Thursday, 29 April 2021

Nothing can beat the thrill of being in person at the annual Edgar Awards.

I have enjoyed everything about it—the cocktail party, the chance to talk to editors and writers and the heartfelt speeches.

Certain moments have always stood out through the years—moments that can’t be recreated on Zoom.

And I also love getting all dressed up.

So, maybe next year we can all gather together.

But the organizers of the 75th Edgar Awards, sponsored by Mystery Writers of America, did a wonderful job of presenting a first-class awards ceremony that began at 1 p.m. April 29.

First, MWA kept up the attention by having a series of interviews with the nominees and Grand Master and Ellery Queen honorees.

In addition, authors have been reading from their nominated books on Mystery Writers of America’s Facebook page.

It was almost like being there.

As was done last year, the winners gave acceptance speeches immediately after their names were announced. These speeches were live adding a sense of spontaneity and charm. Loved the cameos by pets.

Colette Bancroft, winner of the Robert L. Fish award, thanked each of the 14 authors whose stories appeared in the short story collection Tampa Bay Noir, as well as her friends and family, including her late husband, John.

In accepting the Raven Award for Malice Domestic, Verena Rose, the editor and co-publisher at Level Best Books, thanked the MWA Board, fans, and writers. She recalled getting the call about the Raven on a Friday the 13th as well as reminisced a bit on the early days of Malice Domestic when Barbara Mertz helped get the conference going.

The happiness of children's author Elizabeth C. Bunce, who won for Best Juvenile Book, was contagious and we were all charmed by her cat's cameo.

Christina Lane's emotional acceptance of Best Critical/Biographical work for Phantom Lady had most also in tears. Alyssa Cole mentioned racism and prejudice and social justice, all themes in When No One Is Watching, winner of the Best Paperback Original.

Deepa Anappara was clearly shocked to win for Best Novel for her Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line and used her time to mention the pandemic situation in India.

Thank you Grand Master Jeffery Deaver for wearing a tuxor at least the part of the tux we could see. Grand Master Charlaine Harris was her usual charming self, thanking all the professionals who helped her with her career as well as her friends, family, and readers. "I feel I have been elected prom queen and won the Noble Peace Prize," Harris said.

Here is the complete list of the nominees with the winners listed first in bold with *** in front of their names.

Congratulations to each of the nominees and those who took home an Edgar.

***Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line, by Deepa Anappara (Random House)
Before She Was Helen, by Caroline B. Cooney (Poisoned Pen Press)
Thursday Murder Club, by Richard Osman (Pamela Dorman Books)
These Women ,by Ivy Pochoda (Ecco)
The Missing American, by Kwei Quartey (Soho Crime)
The Distant Dead, by Heather Young (William Morrow)
***Please See Us ,by Caitlin Mullen (Gallery Books)
Murder in Old Bombay,
by Nev March (Minotaur Books)
Catherine House, by Elisabeth Thomas (William Morrow)
Winter Counts, by David Heska Wanbli Weiden (Ecco)
Darling Rose Gold, by Stephanie Wrobel (Berkley)
***When No One is Watching, by Alyssa Cole (William Morrow)
The Deep, Deep Snow, by Brian Freeman (Blackstone Publishing)
Unspeakable Things, by Jess Lourey (Thomas & Mercer)
The Keeper, by Jessica Moor (Penguin Books)
East of Hounslow ,by Khurrum Rahman (Harper 360)
***Death in Mud Lick: A Coal Country Fight Against the Drug Companies that Delivered the Opioid Epidemic, by Eric Eyre (Scribner)
Blood Runs Coal: The Yablonski Murders and the Battle for the United Mine Workers of America,
by Mark A. Bradley (W.W. Norton & Company)
The Third Rainbow Girl: The Long Life of a Double Murder in Appalachia, by Emma Copley Eisenberg (Hachette Books)
Yellow Bird: Oil, Murder, and a Woman's Search for Justice in Indian Country, by Sierra Crane Murdoch (Random House)
Veritas: A Harvard Professor, a Con Man, and the Gospel of Jesus's Wife ,by Ariel Sabar (Doubleday)

