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The Edgar Awards – 2020

 

Each year at this time, the Mystery Writers of America (MWA) announces the nominees for The Edgar Awards, honoring the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction, and television published or produced in the previous year. The Edgar Awards for 2020 will be presented at the annual Gala Banquet at the end of April in New York City.


BEST NOVEL
“Fake Like Me” by Barbara Bourland
“The Stranger Diaries” by Elly Griffiths
“The River” by Peter Heller
“Smoke and Ashes” by Abir Mukherjee
“Good Girl, Bad Girl” by Michael Robotham

 

BEST FIRST NOVEL BY AN AMERICAN AUTHOR
“My Lovely Wife” by Samantha Downing
“Miracle Creek” by Angie Kim
“The Good Detective” by John McMahon
“The Secrets We Kept” by Lara Prescott
“Three-Fifths” by John Vercher
“American Spy” by Lauren Wilkinson


BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL
“Dread of Winter” by Susan Alice Bickford
“Freedom Road” by William Lashner
“Blood Relations” by Jonathan Moore
“February’s Son” by Alan Parks
“The Hotel Neversink” by Adam O’Fallon Price
“The Bird Boys” by Lisa Sandlin


BEST FACT CRIME
“The Ghosts of Eden Park: The Bootleg King, the Women Who Pursued Him, and the Murder that Shocked Jazz-Age America” by Karen Abbott
“The Less People Know About Us: A Mystery of Betrayal, Family Secrets, and Stolen Identity” by Axton Betz-Hamilton
“American Predator: The Hunt for the Most Meticulous Serial Killer of the 21st Century” by Maureen Callahan
“Norco ’80: The True Story of the Most Spectacular Bank Robbery in American History” by Peter Houlahan
“Indecent Advances: A Hidden History of True Crime and Prejudice Before Stonewall” by James Polchin


THE SIMON & SCHUSTER MARY HIGGINS CLARK AWARD
“The Night Visitors” by Carol Goodman
“One Night Gone” by Tara Laskowski
“Strangers at the Gate” by Catriona McPherson
“Where the Missing Go” by Emma Rowley
“The Murder List” by Hank Phillippi Ryan


THE G.P. PUTNAM’S SONS SUE GRAFTON MEMORIAL AWARD
“Shamed” by Linda Castillo
“Borrowed Time” by Tracy Clark
“The Missing Ones” by Edwin Hill
“The Satapur Moonstone” by Sujata Massey
“The Alchemist’s Illusion” by Gigi Pandian
“Girl Gone Missing” by Marcie R. Rendon


Nominees for other categories (Best Critical/Biographical, Best Short Story, Juvenile, YA, Teleplay) can be found at https://mysterywriters.org/mwa-announces-the-2020-edgar-nominations/

 

Congratulations to all the nominees for the 2020 Edgar Awards!

 

 

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The Agatha Awards – 2019 Books

 

The nominees for the Agatha Awards for 2019 Books (named for Agatha Christie) have been announced. The nominated titles will be voted upon by the attendees at the annual Malice Domestic conference for mystery and crime writers/fans in early May, 2020. Awards will be announced at the banquet. The nominated books were first published in the United States by a living author between January 1 and December 31, 2019.


The Agatha Awards recognize the "traditional mystery," meaning that there is no graphic sex and no excessive violence in the writing. Thrillers or hard-boiled detectives cannot be found here, but instead, picture Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot at work.


Congratulations to all the nominees!  🙂

 

Best Contemporary Novel (6 titles this year)
“Fatal Cajun Festival” by Ellen Byron 
“The Long Call” by Ann Cleeves 
“Fair Game” by Annette Dashofy 
“The Missing Ones” by Edwin Hill 
“A Better Man” by Louise Penny 
“The Murder List” by Hank Philippi Ryan 

 

Best First Mystery Novel
“A Dream of Death” by Connie Berry 
“One Night Gone” by Tara Laskowski
“Murder Once Removed” by S. C. Perkins 
“When It’s Time for Leaving” by Ang Pompano
“Staging for Murder” by Grace Topping 

 

Best Historical Mystery
“Love and Death Among the Cheetahs” by Rhys Bowen
“Murder Knocks Twice” by Susanna Calkins 
“The Pearl Dagger” by L. A. Chandlar 
“Charity’s Burden” by Edith Maxwell 
“The Naming Game” by Gabriel Valjan 

 

Best Nonfiction
“Frederic Dannay, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and the Art of the Detective Short Story” by Laird R. Blackwell 
“Blonde Rattlesnake: Burmah Adams, Tom White, and the 1933 Crime Spree that Terrified Los Angeles” by Julia Bricklin 
“Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud and the Last Trial of Harper Lee” by Casey Cep 
“The Mutual Admiration Society: How Dorothy L. Sayers and her Oxford Circle Remade the World for Women” by Mo Moulton 
“The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper” by Hallie Rubenhold 

