Who uses it: Literary critics and writers
What it means: A genre that had its heyday in the early to mid-19th century, featuring young women in danger, long-buried family secrets, villains motivated by strong emotion, and (very frequently) a castle or large house with secrets of its own.
How you can use it: To describe something that is unnecessarily melodramatic.
I have no doubt that Lowell, Massachusetts has its own Gothic corners, but the Doubletree Hotel is not one of them.
"It looks like a hospital," said Julia Spencer-Fleming as we pulled up in front yesterday morning. I agreed. "They probably just took old plans for a hospital and adapted them," she said. Large organizations do this, we know; the persistent rumor, when I was in college, was that New South Dormitory had been built from plans for a minimum-security prison.
Unlike Bouchercon, which is more of a mix of authors and fans, the New England Crime Bake seems to be targeted more toward aspiring mystery writers. I'm not an aspiring mystery writer -- my own work-in-progress is not in any way a crime novel, though it has some Gothic elements -- so the value for me here is to be able to meet the other registrants.
Yesterday's highlight (uh -- besides, of course, Chuck Hogan's panel, on the off-chance that you see this, Chuck) was the Mystery Jeopardy game after the evening's banquet. Our team, the "Bellicosies" (I know, I know) came in a respectable second, thanks to to the competitive drive of Dana Cameron and the fact that Karen Olson remembered Columbo had a basset hound.
My client and friend Joe Finder's on a panel this morning, right after a professional skip tracer who's going to talk about how people can disappear. If you don't see another post after this one, you'll know I learned a little too much from that session...
Happy Anniversary to my sister Peggy and her husband, Scott, and happy birthday to my Uncle Gerry.