The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us


100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024

Release: August 4, 2000

Mystery writing and love of art will be joined in a conference at the UI Sept. 29-Oct. 1

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Lovers of fine art who are also fans of mystery writing will be able to explore both interests when the University of Iowa presents "Mystery and Muse: Adventures in Art and Mayhem," a conference on mystery writing, Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 30-Oct. 1 at the UI Museum of Art.

The first-ever conference on art and mystery will be presented by the Museum of Art and the Iowa Summer Writing Festival. It has been coordinated by Pam Trimpe, curator of painting and sculpture at the museum, and Peggy Houston, director of the writing festival.

The conference will be preceded by a workshop for mystery writers, Friday, Sept. 29.

"Art, once considered the province of high-brows, and mystery novels, once considered the trash reading of low-brows, have both recently attained unparalleled popularity," Trimpe said.

"Commercialization and skyrocketing prices have made art the subject of avarice and its companion, crime. In this environment, some of the best writers of mystery fiction have written about collectors, curators and creators of art allied with crooks, and they have created gripping plots revolving around rare objects, looted paintings and museum conspiracies."

" 'Mystery and Muse' will give art lovers and mystery lovers the chance to learn more about both the reality of art crimes and the craft of writing good mystery fiction."

British author Peter Lovesy will talk about his own works in the opening address of the conference, "Scoundrels in the Frame: A Less than Serious Look at Victorian Art in the Mysteries of Peter Lovesy," at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the Second Floor Ballroom of the Iowa Memorial Union.

Saturday, various experts will present panel discussion on "Plunder, Destruction and Reparations: Art and the Nazis," "All That Glitters: Antiques and Fakes," and "Art Crimes and Quandaries." A final panel discussion on Sunday will feature mystery writers discussing "The Mystery of My Muse: Art and Fiction."

Prior to the opening of the conference, two sessions from 10 a.m. to noon and 2 to 4 p.m. Friday will give writers an opportunity to enhance their writing skills, working with leading mystery writers Shelly Reuben and Dorothy Salisbury Davis.

The conference registration fee is $190 and includes the opening reception, banquet, continental breakfasts on Saturday and Sunday, and all events. The fee for the separate Friday workshop for mystery writers, which has a limited enrollment, is $50. For registration materials or additional information, contact Houston at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival, (319) 335-4060, or by e-mail at