Monday, 01 May 2023

2022 Agatha Award Winners

The winners of the 2022 Agatha Awards were announced at the 35th Malice Domestic in Bethesda, Maryland, on April 30, 2023. The Agatha Awards celebrate the the very best in traditional mystery, works best typified by the writings of authors like the award's namesake, Agatha Christie. The genre is loosely defined as mysteries that contain no explicit sex, excessive gore, or gratuitous violence.

Winners below in bold. Mystery Scene offers its congratulations to all of the nominees and winners!


A World of Curiosities, by Louise Penny (Minotaur)
Bayou Book Thief, by Ellen Byron (Berkley Prime Crime)
Death By Bubble Tea, by Jennifer J. Chow (Berkley)
Fatal Reunion, by Annette Dashofy (Level Best Books)
Dead Man's Leap, by Tina de Bellegarde (Level Best Books)


Because I Could Not Stop for Death, by Amanda Flower (Berkley)
The Counterfeit Wife, by Mally Becker (Level Best Books) 
The Lindbergh Nanny, by Mariah Fredericks (Minotaur)
In Place of Fear, by Catriona McPherson (Mobius)
Under a Veiled Moon, by Karen Odden (Crooked Lane Books)


Cheddar Off Dead, by Korina Moss (St. Martin’s)
Death in the Aegean, by M. A. Monnin (Level Best Books)
The Bangalore Detectives Club, by Harini Nagendra (Constable)
Devil’s Chew Toy, by Rob Osler (Crooked Lane Books)
The Finalist, by Joan Long (Level Best Books)
The Gallery of Beauties, by Nina Wachsman (Level Best Books)


"Beauty and the Beyotch," by Barb Goffman (Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine, Feb. 2022)
"There Comes a Time," by Cynthia Kuhn, Malice Domestic Murder Most Diabolical (Wildside Press)
"Fly Me to the Morgue," by Lisa Q Mathews, Malice Domestic Mystery Most Diabolical (Wildside Press)
"The Minnesota Twins Meet Bigfoot," by Richie Narvaez, Land of 10,000 Thrills, Bouchercon Anthology (Down & Out Books)
"The Invisible Band," by Art Taylor, Edgar & Shamus Go Golden (Down & Out Books)


Promophobia: Taking the Mystery Out of Promoting Crime Fiction, by Diane Vallere Ed. (Sisters in Crime)
The Life of Crime: Detecting the History of Mysteries and Their Creators, by Martin Edwards (HarperCollins)
The Handbook to Agatha Christie: The Bloomsbury Handbook to Agatha Christie, by Mary Anna Evans and J. C. Bernthal (Bloomsbury Academic)
The Science of Murder: The Forensics of Agatha Christie, by Carla Valentine (Sourcebooks)
Agatha Christie: An Elusive Woman, by Lucy Worsley (Pegasus Crime)


Enola Holmes and the Elegant Escapade, Nancy Springer (Wednesday Books)
Daybreak on Raven Island, by Fleur Bradley (Viking Books for Young People)
In Myrtle Peril, by Elizabeth C. Bunce (Algonquin Young Readers)
#shedeservedit, by Greg Herren (Bold Strokes Books)
Sid Johnson and the Phantom Slave Stealer, by Frances Schoonmaker (Auctus Publishers)

Winners of the 2023 Agatha Awards Announced
Mystery Scene
Saturday, 29 April 2023


The Mystery Writers of America have announced the winners for the 2023 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, honoring the best in mystery fiction, nonfiction and television published or produced in 2022. The 77th Annual Edgar® Awards were celebrated on April 27, 2023, at the New York Marriott Marquis Times Square and livestreamed on MWA’s YouTube channel. The Edgar Awards, or “Edgars,” as they are commonly known, are named after MWA’s patron saint Edgar Allan Poe and are presented to authors of distinguished work in various categories.

Winners in bold. Congratulations to all the winners and nominees.


