features hour-long profiles of eight best-selling mystery authors speaking about books they have written.
The authors had the audience chuckling as they shared back-stories of some of their most famous novels. Baldacci, for example, noted that his book “Absolute Power,” which was first published during the administration of George H. W. Bush, featured a character some readers criticized as implausible—a womanizing president. Later, after the Clinton administration, subsequent readers of the book accused Baldacci of “taking a scandal and making money off of it.”
Asked how much research contributed to their stories, Baldacci said he once was out with the police to study how they did their work when they arrested a perpetrator and were cuffing the man as he lay on the ground. The arrestee looked up at Baldacci and said, “I love your books!”
Brown, in response to the research question, quipped, “I find that research really gets in the way of all the fun.” She said she will do sufficient research to ensure her story lines are “within the realm of possibility.”
Reichs, whose Temperance Brennan series of novels has paved the way for the television series “Bones,” is herself a forensic anthropologist, and her scientific background informs her writing.
She noted that the character seen on television is a bit different than the one in her books—the one on TV is “like Tempe, the early years. The prequel.”
The authors signed copies of their recent works in the Whittall Pavilion following the hour-long presentation, which was webcast live on Investigation Discovery’s website.
Jennifer Gavin is the senior public affairs specialist in the Library’s Office of Communications and project manager of the National Book Festival.