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Christmas Themed Mysteries – 2020

Christmas seems to be the most popular holiday topic for mysteries. Surprising to me at least, there were hundreds to choose from. Yes, hundreds. Do the writers deliver a way for us to fantasize about doing in the dastardly boyfriend/cousin/landlord? Or do they have a secret, but sweet, way to resolve a pesky problem? Only you and your active imagination know for sure.  😉

 

If you are a fan of Christmas themed fiction, then this updated 2020 list of forty-seven 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

Donna Andrews: “The Gift of the Magpie”  

Mary Angela: “Very Merry Murder”

Joy Avon: “In Peppermint Peril”

 

Laurien Berenson “Here Comes Santa Paws

Laura Bradford “A Killer Carol

Leslie Budewitz “As the Christmas Cookie Crumbles”

Ellen Byron “A Cajun Christmas Killing”

 

Lynn Cahoon “A Stocking Full of Murder

Nancy Coco “Have Yourself a Fudgy Little Christmas

Cate Conte “A Whisker of a Doubt

Maya Corrigan “Gingerdead Man

 

Maddie Day “Candy Slain Murder

Vicki Delany “Dying in a Winter Wonderland

Leighann Dobbs “Grievance in Gingerbread Alley

 

Barbara Early “Murder on the Toy Town Express”

Peggy Ehrhart “Silent Knit, Deadly Knit

 

Morris Fenris: “Christmas Angel Charity

Beatrice Fishback “Winter Writerland

Amanda Flower “Candy Cane Crime

Joanne Fluke “Christmas Cake Murder

Jacqueline Frost “Twas the Knife Before Christmas

 

Daryl Wood Gerber “Wreath between the Lines

Patrice Greenwood “As Red as Any Blood

 

Carolyn Haines “A Garland of Bones

Victoria Hamilton “Breaking the Mould”

Jo A Heistand “A Recipe for Murder

Julie Hennrikus “A Christmas Peril”

 

Liz Ireland “Mrs. Claus and the Santaland Slayings

CeeCee James “The Frosty Taste of Scandal

Miranda James “Six Cats a Slayin”

Tina Kashian “Mistletoe, Moussaka, and Murder

 

Laura Levine: “Death of a Neighborhood Scrooge”

Leslie Meier “Tis the Season Murder

Nancy Naigle “Christmas in Evergreen: Tidings of Joy

Carlene O’Connor “Murder at an Irish Christmas

Gail Oust: “The Twelve Dice of Christmas”

 

James Patterson, Maxine Paetro: “The 19th Christmas

Anne Perry “A Christmas Resolution

Summer Prescott and others “Cozy Christmas Reunion: Holiday Cozy Mysteries

 

Heather Redmond “A Christmas Carol Murder

Barbara Ross “Nogged Off

 

Karen Schaler “Finding Christmas

Julie Seedorf:  “The Discombobulated Decipherers”

Jane Willan:  “The Hour of Death”

Sherryl Woods: “Christmas at White Pines

 

Happy Choosing!

 

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National Book Awards – 2020

The mission of the National Book Foundation is to celebrate the best literature in America. NBF is guided by the belief that books and literature are for everyone, no matter the geographic location, level of economics, or ethnicity of the readers.

Click on the highlighted titles for more information about the books.
The winners are highlighted in red.

Fiction:

Nonfiction:

Young People’s Literature:

Finalists for Translated Literature: (Recently, I had occasion to read a book in a language that was not my native tongue. I had a copy of the original on my shelf and compared the two. While 90% of the book was beautifully translated, there were sections where the translator didn’t quite ‘get’ the nuances of the language. Bravo to those translators that do it well, because it can make all the difference in the reader’s perception of the original intent of the author.)

Congratulations to all the finalists and winners!

 

 

 

 

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Book List: Author Barbara Ross

 

Author Barbara Ross’ Maine Clambake Mysteries series is thoroughly entertaining with terrific writing, an engaging cast of core characters, intriguing murders, and the Maine setting that is a personality in itself. It is no wonder that the series has been nominated so often for top mystery awards. Our own NBR readers chose “Clammed Up” as a Top Ten read for that year. I have tried several of the delicious recipes in the books and can report that they are tasty and easy to make.