 

Best Children/Young Adult
“Kazu Jones and the Denver Dognappers” by Shauna Holyoak 
“Two Can Keep a Secret” by Karen MacManus 
“The Last Crystal” by Frances Schoonmaker 
“Top Marks for Murder (A Most Unladylike Mystery)”
by Robin Stevens 
“Jada Sly, Artist and Spy” by Sherri Winston 

 

Best Short Story (links are highlighted)
"Grist for the Mill" by Kaye George in A Murder of Crows (Darkhouse Books)
"Alex’s Choice" by Barb Goffman in Crime Travel (Wildside Press)
"The Blue Ribbon" by Cynthia Kuhn in Malice Domestic 14: Mystery Most Edible (Wildside Press)
"The Last Word" by Shawn Reilly Simmons, Malice Domestic 14: Mystery Most Edible (Wildside Press)
"Better Days" by Art Taylor in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine

Happy Reading!

 

 

 

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“New York Times Best Fiction and Nonfiction of 2019”

 

It’s always interesting to see which books the Book Review editors choose for their “Best of…” lists for the year. The titles are sometimes bestsellers, sometimes from debut or international writers, but more importantly, the NYT Book Review editors have fallen in love with the story (or the writing) and ta-da! the book makes the list.

 

Check out their Best of Fiction and Nonfiction choices from 2019. Listed in alphabetical order by author, click on the book titles to read their reviews.

 

Fiction:

 

Night Boat to Tangier” by Kevin Barry

 

Exhalation” by Ted Chiang

 

The Topeka School” by Ben Lerner

 

 

 

Lost Children Archive” by Valeria Luiselli

 

 

Disappearing Earth” by Julia Phillips

 

Nonfiction:

 

The Yellow House” by Sarah M. Broom

 

The Club” by Leo Damrosch

 

Midnight in Chernobyl” by Adam Higginbotham

 

 

 

 

 

Say Nothing” by Patrick Radden Keefe

 

 

 

No Visible Bruises” by Rachel Louise Snyder

 

Have you read any of the titles? Please let us know what you thought in the comments below.

 

 

 

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Christmas Themed Mysteries – 2019

 

Christmas may be the most popular holiday topic for mysteries. When compiling this list, there were hundreds to choose from. Yes, hundreds. Do we, as readers, connect with the topic of murder at the holidays because our families and friends bring out the worst in us? Do the writers deliver a way for us to fantasize about doing in the dastardly boyfriend/cousin/landlord? Only you and your active imagination know for sure.  😉

 

If you are a fan of Christmas themed fiction, then this list of thirty-eight novels, novellas, and short stories is for you. The books were recommended by avid cozy booksellers, as well as NBR subscribers. Click on the titles to find out more about the books, then snuggle up with a great Christmas read.

 

Susan Wittig Albert: “The Darling Dahlias & the Poinsettia Puzzle

 

Gretchen Archer:  “Double Deck the Halls

 

Carolyn Ridder Aspenson + 10 other authors: “The 12 Cozy Mystery Carols of Christmas

 

Donna Andrews: “Owl Be Home for Christmas”  

 

Mary Angela: “Very Merry Murder”

 

Joy Avon: “In Peppermint Peril”

 

Laurien Berenson: “Wagging through the Snow

 

Leslie Budewitz: “As the Christmas Cookie Crumbles”

 

Ellen Byron: “A Cajun Christmas Killing”

 

Lynn Cahoon: “Santa Puppy”

 

Vicki Delany: “Silent Night, Deadly Night

 

Leighann Dobbs: “Grievance in Gingerbread Alley

 

Barbara Early: “Murder on the Toy Town Express”

 

Morris Fenris: “Miracle of Christmas Boxed Set

 

Beatrice Fishback: “Winter Writerland
 

Amanda Flower: “Premeditated Peppermint

 

Joanne Fluke, Laura Levine, Leslie Meier: “Christmas Sweets

 

Jacqueline Frost: “Twelve Slays of Christmas

 

Daryl Wood Gerber: “Wreath between the Lines

 

Patrice Greenwood: “As Red as Any Blood

 

Carolyn Haines: “Gift of Bones

 

Victoria Hamilton: “Breaking the Mould”

 

Jo A Heistand: “A Recipe for Murder

 

Julie Hennrikus: “A Christmas Peril”

 

CeeCee James: “The Frosty Taste of Scandal

 

Miranda James: “Six Cats a Slayin”

 

Laura Levine: “Death of a Neighborhood Scrooge”

