The Friends of the Sumter County Library held their annual author luncheon on March 14th at the Sunset Country Club. This years event featured mystery writer Kathryn R. Wall, who not only stepped in on very short notice, but made the trip to Sumter while dealing with a sudden illness in her family. Words cannot express our gratitude - not only for her making the trip at all, but also for giving a very informative and entertaining presentation. Kathryn Wall is the author of seven novels (number eight is coming out in April) set in the Low Country of South Carolina. Her heroine, Lydia Baynard Simpson Tanner lives in Hilton Head and has a peculiar gift for getting herself, friends, and loved ones involved in a series of suspenseful and dangerous situations. The books are very entertaining and contain a great deal of local color. Ms. Wall knows her venue very well, particularly impressive considering she retired to Hilton Head after a career as an accountant in Ohio. Human nature is human nature wherever you are, to paraphrase Agatha Christie's Miss Marple, and Kathryn Wall has keen insight in that area. Her characters are very well developed. Although it isn't necessary to read the books in the sequence they were published, it is enjoyable to start at the beginning and see how the characters change and develop from one book to the next.
I initiated an interesting discussion at the luncheon on the subject of Bay Tanner's love life, specifically her French boyfriend Alain Darnay. An attendee took exception, thinking that I didn't like the character because he was French. I explained that my beef with Darnay wasn't his nationality, but that I just didn't think he was "right" for Bay and that on again/off again detecting partner Erik Whiteside would be a better match. Pick up a Bay Tanner mystery and decide for yourself. You might even think Red Tanner, Bay's brother-in-law, is the best match of the three. Did I mention Bay's life is rather complicated?
The Friends Author Luncheon committee led by Dotty Lyles did a wonderful job. The flowers were beautiful, the table arrangements were perfectly in keeping with the theme of the Bay Tanner mysteries, and the menu was perfect. Thanks also to luncheon committee members Betsy Acken, Elaine Cameron, Rose Marie Newman and Nancy Wilson.