 

Click on the titles and check out the books:

Maine Clambake Mysteries:

Clammed Up”   (review here)

Boiled Over

Musseled Out”  (review here)

Fogged Inn”     (review here)

Iced Under

Stowed Away”  (It won the Maine Literary Award for Crime Fiction. Truly an excellent read.)

Steamed Open” (review here)

Sealed Off

Shucked Apart” (coming in February, 2021)


Jane Darrowfield Mysteries:

Jane Darrowfield, Professional Busybody” (First in new series, review here, part of the ‘Four Books, Four Genres’ post)

Jane Darrowfield and the Madwoman Next Door


Shorter Stories:

Nogged Off” – part of the Christmas collection, “Eggnog Murder”

Logged On” – novella in the Christmas collection, “Yule Log Murder”

“Hallowed Out” – novella in the Halloween collection, “Haunted House Murder


Stand Alone:
The Death of an Ambitious Woman


Buy them all and Enjoy!  🙂

 

 

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Bloody Scotland Crime Book of the Year 2020 – McIlvanney Prize

Covid19 has caused another mighty crime fiction conference to cancel its gathering. But the writers did the amazing work and the prizes will still be awarded. The Bloody Scotland organizers have announced the shortlist for the Bloody Scotland Debut Crime Book of the Year and the longlist for the McIlvanney Prize for the Scottish Crime Book of the Year. The McIlvanney Prize recognizes excellence in Scottish crime writing, and includes a prize of £1,000 and nationwide promotion in Waterstones. This time, I’ve indicated the winners in red, as well as sharing the Bloody Scotland photos of the prizes.  🙂

 

Debut Short List

Deborah Masson, Hold Your Tongue

 

 

 

 

Stephen O’Rourke, The Crown Agent
Marion Todd, See Them Run
Francine Toon, Pine

 

 McIlvanney Prize Shortlist for the Scottish Crime Book of the Year
Andrew James Greig, Whirligig
Doug Johnstone, A Dark Matter
Ambrose Parry, The Art of Dying  aka Chris Broomyre and Marisa Haetzman
Francine Toon, Pine

 

 

 

 

Congratulations to all the nominees and winners!

 

 

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2020 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction

 

The Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction was established to commemorate the 50th anniversary of “To Kill A Mockingbird,” written by former Alabama law student, Harper Lee. For the past several years, the University of Alabama School of Law and the ABA Journal have partnered to award the prize to a published work of fiction from the previous year that best demonstrates “the role of lawyers in society and their power to effect change.”

 

Congratulations to the finalists (chosen from a field of 21) for the 2020 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction. The winner is indicated in red.

Sujata Massey: “The Satapur Moonstone”

Victor Methos: “The Hallows”

Chad Zunker: “An Equal Justice”

 

Previous winners:

2011 – John Grisham, “The Confession”

2012 – Michael Connelly, “The Fifth Witness”

2013 – Paul Goldstein, “Havana Requiem”

2014 – John Grisham, “Sycamore Row”

2015 – Deborah Johnson, “The Secret of Magic”  

2016 – Attica Locke, “Pleasantville”

2017 – James Grippando, “Gone Again”

2018 – C.E. Tobisman, “Proof.”

2019 – Sharon Bala, “The Boat People”

 

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CrimeFest 2020

Covid19 has struck down yet another crime fiction convention, this time CrimeFest, held in Bristol, UK, each year. In most cases, eligible titles were submitted by publishers, and a team of British crime fiction reviewers voted to establish the shortlists and the winning titles. The winners were announced on July 6th. The authors and their books are innocent bystanders in this pandemic, and deserve to have your attention and support. Click on the links to take a look at the nominated titles. The winners are indicated in red.

 

CRIMEFEST has a new sponsor and they have instituted a new award for a crime novel by a debut author first published in the British Isles in 2019. The winning author receives a £1,000 prize as well as a Bristol Blue Glass commemorative award.

Specsavers Crime Fiction Debut Award nominees:
– Fiona Erskine for The Chemical Detective
– Katja Ivar for Evil Things
– Carolyn Kirby for The Conviction of Cora Burns
– Alex Michaelides for The Silent Patient
Laura Shepherd-Robinson for Blood & Sugar
– Holly Watt for To The Lions


AUDIBLE SOUNDS OF CRIME AWARD
The Audible Sounds of Crime Award is for the best unabridged crime audiobook first published in the United Kingdom in 2019 in both printed and audio formats.