 

Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis, Barbara Ross: “Yule Log Murder

 

Liz Mugavero: “Purring around the Christmas Tree

 

Nancy Naigle: “Christmas Joy

 

Gail Oust: “The Twelve Dice of Christmas”

 

James Patterson, Maxine Paetro: “The 19th Christmas

 

Anne Perry: “A Christmas Gathering

 

Summer Prescott: “Christmas Reunion Killer”

 

Karen Schaler: “Christmas Camp

 

Julie Seedorf:  “The Discombobulated Decipherers”

 

Jane Willan:  “The Hour of Death”

 

Sherryl Woods: “Christmas at White Pines

 

Happy Choosing! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Book List: Jessica Estavao/Jessie Crockett/Jessica Ellicott


Jessica Estavao is a talented, bestselling, award-winning New England author with several entertaining mystery series to her credit. She is one of the “Wicked Authors,” a group of women writing wicked good mysteries mostly set in New England. Take a look at the list of her books below and see if you’ve read them all. (Click on the titles to learn more about the books)

 

Granite State Mysteries  (as Jessie Crockett)

Her debut mystery in the Granite State series, “Live Free or Die”, was the 2011 winner of the Daphne DuMaurier Award for Mainstream Mystery, an auspicious beginning to her career.

 

Sugar Grove Mysteries (as Jessie Crockett)

The series begins “Drizzled with Death,” one hilarious romp through championship pancake breakfasts, maple syrup, and animals on the loose. Who knew that falling dead head first into a stack of pancakes could be used as a crime scene setting?

 


Drizzled with Death” – review here  

 

Maple Mayhem

 

Sticky Situation

 


 

 

Change of Fortune Mysteries (as Jessica Estavao)


Jessie moved her next series back in time to 1890’s Orchard Beach, Maine, with a con artist and tarot card reader protagonist. Ruby tries to stay one step ahead of the law, while helping her straight arrow aunt keep her hotel. Great fun featuring an innovative female lead character.

 

Whispers Beyond the Veil” 

review here     

 

 

 

 

Whispers of Warning

 

 

 


 

Beryl and Edwina Mysteries (as Jessica Ellicott)

Jessie’s current series is set in post WW1 England and introduces the former Finishing School duo of Edwina, the conservative English character, to Beryl’s adventurous American persona. They reunite many years later in the quiet (or is it?) southern English village of Warmsley Parva when Edwina advertises for a boarder and Beryl crashes onto her property.

 

Beryl and Edwina, while culturally and personally quite different, are fond of each other even after years apart. They find that their distinctive talents help them wonderfully well in their new business venture, a ‘private inquiry agency’ that solves mysteries in the charming village, while earning them an income.

 

Ellicott has written a series that is both historically enlightening and entertaining, with the sometimes serious subject matter of the day woven into the story of the two women drawn together by economics as well as friendship. Beautifully researched, the books reveal societal views about women 100 years ago, and peek inside the quaint village shops that have survived despite the post-war challenges.

 

Edwina’s shrewd intellect and Beryl’s clever approach to the mysteries outwit lesser minds and create a few comical moments to save the day and befuddle the clueless. These two engaging, intelligent women will capture your hearts and minds as you enjoy these wonderful books.

 

 

 

 

 

Murder in an English Village” 

review here

 

 

Murder Flies the Coop

 

Murder Cuts the Mustard

 

 

 

 

 

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Barnes & Noble booksellers choose 8 Best of Year Finalists

 

Barnes and Noble did a survey of booksellers at its brick and mortar stores, asking which books they enjoyed selling the most during the year. Here’s the list of the eight top nominees. In December, the booksellers chose among the finalists for the B&N Book of the Year. It's highlighted in red.
 

Click on the titles to learn more about the books.

 

"The Testaments (Barnes & Noble Book Club Edition)"  by Margaret Atwood

 

 

"The Food of Sichuan"  by Fuchsia Dunlop

 

 

"Mythos: (Ancient Greek Mythology Book for Adults, Modern Telling of Classical Greek Myths Book)"  by Stephen Fry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse"  by Charlie Mackesy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"The Silent Patient"  by Alex Michaelides
 

 

"Olive, Again"  by Elizabeth Strout

 

 

"No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference"  by Greta Thunberg

 

 

"The Nickel Boys (Barnes & Noble Book Club Edition)"  by Colson Whitehead

 

 

What do you think of the list? Which one(s) did you read? Let us know in the comments below.  🙂

 

 

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“Four Books, Four Genres for Fall”

 

Can't quite decide what to read this Fall? Here are four absorbing suggestions for your reading pleasure.

