Wednesday, May 04, 2022

Malice Domestic Recap 2022


by Sybil Johnson

I recently attended Malice Domestic in Bethesda, Maryland at the Bethesda North Marriott (really it’s in Rockville, Maryland). Here’s my recap of Malice 32-33-34. Yep, 3 years in one! It was 32-33-34 because, even though an in person Malice didn’t happen for all of them, the Agatha Award winners were selected for each year. 

I was traveling from California to D.C. on the 20th, hence no blog post that day. I know, I know, I know, I could have done it ahead of time. Anyway, I like to get to the hotel on Wednesday so I have Thursday free to adjust to the time change.

Traveling on a plane wasn’t particularly odd for me. I’ve been on a number of them since last June either to Seattle or Las Vegas. This was the first on what I would characterize as a long flight for me though. The flight was fine. I got to the hotel around 11 pm at night and slept in a bit on Thursday

Since I had Thursday free I went to the zoo which is a pretty easy subway ride away from the hotel. The National Zoo requires a ticket to get in these days. They’re free and you can get them when you get to the zoo, but it’s easier to make the arrangements ahead of time. Also, you won’t run into the possibility that they’ll deny you entrance because they have given away all of the tickets.

I visited the pandas and the cheetah, my two favorite animals there. I didn’t put the plural on cheetah because I only saw one of them while I saw more than one panda. Saw lots of other animals as well. All in all, I had a really nice time walking around.

The conference itself was very nice, though smaller than usual. If I had to guess I’d say that about half of the usual number of people attended. That’s purely a guess made with absolutely no statistics to back it up.

Everyone was very happy to be back together. I think we were all trying to get back into the swing of things. I saw many people I haven’t seen since the last Malice I attended in 2019. Had a good time attending panels, guest speaker interviews and talking to people in the lobby/halls/break room. Ellen Byron and I laughed that, even though we both live in Los Angeles County, we had to cross the country to see each other.

Libby Klein, Becky Clark, me, Laura Oles (photo courtesy of Laura Oles, used with her permission)

photo courtesy of Laura Oles used with her permission

I also did a podcast interview with Angela Marie Hart, Cozy Mystery Book Club founder. We had a wonderful conversation about writing and my books.


Angela Marie Hart and me

I was on a panel entitled “Can You Google the Killer? How Sleuths Navigate Tech and Social Media” moderated by Vincent O’Neil. Besides me, the panelists were Nicole Asselin, Sarah E. Burr, Barry Fulton and Korina Moss. It was a fun panel and an interesting topic, but I feel like we only scratched the surface. We could have talked for a lot longer about the use of tech and social media in mysteries.

The panel I was on (photo courtesy of Laura Oles, used with her permission)

The Agatha Banquet was fun, as usual. I was lucky to be at Dru Ann Love’s table, Fan Guest of Honor. Had a lot of fun and interesting conversations. The awards for Malice 32, 33 and 34 were all given out. Tears were shed at some of the acceptance speeches, including Ellen Byron’s who won the Agatha for Best Contemporary Novel for Cajun Kiss of Death. The Faithful Few, those who have attended every single Malice since its inception, were honored with the Amelia Award.

After Malice, I spent some time with a friend from college who now lives in Virginia. On the way to the airport, we visited the Pentagon Memorial, the Iwo Jima Memorial and the Air Force Memorial. The Pentagon Memorial was particularly touching.

Iwo Jima Memorial

Me in front of the Iwo Jima Memorial

The Agatha Award winners for 2022

Best Contemporary Novel Cajun Kiss of Death by Ellen Byron

Best Historical Novel Death at Greenway by Lori Rader Day 

Best Short Story – “Bay of Reckoning” by Shawn Reilly Simmons in the Murder on the Beach anthology 

Best First NovelArsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala

Best Non-FictionHow to Write a Mystery: A Handbook from Mystery Writers of America, Lee Child and Laurie King, Editors 

Best Children’s/YA MysteryI Play One on TV by Alan Orloff 

Malice Domestic is my favorite conference. I gladly cross the country to go to it. Hope to see more people there next time around. 

A couple other recaps you might find interesting: 

Edith Maxwell’s:

Dru Ann Love’s:

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