My second panel of the night was ... less good than the first one. That's not to say it was bad - it just wasn't As Expected.
The title of the panel was "Urban Fantasy's Hard-Boiled Detective Roots."
That's right - another non-gaming panel.
I can't say it veered wildly off-topic, because it would have had to start out on-topic for that to be a thing. It started out off-topic and then occasionally steered towards being on-topic, but mostly stayed away from its stated goal.
I did fill a bit more than half a page, but more than half of my notes were book recommendations.
We spent more time talking about magic and magic systems and realism than we did mysteries or noir. Which is a bit disappointing, but it's not a deal-breaker by any means for me (even though there are panels on good magic systems that I will likely be attending).
One good idea that one panelist had was talking about speculative fiction (SF/F) was not a structure, it was a texture. Mystery is a structure. Adventure is a structure. Romance is a structure. Fantasy is trappings. It's a paint job. It's wallpaper. Treating it like it's a structure on its own is a recipe for disappointment.
And, near the end, one of the panelists pointed out that spec-fic and hard-boiled mysteries share a common origin - the pulps. Which is something I'd never considered before.
So it was a good panel. It just wasn't what I would have expected given its title.