Silent Auction at Malice Domestic

Malice Domestic is coming up and for weeks I’ve been planning a basket for the Silent Auction. In case you aren’t familiar with Malice, it is the Edgar Award winning convention for fans of traditional mysteries. Specifically, proceeds of the auctions–live and silent–benefit  KEEN Greater DC. KEEN empowers young people with disabilities through free, non-competitive fitness and self-esteem programs led by volunteer coaches.  Proceeds of Malice Charity Auctions go to providing reading literacy and communication skills.  It’s a great opportunity. 
So what to put in my basket?

Signed hard copies of The Last Crystal Trilogy, of course. I decided that since Book 3 of the trilogy, The Last Crystal, was awarded the 2019 Agatha Award for Best Middle Grade/Young Adult Mystery by Malice Domestic, it would be fitting to fill my basket with things that relate directly to the book. 

I began by ordering the authentic reproduction of the  Mimbreño china cup and saucer like those used on the Santa Fe Chief train.

Mary Colter, architect and artist, was commissioned by Fred Harvey to design spaces for his Harvey Houses that served railroad passengers. She created Mimbreño china for the dining cars on the Santa Fe Chief and Super Chief trains, drawing on art forms created by ancient Mimbres people of New Mexico.  She is perhaps best known for buildings she created in Grand Canyon National Park and for Fred Harvey Company and the Santa Fe Railroad. In The Last Crystal, Mary Carol notices the place settings in the dining car of the Santa Fe Chief and is fearful that people will think she is an ignorant little hick.

One of the few women architects of her day, Mary Colter (1869-1958) was interested in Southwest American Indian art and drew on ancient designs to inspire her work.
A place setting of china used on the Santa Fe Chief train.
On the left, my granddaughter an I pose by the famous Santa Fe Chief engine at the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento when I was doing research for the book. We also saw the china on display in a dining car. It was elegant dining!

There’s more to be said about this basket. Stay tuned. 

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