Well, I've checked the archives and I cannot find any Edgar dress story, so grab a mug of cocoa and settle in.
Actually, this story has five parts. Only three are entertaining, so I'll spare you two of them, and tell you only the first one tonight.
I had never been to New York City. I learned that Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief had been nominated for an Edgar via a call from my agent on my classroom phone. It was nice to be nominated, I knew, but the importance of it was a little lost on me. I was already late getting out the door to pick up my kids, and I was really hungry for an after school snack.
After school snacks are a vital part of a teacher's life, you know.
It didn't really sink in that attending the Edgars was a such big deal, or potentially fun, until the embossed invitation arrived from Mystery Writers of America. It was classy, with a stylized graphic of Edgar Allan Poe in a bow tie, and it instructed the recipient to "Dress To Kill."
I loved that!
And after planning the trip with my editor, Nancy, I was now in the spirit of things and started taking the invitation seriously.
Unfortunately, there is no "serious shopping" around here. Not within the time constraints of a full time job and two little kids, anyway. And after the initial frustration of department store boring, somebody suggested I try Sherry's Secret Closet. "She sells vintage Hollywood gowns."
Yup, discards of the stars.
I was game, and when I found the little side shop where Sherry had her wares, I saw how the store got its name. It was small, all right, and the "dressing room" was just a curtained-off storage space--no mirror, no hook for clothes, just random boxes precariously stacked.
Sherry greeted me, then got back to her phone call. As I flicked through the racks I couldn't help overhearing her hushed conversation, and it didn't take long to suspect that she was being hounded by bill collectors. Or maybe she had a second occupation snuffing people out! It was a coin toss.
She had a friend in the shop. A flamboyant guy who watched me move about from his perch on a torn velvet-seat stool. "Try that pink one," he said as I pulled out a blue dress.
"Pink's not me," I informed him.
I selected about five dresses and each time I came out to look in the mirror the guy went tsk and raised an eyebrow. "Try the pink."
"No, really. Pink's not me."
Plus, it was chiffon.
With little cape-y wings.
None of the five dresses I picked worked, let alone made me feel like I was dressing to kill. And as I was wrestling around in the "dressing room," discouraged and pretty much fed up, an arm jetted through the curtain. It was holding the pink dress. "Just put it on!" he said. "You'll look smashing!"
So I did. And it was...awesome.
And only $29!?
So I bought it, and decided that white gloves and white shoes and some cool vintage jewelry borrowed from a teaching colleague would complete the look.
Uh, did I mention I'd never been to New York before?
Well, I learned something as I walked my short pink dress and white shoes and gloves into the Grand Hyatt Hotel the night of the Edgar gala.
Everyone in New York wears black.
Immediately, I felt...ridiculous. But people were very kind and welcoming. One of the MWA organizers even sized me up and said, "Now that's how it's done!"and Mary Higgins Clark told me "Darling, you look like a princess!" and Nancy whispered, "Twenty-nine dollars? Are you serious?" after I told her my little story. So, yeah, I started having fun.
So much so that when they announced that Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief won the Edgar for best juvenile mystery, I ran my little white shoes up to the podium, my little pink chiffon wings flying behind me.
Anyway, there you have it. The Edgar dress story. Part One.
Next week, Part Two!
Meanwhile, see you in the comments, and happy bargain shopping!