Notes on an Execution, by Danya Kukafka (HarperCollins – William Morrow)
Devil House, by John Darnielle (Farrar, Straus and Giroux – MCD)
Like a Sister, by Kellye Garrett (Hachette Book Group – Little, Brown & Co./Mulholland Books)
Gangland, by Chuck Hogan (Hachette Book Group – Grand Central Publishing)
The Devil Takes You Home, by Gabino Iglesias (Hachette Book Group – Little, Brown & Co./Mulholland Books)
The Maid by Nita Prose, (Penguin Random House – Ballantine Books)


Don’t Know Tough, by Eli Cranor (Soho Press – Soho Crime)
Jackal, by Erin E. Adams (Penguin Random House – Bantam)
Shutter, by Ramona Emerson (Soho Press – Soho Crime)
More Than You’ll Ever Know, by Katie Gutierrez (HarperCollins – William Morrow)
Portrait of a Thief, by Grace D. Li (Penguin Random House – Tiny Reparations Books)


Or Else, by Joe Hart (Amazon Publishing – Thomas & Mercer)
Quarry’s Blood, by Max Allan Collins (Hard Case Crime)
On a Quiet Street, by Seraphina Nova Glass (Harlequin Trade Publishing – Graydon House
Cleopatra’s Dagger, by Carole Lawrence (Amazon Publishing – Thomas & Mercer)
A Familiar Stranger, by A.R. Torre (Amazon Publishing – Thomas & Mercer)


Tell Me Everything: The Story of a Private Investigation, by Erika Krouse (Flatiron Books)
Slenderman: Online Obsession, Mental Illness, and the Violent Crime of Two Midwestern Girls, by Kathleen Hale (Grove Atlantic – Grove Press)
Trailed: One Woman’s Quest to Solve the Shenandoah Murders, by Kathryn Miles (Hachette Book Group – Workman Publishing – Algonquin Books)
American Caliph: The True Story of a Muslim Mystic, a Hollywood Epic, and the 1977 Siege of Washington, D.C., by Shahan Mufti (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
American Demon: Eliot Ness and the Hunt for America’s Jack the Ripper, by Daniel Stashower (Minotaur Books)


The Life of Crime: Detecting the History of Mysteries and Their Creators, by Martin Edwards (HarperCollins – Collins Crime Club)
The Bloomsbury Handbook to Agatha Christie, by Mary Anna Evans & J.C. Bernthal (Bloomsbury – Bloomsbury Academic)
The Crime World of Michael Connelly: A Study of His Works and Their Adaptations, by David Geherin (McFarland)
The Woman Beyond the Attic: The V.C. Andrews Story, by Andrew Neiderman (Simon & Schuster – Gallery Books)
Agatha Christie: An Elusive Woman, by Lucy Worsley (Pegasus Books – Pegasus Crime)


“Red Flag,” Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, by Gregory Fallis (Dell Magazines)
“Backstory,” Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, by Charles John Harper (Dell Magazines)
“Locked-In,” Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, by William Burton McCormick (Dell Magazines)
“The Amnesty Box,” Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, by Tim McLoughlin (Akashic Books)
“First You Dream, Then You Die,” Black is the Night, by Donna Moore (Titan Books)


Aggie Morton Mystery Queen: The Seaside Corpse, by Marthe Jocelyn (Penguin Random House Canada – Tundra Books)
The Swallowtail Legacy: Wreck at Ada’s Reef, by Michael D. Beil (Pixel+Ink)
The Area 51 Files, by Julie Buxbaum (Random House Children’s Books – Delacorte Press)
Aggie Morton Mystery Queen: The Seaside Corpse, by Marthe Jocelyn (Penguin Random House Canada – Tundra Books)
Chester Keene Cracks the Code, by Kekla Magoon (Random House Children’s Books – Wendy Lamb Books)


The Red Palace, by June Hur (Macmillan Children’s Books – Feiwel & Friends)
Pretty Dead Queens, by Alexa Donne (Random House Children’s Books – Crown BFYR)
Frightmares, by Eva V. Gibson (Random House Children’s Books – Underlined)
The Black Girls Left Standing, by Juliana Goodman (Macmillan Children’s Books – Feiwel & Friends)
Lock the Doors, by Vincent Ralph (Sourcebooks – Fire)


“Episode 1” – Magpie Murders, Written by Anthony Horowitz (Masterpiece/PBS)
“One Mighty and Strong” – Under the Banner of Heaven, Written by Brandon Boyce (Hulu/FX)
“Episode 1″ – Karen Pirie, Written by Emer Kenny (BritBox)
“When Harry Met Fergus” – Harry Wild, Written by David Logan (Acorn TV)
“The Reagan Way” – Blue Bloods, Written by Siobhan Byrne O’Connor (CBS)
“Eighteen Wheels A Predator” – Law & Order: SVU, Written by Brianna Yellen, Kathy Dobie & Monet Hurst-Mendoza (NBC Universal)


“Dogs in the Canyon” – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, by Mark Harrison (Dell Magazines)


