On the surface, Ken Follett and Margaret Maron might seem to have little in common.
Follett, left, is a master of the international thriller and the historical drama.
Maron is master of the regional mystery, especially her series about Judge Deborah Knott set in the author’s home state of North Carolina.
Two totally different approaches to the work but each set a tone for the mysteries that brought new energy and allowed the genre to branch off in new directions.
In that regard, Follett and Maron have a lot in common, including both being named the 2013 Grand Masters by the Mystery Writers of America. The Grand Master honorees are part of the MWA’s Edgar Awards.
The finalists for the various Edgar categories will be announced in January. All the awards will be presented during the Edgar Awards banquet, which will be held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City on Thursday, May 2, 2013.
Follett has written 20 best sellers and sold more than 100 million books since he began writing in the 1970s. His first success was Eye of the Needle, a spy drama that mixed Nazis, secret codes and a lonely Englishwoman into a gripping tale. It was just the first of many novels that would be labeled enthralling.
With Eye of the Needle, Follett, in my opinion, set the stage for the new thriller, to take that genre to different heights. While I hate the term “think outside the box,” that is exactly what Follett did with Eye of the Needle.
He followed that novel up with Triple, The Key to Rebecca, The Man from St. Petersburg and Lie Down with Lions.
Sweeping is often used to describe Follett’s novels, especially his historical dramas such as Pillars of the Earth, which has been on bestseller lists for years, World Without End, and Fall of Giants.
His most recent is Winter of the World, his follow up to Fall of Giants about the heroism and honor of World War II, and the dawn of the atomic age.
Starting with her brilliant Bootlegger’s Daughter in 1992, Margaret Maron changed the face of the regional thriller.
Certainly the genre was filled with regional mysteries before, but Maron set the stage for a deeper look at cities and states. Maron showed how place affects the characters and that small towns have a pull on its residents that is just as strong as major metro areas. The world didn’t have to revolve around New York or Los Angeles. And there was just as much crime and nastiness in small towns as any big city.
Judge Deborah Knott’s massive family, their closeness and their differences gave readers an insight to their own lives. I am an only child, but grew up surrounded by cousins, and I could relate to Knott’s family issues. Knott’s closeness to her father echoed my own close relationship with my now deceased parents.
Honoring Ken Follett and Margaret Maron makes perfect sense.
In other news about the Edgar Awards, the 2013 Ellery Queen Award will be given to Johnny Temple, founder and editor of Akashic Books. The Ellery Queen award is given to editors or publishers who have distinguished themselves by their generous and wide-ranging support of the genre. Akashic publishes the Noir series of short stories, which, in my opinion, is one of the best ideas for short story collections. Each collection, whether it be San Francisco Noir, Brooklyn Noir, Kansas City Noir, New Orleans Noir, etc., brings insight to the different regions.
The 2013 Raven Award has two honorees.
The Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore in San Diego and Redondo Beach, California, will receive the Raven, which was established in 1953 to recognize outstanding achievement in the mystery field outside the realm of creative writing.
According to MWA, the Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego was opened by Terry Gillman, Maryelizabeth Hart and Jeff Mariotte in 1993. The bookshop has not only served their customers, but has contributed to their community with several successful literacy programs benefiting local schools, libraries and businesses. In 2011, they opened the Redondo Beach store, in the greater LA area.
The other Raven honoree is journalist Oline Cogdill. Yes, that’s right. Me. My reviews, blogs and author profiles appear, obviously in Mystery Scene. I also review for the Sun Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale and those reviews are syndicated around the world.
I have it on pretty good authority that I am thrilled beyond words.
Mystery Scene congratulations all the honorees.