 

Racing
"Kiss the Bricks" by Tammy Kaehler

“Kiss the Bricks” is the 5th in the Kate Reilly Racing Mystery series, each set at a different major race track. This title refers to the tradition of the winner of the Indianapolis 500 kneeling down to kiss the yard of bricks at the finish line.

 

Kate puts in the fastest time at the first practice session at Indy, a feat done only once before by a woman (PJ) dead thirty years before, supposedly by suicide because of the stress of race week. But as the press would have it, Kate and the other woman become linked for all the wrong reasons. As if competing in the Indy 500 wasn’t enough of a challenge, Kate must fight against gender bias in one of the most male dominated sports events on the planet, prove that PJ didn’t commit suicide, and that she (Kate) is capable of holding her own on the track. PLUS, take care of her sponsor responsibilities, and deal with harsh realizations about her own team.

 

Except for actually being there, I have never felt so close to the track as when reading Tammy Kaehler’s mystery series. I was in the car with Kate as she strategically shifted through the turns, assessed the responsiveness of the car, and tested her limits as a driver. Kaehler gives us an intimate look inside the world of competitive racing, as well as the rivalries on and off the oval. If you love fast cars and have ever wondered what it would be like to do a few laps on the big tracks, read all five books and enjoy the mysteries as the pages fly by.

 

Kidnapping
"Say Nothing"  by Brad Parks

Books centered around kidnapping often involve important people with boatloads of money (or kidnapping insurance) who will spend anything to get their loved ones back. They become targets for extortion and blackmail, because of all that money or power. In “Say Nothing,” Judge Sampson’s twins are kidnapped and he jumps through hoops to keep his integrity, yet meet the never-ending demands of the kidnapper. In court, Sampson is compelled to rule in the kidnapper’s favor, but even that ruling results in an unexpected outcome. He and his wife despair of there ever being a positive outcome.

 

“Say Nothing” is a departure from the average kidnapping tome, with its jaw-dropping twists and turns, deceptions and lies timed so perfectly that Parks dares you to put the book down before finding out what happens on the next page. Spouses and relatives turn on each other in tragic ways, while colleagues are left in the dark about the judge’s erratic behavior on the bench. Can he save his children? Will he be able to continue to say nothing? “Say Nothing” is a barnburner of a book.

 

Senior Sleuth Cozy Mystery

"Jane Darrowfield, Professional Busybody" by Barbara Ross

Barbara Ross’ new series begins with a glorious look behind the scenes at a dysfunctional adult community with all its squabbles, jealousies, and competitions. Jane Darrowfield is hired to analyze the problems that plague the manager of Walden Spring. She is tasked to make suggestions to improve the toxic atmosphere before word gets out and sales completely stop at this gated housing area for the over 60 crowd. Jane’s observation right away: “Just like high school, with the cool kids at one table.”
 

Can the place be rescued from its unruly residents? More than one mystery is discovered, and when accusations are made, secrets are unveiled with tragic consequences. Real-life baby boomers will laugh at the shenanigans because after all, that stuff doesn’t really happen, does it? As a visitor to a few senior communities around the country, I can tell you (except for the murder) Ross’ descriptions and observations are spot on.  lolol  

 

Jane Darrowfield is a refreshing new protagonist, a little surprised that anyone would pay $800 a day for her guidance, but she has solid sleuthing skills and no-nonsense advice. She makes a rather good busybody. Toss in an unexpected romance for Jane along with great friends, and we have a terrific launch to the series. I can’t wait for the next book.

 

True Crime

"Unholy Covenant" by Lynn Chandler Willis

“Unholy Covenant” is a fascinating fictional (some names and details have been changed to protect the innocent) account of Patricia Kimble’s real-life murder in small town North Carolina. Willis, former newspaper owner/reporter, followed the Kimble case throughout the investigations and during the trial, and had access to all the major players. I was thoroughly engaged as Willis described what led up to the murder of this inconvenient wife.

 

Friends and neighbors of the victim knew that Patricia was madly in love with her husband well before they married, but Ted Kimble was a player. The marriage may have been the result of a wish to own a local business. “Marry the right girl, get the business" – Kimble’s friend and mentor promised.

 

But, there is more to the story and Willis skillfully lays out all the drama in absorbing detail, giving us a chilling look at the ways Kimble manipulated those in his life. He ruled his corner of the world by fear, lies, intimidation, and a bit of charm, taking advantage of the weaknesses he saw in the people around him. Investigations into the murder, arson, and burglary ring associated with the case revealed a greedy side to Ted Kimble, a preacher’s son, that was his eventual undoing.

 

Follow along as accusations, confessions, and hit lists are revealed in "Unholy Covenant," an amazing look behind the scenes of what is still a case that intrigues the public decades later.

 

 

 

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