***Phantom Lady: Hollywood Producer Joan Harrison, the Forgotten Woman Behind Hitchcock, by Christina Lane (Chicago Review Press)
Howdunit: A Masterclass in Crime Writing by Members of the Detection Club,
edited by Martin Edwards (Collins Crime Club)
Ian Rankin: A Companion to the Mystery & Fiction, by Erin E. MacDonald (McFarland)
Guilt Rules All: Irish Mystery, Detective, and Crime Fiction, by Elizabeth Mannion & Brian Cliff (Syracuse University Press)
This Time Next Year We'll be Laughing, by Jacqueline Winspear (Soho Press)
***"Dust, Ash, Flight," Addis Ababa Noir, by Maaza Mengiste (Akashic Books)
"The Summer Uncle Cat Came to Stay," Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, by Leslie Elman (Dell Magazines)
"Etta at the End of the World," Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, by Joseph S. Walker (Dell Magazines)
“The Twenty-Five Year Engagement,” In League with Sherlock Holmes, by James W. Ziskin (Pegasus Crime)
***Premeditated Myrtle, by Elizabeth C. Bunce (Algonquin Young Readers)
Me and Banksy, by Tanya Lloyd Kyi (Puffin Canada)
From the Desk of Zoe Washington, by Janae Marks (Katherine Tegen Books)
Ikenga, by Nnedi Okorafor (Viking BFYR)
Nessie Quest, by Melissa Savage (Crown BFYR)
Coop Knows the Scoop, by Taryn Souders (Sourcebooks Young Readers)
***The Companion, by Katie Alender (G.P. Putnam’s Sons BFYR)
The Inheritance Games, by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (Little, Brown BFYR)
They Went Left, by Monica Hesse (Little, Brown BFYR)
Silence of Bones, by June Hur (Feiwel & Friends)
The Cousins, by Karen M. McManus (Delacorte Press)
***“Episode 1, Photochemistry” – Dead Still, Written by John Morton (Acorn TV)
“Episode 1, The Stranger” – Harlan Coben’s The Stranger, written by Danny Brocklehurst (Netflix)
“Episode 1, Open Water” – The Sounds, written by Sarah-Kate Lynch (Acorn TV)
“Episode 1” – Des, written by Luke Neal (Sundance Now)
“What I Know” – The Boys, written by Rebecca Sonnenshine, based on the comic by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson (Amazon)
"The Bite,” Tampa Bay Noir, by Colette Bancroft (Akashic Books)
***The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne, by Elsa Hart (Minotaur Books)
Death of an American Beauty ,by Mariah Fredericks (Minotaur Books)
The Lucky One, by Lori Rader-Day (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)
The First to Lie, by Hank Phillippi Ryan (Forge Books)
Cold Wind, by Paige Shelton (Minotaur Books)

***Vera Kelly is Not a Mystery ,by Rosalie Knecht (Tin House Books)
The Burn, by Kathleen Kent (Mulholland Books)
Riviera Gold, by Laurie R. King (Ballantine Books)
Dead Land, by Sara Paretsky (William Morrow)
The Sleeping Nymph, by Ilaria Tuti (Soho Crime)
Turn to Stone, by James W. Ziskin (Seventh Street Books)
Jeffery Deaver
Charlaine Harris
Malice Domestic
Reagan Arthur, Publisher, Alfred A. Knopf

2021 Edgar Winners
Oline Cogdill
Saturday, 17 April 2021

This is the book awards season, with nominations and presentations starting now through August when Bouchercon 2021 occurs.

Of course, in-person ceremonies can’t be held just yet, but authors deserve to be rewarded for their good works.

Left Coast Crime kicked off the presentations with its awards a couple of weeks ago in a tidy ceremony. Details of who won can be found here at Mystery Scene.

The 75th Edgar Awards, sponsored by Mystery Writers of America (MWA), will be presented via Zoom at 1 pm (EST) on April 29. Meanwhile, MWA is hosting a series of interviews with the nominees, Grand Masters, and Ellery Queen honorees. In addition, authors are reading from their nominated books on Mystery Writers of America’s Facebook page.   

Malice Domestic will have its ceremony in July.

I think the organizers of these virtual award ceremonies are doing a terrific job. They are focusing on the nominees—and let’s face it, it truly is an honor to be nominated—with the winners being allowed to discuss their book and offer their gratitude, often in a prerecorded video.

The applause is missing, but I hope everyone watching is applauding at home.

And traditional buying of the drinks isn’t happening, but we can toast at home. And when we can do it in-person, winners should expect to be toasted many times.

The latest awards presentation was this weekend with the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

Full disclosure, I was a judge in the Mystery & Thriller category, along with my fellow judges Naomi Hirahara and Michael Nava. I was elected to present the award. The 2020 L.A. Times Book Prize in the Mystery & Thriller category was awarded to S.A. Cosby for Blacktop Wasteland. You can view the ceremony here. (This Mystery/Thriller Award is given out about 23 minutes into the ceremony.)

In presenting the award, our group statement was:

Blacktop Wasteland by S.A. Cosby, published by Flatiron, centers on a young family man at a crossroad in his life. This compelling novel deeply explores race, responsibility, parenthood, moral complexities and identity. Set in economically strapped area of Virginia, Blacktop Wasteland also looks at how a family’s struggles with cash are acerbated by a financial downtown. Cosby’s noir story reflects concerns of the 21st century through a gripping plot accented by fully fleshed out characters with realistic motives.