A Dreadful Splendor, by B.R. Myers (HarperCollins – William Morrow)
Because I Could Not Stop for Death, by Amanda Flower (Penguin Random House – Berkley)
The Woman in the Library, by Sulari Gentill (Sourcebooks – Poisoned Pen Press)
The Disinvited Guest, by Carol Goodman (HarperCollins – William Morrow)
Never Name the Dead, by D.M. Rowell (Crooked Lane Books)


Hideout, by Louisa Luna (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group – Doubleday)
Secret Lives, by Mark de Castrique (Sourcebooks – Poisoned Pen Press)
An Unforgiving Place, by Claire Kells (Crooked Lane Books)
Behind the Lie, by Emilya Naymark (Crooked Lane Books)
Secrets Typed in Blood, by Stephen Spotswood (Knopf Doubleday Publishing – Doubleday)


Buried in a Good Book, by Tamara Berry (Sourcebooks – Poisoned Pen Press)
The Shadow of Memory, by Connie Berry (Crooked Lane Books)
Smile Beach Murder, by Alicia Bessette (Penguin Random House – Berkley)
Desert Getaway, by Michael Craft (Brash Books)
The Marlow Murder Club, by Robert Thorogood (Sourcebooks – Poisoned Pen Press)


Michael Connelly
Joanne Fluke


Crime Writers of Color Eddie Muller for Noir Alley and The Film Noir Foundation


The Strand Magazine

2023 MWA Edgar Award Winners Announced
Mystery Scene
Thursday, 27 April 2023

LJ Sellers

Even though I write fiction—30 novels so far—I’m a feature news junkie. I ignore most reporting about everyday crime, but I love the quirky stuff, especially chain-of-event stories. Some are so interesting or unbelievable that I scour the details and can’t stop thinking about the circumstances. When that happens, I know the crime or character belongs in my next book. Certain stories about social or cultural events hit me the same way, and when those things occur around the same time, I start asking, What if...?

For AfterStrike, the inciting article was about a woman who’d been hit by lightning. At first, she thought she was unharmed, so the ER doctors released her, unconcerned. But over time, her memory started to fail, and she experienced headaches, nerve pain, and mental fog. Medical experts kept telling her she was fine and that her symptoms were likely caused by stress. Sound familiar? Eventually she lost her job, her health, and her spouse. But in time, she found a support group (Lightning Strike & Electrical Shock Survivors), which helped her recover, at least emotionally. The group, which holds a yearly convention, is fascinating in itself, and I knew I had to explore her journey.

That compulsion was solidified a few months later when I read a second article about a lightning strike survivor, then met (and danced with) a man with no arms. As a child he’d climbed an electrical pole, and his limbs had been blown off by an intense shock. Clearly, the universe wanted me to tell their stories.

AfterStrike by LJ SellersAround the same time, a headline in a prominent news magazine caught my attention. The subtitle about how a “family bloodied itself to pocket six million” sucked me in. I absorbed every fascinating detail, wondering how anyone could get caught up in such a scam. I’m dying to share some specifics—such as the scary bag of tools the patriarch carried—but I also don’t want to spoil the story for those who haven’t read it yet. Some of the suspense builds from not knowing those oddities until the end.

To develop a thriller plot, I started bouncing those ideas off each other to see how they could interact. I considered writing about the support group as amateur detectives, but quickly rejected the concept. I wanted the story to be a standalone...and intensely compelling. The more I plotted, the more I realized I needed a law enforcement character. Why not bring in an undercover FBI agent my readers’ already love? So halfway through, Agent Dallas gets involved and cranks up the heat.

The story is set in my homeland, the Pacific Northwest, with scenes in Portland, Oregon, and Tacoma, Washington. But the location isn’t particularly relevant. Crime and fraud occur everywhere, and so do lightning strikes. In fact, there are around 240,000 lightning strike incidents every year around the world, with 2,000 deaths. Another unexpected detail: Several members of the LS&ESS group have been hit twice.

With a multiple timeline structure, AfterStrike is the most challenging novel I’ve written. Readers also say it’s my best work, and the response has been amazing. In addition to enjoying the story for its own sake, I hope people will come away with more compassion for those around them who might be suffering in silence from shocking invisible injuries.

L.J. Sellers writes the bestselling Detective Jackson mysteries—a four-time winner of the Readers Favorite Awards. She also pens the high-octane Agent Dallas series, the Extractors series, and provocative standalone thrillers. Sellers also writes thriller scripts, including the true story of how she rescued her grandchildren from a dangerous cult in Costa Rica. She resides in Eugene, Oregon, where many of her 30 novels are set.

Shocking True Details Make Great Fiction
L.J. Sellers