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Even though it’s only been on for a few

weeks, Castle, airing Mondays on ABC, has us wrapped up in its wacky banter —

a la Moonlighting from the ’80s — and unique twist on crime solving. By using

a world-famous mystery writer, Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion), as part of a

crime-solving duo with NYPD Detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic), the show

breaks down crimes backward, like a novelist actually might. It’s weird, it’s

witty, and it makes us debate joining a book club.

 

Setting the scene:

This might sound weird, but contact a local

bookstore and see if there’s a mystery writer in your town who might be willing

to have a book signing during your

party. Have him or her bring as many copies of his or her book as possible and

use them as decoration. Sure, this sounds as if we are using them as props —

and we are — but if we know anything about writers it’s that they’ll humiliate

themselves to no end to sell a copy of their book. And you’ll probably buy a

copy for each guest as a party favor. (Yes, you will.) Make sure you do it up

just like a signing at Borders or Barnes and Noble. See if the author has a publicity shot and have it

blown up into a poster, and have pictures placed around the room next to stacks

of books.

 

Attire:

Casual book-signing ensembles are fine.

That means suede shirts over quality denim or sport coats with suede elbow

patches. For whatever reason, authors love suede. The occasional pipe would also be appreciated.

 

On the menu:

Crime solving probably makes one hungrier

than signing books, so for the cops in the crowd, order a platter of wraps and

sandwiches, and for the authors among us, go with wine and

cheese — heavy on the wine (you know how authors are).

 

On the hi-fi:

There’s music about crimes but so little

about crime novelists. So do yourself a favor and download songs from one of

the most talented bands with virtually no musical ability to ever come

together: The Rock Bottom Remainders. Made up of

authors such as Stephen King, Amy Tan, Ridley Pearson and Dave Barry, they are

the Pussycat Dolls of the publishing world, replete with a rotating cast that

comes together once a year to fight literacy with awkward key changes.

 

The showstopper:

While it might be fun to throw this party in

a local bookstore, we suggest you move the shindig to Houston to visit one of

the country’s best mystery bookstores, Murder by the Book.