This is old news. But I have not mentioned this place for a reason, dear reader, and that's because I care about you, the innocent who has not yet been pulled into the tent, the wide-eyed child who remains unsullied by the dancing dogs and calliope wheeze of Rickard's Mystery Circus.
Yes, others have barked their bally-hoo to the rubes, calling it a great forum for crime writers and fans, a salon for homicide, a place of discourse concerning agents and rewrites, making literature versus making a living, reading the tarot of the shamus, and other subjects close to our inquisitive little hearts.
But don't believe it, boys and girls.
John Rickards has erected his tent on the outskirts of town so he can lure farm boys from their chores and farm girls from their knickers. Or vice versa. This is a dark place where housewives gamble the egg money on the crooked Wheel of Fate and husbands drink cheap jack spirits and lust after the sparkle girl who can pick up a silver dollar without using her hands.
This is where the dog-faced boy looks an awful lot like your little brother, the chicken-headed geek is speaking to you, Mr. Jones, and the hermaphrodite, for an extra fifty cents, will lift its skirts and show you something that will haunt you on your honeymoon.
And by the end of the night, when the funhouse is struck, there is only one place left for you the lost, the hollow-eyed shambler, the soul-sucked husk of humanity wandering from tent to tent, searching for the bearded lady of your dreams.
And that's working the freak show.
So step right up folks and see the sights. But don't say I didn't warn you.