Honoring Excellence in the Field
Award season is upon us. The Golden Globes have been handed out, honoring Hollywood achievements, and the Oscar nominations have been announced. The nominees wait, breaths held and fingers crossed, hoping to hear their names called when the presenters open the envelope and read, “And the Oscar goes to…” The literary world awards its share of prizes, including the Pulitzer and Nobel. Some honor excellence in writing in general, some awards are genre specific. The Lefty, the Agatha, and the Edgar, three that honor excellence in crime writing, just released their nominee lists. The Lefty Awards are presented annually at the Left Coast Crime convention for the best humorous, historical, and debut mystery novels, as well as a prize for a mystery not in the above categories. Winners are selected by votes of registered convention attendees. This year’s nominees are:Lefty for Best Humorous Mystery NovelDonna Andrews, Die Like an Eagle (Minotaur Books)Ellen Byron, Body on the Bayou (Crooked Lane Books)Timothy Hallinan, Fields Where They Lay (Soho Crime)Heather Haven, The CEO Came DOA (Wives of Bath Press)Johnny Shaw, Floodgate (Thomas & Mercer)Diane Vallere, A Disguise To Die For (Berkley Prime Crime) Lefty for Best Historical Mystery Novel (Bruce Alexander Memorial) for books covering events before 1960Rhys Bowen, Crowned and Dangerous (Berkley Prime Crime)Susanna Calkins, A Death Along the River Fleet (Minotaur Books)Laurie R. King, The Murder of Mary Russell (Bantam Books)Catriona McPherson, The Reek of Red Herrings (Minotaur Books)Ann Parker, What Gold Buys (Poisoned Pen Press) Lefty for Best Debut Mystery NovelSarah M. Chen, Cleaning Up Finn (All Due Respect Books)Marla Cooper, Terror in Taffeta (Minotaur Books)Alexia Gordon, Murder in G Major (Henery Press)Nadine Nettmann, Decanting a Murder (Midnight Ink)Renee Patrick, Design for Dying (Forge) Lefty for Best Mystery Novel (not in other categories)Matt Coyle, Dark Fissures (Oceanview Publishing)Gigi Pandian, Michelangelo’s Ghost (Henery Press)Louise Penny, A Great Reckoning (Minotaur Books)Terry Shames, The Necessary Murder of Nonie Blake (Seventh Street Books)James W. Ziskin, Heart of Stone (Seventh Street Books) The Agatha Awards honor works in the traditional (a.k.a. cozy or classic) mystery subgenre and are named for Agatha Christie. They’re presented at the annual Malice Domestic convention. Winners are determined by conventioneers’ ballots. This year’s nominees are:Best Contemporary NovelBody on the Bayou by Ellen Byron (Crooked Lane Books)Quiet Neighbors by Catriona McPherson (Midnight Ink)A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny (Minotaur Books)Fogged Inn by Barbara Ross (Kensington)Say No More by Hank Phillippi Ryan (Forge Books) Best Historical NovelWhispers Beyond the Veil by Jessica Estevao (Berkley)Get Me to the Grave on Time by D.E. Ireland (Grainger Press)Delivering the Truth by Edith Maxwell (Midnight Ink)The Reek of Red Herrings by Catriona McPherson (Minotaur Books)Murder in Morningside Heights by Victoria Thompson (Berkley) Best First NovelTerror in Taffeta by Marla Cooper (Minotaur)Murder in G Major by Alexia Gordon (Henery Press)The Semester of Our Discontent by Cynthia Kuhn (Henery Press)Decanting a Murder by Nadine Nettmann (Midnight Ink)Design for Dying by Renee Patrick (Forge Books) Best NonfictionMastering Suspense, Structure, and Plot: How to Write Gripping Stories that Keep Readers on the Edge of Their Seats by Jane K. Cleland (Writer’s Digest Books)A Good Man with a Dog: A Game Warden’s 25 Years in the Maine Woods by Roger Guay with Kate Clark Flora (Skyhorse Publishing)Sara Paretsky: A Companion to the Mystery Fiction by Margaret Kinsman (McFarland Books) Best Short Story“Double Jinx: A Bellissimo Casino Crime Caper Short Story” by Gretchen Archer (Henery Press)“The Best-Laid Plans” by Barb Goffman in Malice Domestic 11: Murder Most Conventional (Wildside Press)“The Mayor and the Midwife” by Edith Maxwell in Blood on the Bayou: Bouchercon Anthology 2016 (Down & Out Books)“The Last Blue Glass” by B.K. Stevens in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine“Parallel Play” by Art Taylor in Chesapeake Crimes: Storm Warning (Wildside Press) Best Children/Young AdultTrapped: A Mei-hua Adventure by P.A. DeVoe (Drum Tower Press)Spy Ski School by Stuart Gibbs (Simon & Schuster)Tag, You’re Dead by J C Lane (Poisoned Pen Press)The Mystery of Hollow Places by Rebecca Podos (Balzer & Bray)The Secret of the Puzzle Box: The Code Busters Club by Penny Warner (Darby Creek) The Edgar Awards, named for Edgar Allan Poe, are given by the Mystery Writers of America to honor the best in crime writing and television. An MWA volunteer committee selects the winners in numerous categories as well as a Grand Master. Awards are also given to honor someone outside of creative writing who has worked to promote the mystery field and for excellence in mystery publishing. This year’s nominees are:BEST NOVELThe Ex by Alafair Burke (HarperCollins Publishers – Harper)Where It Hurts by Reed Farrel Coleman (Penguin