Summary and book reviews of The Poet's Funeral by John Daniel

The Poet's Funeral

By John M. Daniel

The Poet's Funeral
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     Not Yet Rated
  • Hardcover: May 2005,
    257 pages.
    Paperback: Oct 2006,
    257 pages.

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Book Summary

At the annual convention of the American Booksellers Association Convention, everything goes wrong. Julia Child's cooking demonstration in the Random House aisle blows up and catches fire. A top New York editor catches a pie in the face. Invitations to the most exclusive publisher's party are stolen and all the wrong people show up. Worse, Heidi Yamada, the world-famous poet, is found dead, spread over the late Elvis Presley's king-sized bed. It's all caught on film by a busy photographer from Publishers Weekly, a woman soon kidnapped. When the Las Vegas Police shrug their shoulders, Guy Mallon, Heidi's first publisher (and a discarded lover) wonders what to do. Poor Guy. He's a bookman from Santa Barbara who, despite Ross Macdonald and Sue Grafton, never felt inspired to be a sleuth, but he feels he owes it to Heidi. Besides, catching her killer may be his only chance to leave Las Vegas alive.... The Poet's Funeral is a romp rich with poetry, publishing, book collecting, and literary gossip. Its cast ranges from smalltime players to the famous Rock Bottom Remainders. It's a story of ego, love, art, and murder during four hot days at the 1990 ABA.

Preface to the Trade Edition

What you have in your hands is the trade edition of The Poet's Funeral. If you're looking for the Ongepotchket Press edition, complete with pictures of the dead poet and all her friends, and including a bunch of previously unpublished, posthumous poems of obscure origin, let me know and I'll give you your money back. This is the first and perhaps the only sincere tribute to the poet Heidi Yamada.

Included are eulogies by several of Heidi Yamada's associates, people who knew her well, some even before she became a celebrity. I have annotated these testimonials with what I know about those speakers, and I have also tied the speeches together with the thread of what really happened during the last few days and evenings of Heidi's life.

Finally, I must say I take umbrage at John Daniel's statement that the characters in this book are fi ctitious. Believe him if you want to, but I'm telling you that ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse

This delightfully sharp and sardonic send up of the book trade is a shoe-in for bibliophiles who are also aficionados of cozy mysteries.   (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).

Full Review Members Only (286 words).

Media Reviews
Chicago Tribune - Dick Adler

Daniel knows how to take the shenanigans of a book convention and turn one of those basically dreary (and often depressing) occasions into a bright, funny, brain-twisting mystery.

Booklist - Jenny McLarin

Daniel ladles plenty of tasty publishing tidbits into his narrative stew but never at the expense of the suspenseful plot. An affectionate look at the publishing industry from one who clearly knows that world.

Kirkus Reviews

Nonstop wisecracks and an amiable tweaking of the publishing world add up to a highly entertaining debut, mystery aside-which, for the most part, it is.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Daniel turns the 1990 Las Vegas ABA convention (now known as BEA) into a murder site in this delicious sendup of the book trade....Daniel's sharp, sardonic wit and insider's view of book industry foibles are sure to make this bibliomystery a hit.

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Beyond the Book

The ABA Convention is now known as BEA (Book Expo America). It's the largest book show in the USA, with about 35,000 people attending each year.  Most are connected with the book industry in some shape or form, but it also attracts many savvy members of the public as well.  

The key attraction for many are the approximate 1,000 authors (many of whom are household names) who autograph their books at each BEA, often giving away free copies in the process.

In 2005, industry sources ...

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