The five finalists in the 2020 L.A. Times Book Prize in the Mystery & Thriller category were:
- Blacktop Wasteland, by S.A. Cosby (Flatiron)
- A Beautiful Crime, by Christopher Bollen (Harper)
- Little Secrets, by Jennifer Hillier (Minotaur)
- And Now She’s Gone, by Rachel Howzell Hall (Forge)
-These Women, by Ivy Pochoda (Ecco)

Congratulations to all.


L.A. Times Book Prize and Awards Season
Oline Cogdill
Sunday, 11 April 2021

For years, I wanted to attend Left Coast Crime (LCC) having heard such good feedback about the conference. The various western locations also interested me.

But the timing was never right as it always seemed I had previous commitments in the March/April time frame.

But 2020 was different.

Oh, so different as we were about to find out.

For the first time, the timing worked for me and, as an extra bonus, one of my dearest and closet friends lived in San Diego.

Tony and I had big plans—we would spend the day before the conference and, after LCC ended, we would either stay in San Diego, a city I love, or spend time in Los Angeles.

None of that was to be.

Tony and I spent the day before the conference together.

But then the pandemonium of the pandemic began to take hold.

The first day of LCC was terrific. Good panels, good authors, good discussion.

I moderated one panel, went up to my room to grab something and 10 minutes later came down to find out the city had shut down LCC because of the health risk.

Of course, the in-person 2021 LCC also had to be canceled. But LCC had a terrific virtual conference last month that featured the finalists in the Lefty Award categories.

And attention must be paid to those authors who have worked so hard on their novels to become Lefty Award finalists.

Last Saturday, LCC had its small but very good awards ceremony honoring those winners and finalists.

Each winner was given a chance to make an acceptance speech.

Between categories, LCC honored its past by showing the program cover and the guests of honor through the years.

Congratulations to all the Left Award winners, and to the nominees. Each author is a winner.

Best Mystery Novel
WINNER: All the Devils Are Here, by Louise Penny (Minotaur Books)
What You Don’t See, by Tracy Clark (Kensington Books)
Blacktop Wasteland, by S.A. Cosby (Flatiron Books)
Blind Vigil, by Matt Coyle (Oceanview Publishing)
And Now She’s Gone, by Rachel Howzell Hall (Forge)

Best Humorous Mystery Novel
WINNER: Murder in the Bayou Boneyard, by Ellen Byron (Crooked Lane Books)
Mimi Lee Gets a Clue ,by Jennifer J. Chow (Berkley Prime Crime)
Squeeze Me ,by Carl Hiaasen (Alfred A. Knopf)
The Study of Secrets, by Cynthia Kuhn (Henery Press)
The Pot Thief Who Studied the Woman at Otowi Crossing ,by J. Michael Orenduff (Aakenbaaken & Kent)
Skin Deep, by Sung J. Woo (Agora Books)

Best Historical Mystery Novel
WINNER:The Turning Tide, by Catriona McPherson (Quercus)
he Fate of a Flapper, by Susanna Calkins, (Minotaur Books)
A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Murder, by Dianne Freeman (Kensington Books)
Riviera Gold, by Laurie R. King (Bantam Books)
Mortal Music, by Ann Parker (Poisoned Pen Press)
Turn to Stone, by James W. Ziskin (Seventh Street Books)

Best Debut Mystery Novel
WINNER: Winter Counts, by David Heska Wanbli Weiden (Ecco)
Murder Goes to Market, by Daisy Bateman (Seventh Street Books)
Derailed, by Mary Keliikoa (Camel Press)
Murder at the Mena House, by Erica Ruth Neubauer (Kensington Books)
The Thursday Murder Club, by Richard Osman (Viking)
The Lady Upstairs, by Halley Sutton (Putnam)

More good news, LCC 2022 is scheduled for April 7–10, 2022, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I plan to go, along with my other dear and close friend, Toni. (Yes, one is Tony, one is Toni). She and I plan to come in early, go to Santa Fe for a couple of days and then tour Albuquerque—something we did years ago.

2022 Left Coast Crime Honorees
Guest of Honor: Mick Herron
Guest of Honor: Catriona McPherson
Fan Guest of Honor: Kristopher Zgorski
Toastmaster: Kellye Garrett
Ghost of Honor: Tony Hillerman

I am hoping that by the time LCC 2022 rolls around, in-person conferences will be the norm.

And more good news, LCC 2023 also is in the works for Tucson, Arizona.

Planning is good!

Left Coast Crime Lefty Award Winners
Oline Cogdill