Audible Sounds of Crime Award nominees:
– Kate Atkinson for Big Sky, read by Jason Isaacs
– Oyinkan Braithwaite for My Sister, the Serial Killer, read by Weruche Opia
– Alex Callister for Winter Dark, read by Ell Potter
Lee Child for Blue Moon, read by Jeff Harding
– Lisa Jewell for The Family Upstairs, read by Tamaryn Payne, Bea Holland & Dominic Thorburn
– T.M. Logan for The Holiday, read by Laura Kirman
– Peter May for The Man with No Face, read by Peter Forbes
– Alex Michaelides for The Silent Patient, read by Louise Brealey & Jack Hawkins


eDUNNIT AWARD
The eDunnit Award is for the best crime fiction ebook first published in both hardcopy and in electronic format in the United Kingdom in 2019.

eDunnit Award nominees:
– Helen FitzGerald for Worst Case Scenario

– Sarah Hilary for Never Be Broken
– Andrew Taylor for The King’s Evil
– L.C. Tyler for The Maltese Herring
– Holly Watt for To The Lions
– Don Winslow for The Border


LAST LAUGH AWARD
The Last Laugh Award is for the best humorous crime novel first published in the United Kingdom in 2019.

Last Laugh Award nominees:
– William Boyle for A Friend is a Gift you Give Yourself
– Hannah Dennison for Tidings of Death at Honeychurch Hall
– Helen FitzGerald for Worst Case Scenario
– Christopher Fowler for Bryant & May – The Lonely Hour
– Antti Tuomainen for Little Siberia
– L.C. Tyler for The Maltese Herring


H.R.F. KEATING AWARD

The H.R.F. Keating Award is for the best biographical or critical book related to crime fiction first published in the United Kingdom in 2019.

H.R.F. Keating Award nominees:
– Ursula Buchan for Beyond The Thirty-Nine Steps

– John Curran for The Hooded Gunman
– Barry Forshaw for Crime Fiction: A Reader’s Guide


BEST CRIME NOVEL FOR CHILDREN
This award is for the best crime novel for children (aged 8-12) first published in the United Kingdom in 2019.

Nominees for the CrimeFest Award for Best Crime Novel for Children (ages 8-12):
– P.G. Bell for The Great Brain Robbery
– Vivian French for The Steam Whistle Theatre Company
– Sophie Green for Potkin and Stubbs
– A.M. Howell for The Garden of Lost Secrets
– Simon Lelic for The Haven
– Thomas Taylor for Malamander


BEST CRIME NOVEL FOR YOUNG ADULTS
This award is for the best crime novel for young adults (aged 12-16) first published in the United Kingdom in 2019.

Nominees for the CrimeFest Award for Best Crime Novel for Young Adults (ages 12-16):
– Kathryn Evans for Beauty Sleep
– John Grisham for Theodore Boone: The Accomplice
– Samuel J. Halpin for The Peculiar Peggs of Riddling Woods
– Simon Mason for Hey Sherlock!
– Tom Pollock for Heartstream
– Nikesh Shukla for The Boxer

Congratulations to all the nominees and winners!

 

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2020 Hammett Prize

 

The 2020 Hammett Prize is bestowed by The International Association of Crime Writers (North American Branch). The award was announced (but will be presented later this year) for a 2019 work of literary excellence in the field of crime writing by an American or Canadian author. The prize is the famous ‘Thin Man’ bronze trophy, and bragging rights. 🙂

Please click on the nominated titles to find out more about the books. The winner is indicated in red.

 

THE MURALS, by William Bayer

 

BLUFF, by Jane Stanton Hitchcock

 

NORCO ’80: THE TRUE STORY OF THE MOST SPECTACULAR BANK ROBBERY IN AMERICAN HISTORY, by Peter Houlahan (non-fiction)

 

THE ADVENTURE OF THE PECULIAR PROTOCOLS, by Nicholas Meyer

 

BLOOD RELATIONS, by Jonathan Moore

 

 

Congratulations to all the nominees and the winner!

 

 

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