Random House – G.P. Putnam’s Sons)Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye (Penguin Random House – G.P. Putnam’s Sons)What Remains of Me by Alison Gaylin (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)Before the Fall by Noah Hawley (Hachette Book Group – Grand Central Publishing) BEST FIRST NOVEL BY AN AMERICAN AUTHORUnder the Harrow by Flynn Berry (Penguin Random House – Penguin Books)Dodgers by Bill Beverly (Crown Publishing Group)IQ by Joe Ide (Little, Brown & Company – Mulholland Books)The Drifter by Nicholas Petrie (Penguin Random House – G.P. Putnam’s Sons)Dancing with the Tiger by Lili Wright (Penguin Random House – G.P. Putnam’s Sons)The Lost Girls by Heather Young (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow) BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINALShot in Detroit by Patricia Abbott (Polis Books)Come Twilight by Tyler Dilts (Amazon Publishing – Thomas & Mercer)The 7th Canon by Robert Dugoni (Amazon Publishing – Thomas & Mercer)Rain Dogs by Adrian McKinty (Prometheus Books – Seventh Street Books)A Brilliant Death by Robin Yocum (Prometheus Books – Seventh Street Books)Heart of Stone by James W. Ziskin (Prometheus Books – Seventh Street Books) BEST FACT CRIMEMorgue: A Life in Death by Dr. Vincent DiMaio & Ron Franscell (St. Martin’s Press)The Lynching: The Epic Courtroom Battle that Brought Down the Klan by Laurence Leamer (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)Pretty Jane and the Viper of Kidbrooke Lane: A True Story of Victorian Law and Disorder: The Unsolved Murder That Shocked Victorian England by Paul Thomas Murphy (Pegasus Books) While the City Slept: A Love Lost to Violence and a Young Man’s Descent into Madness by Eli Sanders (Penguin Random House – Viking Books)The Wicked Boy: The Mystery of a Victorian Child Murderer by Kate Summerscale (Penguin Random House – Penguin Press) BEST CRITICAL/BIOGRAPHICALAlfred Hitchcock: A Brief Life by Peter Ackroyd (Penguin Random House – Nan A. Talese)Encyclopedia of Nordic Crime: Works and Authors of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden Since 1967 by Mitzi M. Brunsdale (McFarland & Company)Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin (W.W. Norton – Liveright)Something in the Blood: The Untold Story of Bram Stoker, the Man Who Wrote Dracula by David J. Skal (W.W. Norton – Liveright) BEST SHORT STORY“Oxford Girl” – Mississippi Noir by Megan Abbott (Akashic Books)“A Paler Shade of Death” – St. Louis Noir by Laura Benedict (Akashic Books)“Autumn at the Automat” – In Sunlight or in Shadow by Lawrence Block (Pegasus Books)“The Music Room” – In Sunlight or in Shadow by Stephen King (Pegasus Books)“The Crawl Space” – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Joyce Carol Oates (Dell Magazines) BEST JUVENILESummerlost by Ally Condie (Penguin Young Readers Group – Dutton BFYR)OCDaniel by Wesley King (Simon & Schuster – Paula Wiseman Books)The Bad Kid by Sarah Lariviere by (Simon & Schuster – Simon & Schuster BFYR)Some Kind of Happiness by Claire Legrand (Simon & Schuster – Simon & Schuster BFYR)Framed! by James Ponti (Simon & Schuster – Aladdin)Things Too Huge to Fix by Saying Sorry by Susan Vaught (Simon & Schuster – Paula Wiseman Books) BEST YOUNG ADULTThree Truths and a Lie by Brent Hartinger (Simon & Schuster – Simon Pulse)The Girl I Used to Be by April Henry (Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group – Henry Holt BFYR)Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse (Hachette Book Group – Little, Brown BFYR)My Sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier (Soho Press – Soho Teen)Thieving Weasels by Billy Taylor (Penguin Random House – Penguin Young Readers – Dial Books) BEST TELEVISION EPISODE TELEPLAY“Episode 1 – From the Ashes of Tragedy” – The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, Teleplay by Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski (FX Network)“The Abominable Bride” – Sherlock, Teleplay by Mark Gatiss & Steven Moffat (Hartswood Films/Masterpiece)“Episode 1 – Dark Road” – Vera, Teleplay by Martha Hillier (Acorn TV)“A Blade of Grass” – Penny Dreadful, Teleplay by John Logan (Showtime) “Return 0” – Person of Interest, Teleplay by Jonathan Nolan & Denise The (CBS/Warner Brothers)“The Bicameral Mind” – Westworld, Teleplay by Jonathan Nolan & Lisa Joy (HBO/Warner Bros. Television) ROBERT L. FISH MEMORIAL AWARD“The Truth of the Moment” – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by E. Gabriel Flores (Dell Magazines) GRAND MASTERMax Allan CollinsEllen Hart RAVEN AWARDDru Ann Love ELLERY QUEEN AWARDNeil Nyren THE SIMON & SCHUSTER – MARY HIGGINS CLARK AWARDThe Other Sister by Dianne Dixon (Sourcebooks – Sourcebooks Landmark)Quiet Neighbors by Catriona McPherson (Llewellyn Worldwide – Midnight Ink)Say No More by Hank Phillippi Ryan (Tor/Forge Books – Forge Books)Blue Moon by Wendy Corsi Staub (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)The Shattered Tree by Charles Todd (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow) Congratulations and good luck to all the nominees.