Reminder: Larchmere Fest this Saturday

Posted by Matt Kuhns on Jul 1, 2013

Just a reminder, this Saturday is Author Alley, where I will be appearing along with dozens of other authors in Shaker Heights from noon-4 p.m. Full details of the event, including a complete list of attending authors and our works, are available here.

You can also enjoy art, music, antiques, food, etc., etc., during the larger Larchmere Festival beginning at 10.

I’ll be there rain or (hopefully) sun; come visit me! Bring friends!

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In two months: Author Alley

Posted by Matt Kuhns on May 3, 2013

I have another event lined up and on the schedule. The first Saturday in July will find me spending the afternoon at Author Alley, a book fair hosted by Loganberry Books as part of the Larchmere Festival. Apparently you can expect a lot of local authors; the list from 2012 seems to go on at some length.

Please drop by to say hello, buy a book and/or get a book signed.

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Q&A: why did we forget?

Posted by Matt Kuhns on Mar 27, 2013

Fun time in Cleveland Heights last night. Did some talking, listened to two other very interesting authors talk, signed & sold a few books, didn’t get lost on the east side. Also answered some questions, which I enjoyed very much; I have been looking forward to opportunities to engage a bit with others’ ideas and questions.

One of the best questions really went right to a core theme of my book: why have these remarkable figures been forgotten? It is mysterious, on its face, I think; crime, mystery and detection are all still popular themes in fiction, and even if real-life detection has changed such that there is no longer scope for achieving the kind of celebrity that top investigators enjoyed in the 19th century, shouldn’t the fact that “they don’t make ’em like that any more” make them even more memorable rather than less?

I spend time considering various answers to this in Brilliant Deduction, though I can’t really claim to have any definitive, certain “solution.” One more possible answer did occur to me, after thinking about it again last night, though.

It might be that public amnesia about the great real-life detectives is at least somewhat less mysterious than it seems, and not that different from the eventual fate of most celebrities. It occurs to me that the rate of attrition for celebrity recognition is likely very, very high, especially beyond the edge of living memory. Out of the nine men profiled in my book, one (Allan Pinkerton) still commands at least some broad, if thin, public awareness. Is that ratio enormously different from other famous figures of the same era? My vague impression from a few decades of leisured study of history is that it isn’t.

It seems likely that for every one famous Victorian individual still remembered today, there are quite a few athletes, performers, artists, explorers, tycoons, kingmakers, etc., etc., now settled alongside “Paddington” Pollaky in obscurity. John Wilkes Booth was one of the most recognizable men in American in the 1860s… but would anyone know his name today if he hadn’t assassinated the president? One suspects not.

I suspect a number of factors explain the great real-life detectives’ disappearance for public memory, but it does seem one of them is that time effaces most celebrity, and too much time has passed. Most of them, as well as the real golden age for their type, came and went more than 80 years ago. What’s more, they came and went before modern media; a few minutes of audio or video of William Burns might survive in some dusty archive, but he and his peers basically missed out on the television age entirely, to say nothing of the internet age. They can’t be found in searches of online news archives that begin around 1995; there are no video clips to post on YouTube. Even if anyone still thought to look.

Still, history’s judgment is not necessarily final, and it just may be that something of a comeback is yet a possibility.

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Book event Tuesday night

Posted by Matt Kuhns on Mar 25, 2013

A reminder, I will be appearing at Mac’s Backs in Cleveland Heights this week for their “True Crime evening.” Tuesday, March 26, 7-8 p.m. Here is information at their site, and here’s where to find their store.


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First book event, March 26

Posted by Matt Kuhns on Feb 22, 2013

Next month, I will be appearing at Mac’s Backs in Cleveland Heights as part of a True Crime evening.

In addition to yours truly, attendees will meet the authors of The Pizza Bomber, a bizarre robbery-murder conspiracy that played out a decade ago in Erie, PA. Gerry Clark, the lead FBI Special Agent on the investigation, and reporter Ed Palattella will discuss their new book about the affair.

Collectively, we will all attempt to intrigue, entertain and sell books from 7 to 8 p.m.

Mac’s Backs is located at 1820 Coventry Road in Cleveland Heights.


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