Friday, 24 January 2020 02:35

The nominees for the coveted Edgar Allan Poe Awards are announced as close to Poe’s birth as possible, and the announcement always falls on a Wednesday. (Trivia experts know that Poe was born on Jan. 19 and this year marks the 211th anniversary of his birthday.)

Here are the nominees for the 2020 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, honoring the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction and television published or produced in 2019.

The Edgar® Awards will be presented to the winners at the 75th Gala Banquet, April 30, 2020 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, New York City.

Mystery Scene congratulates all the nominees.

Fake Like Me, by Barbara Bourland (Hachette Book Group – Grand Central Publishing)
The Stranger Diaries, by Elly Griffiths (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
The River, by Peter Heller (Penguin Random House – Alfred A. Knopf)
Smoke and Ashes, by Abir Mukherjee (Pegasus Books)
Good Girl, Bad Girl, by Michael Robotham (Simon & Schuster Scribner)

My Lovely Wife, by Samantha Downing (Penguin Random House Berkley)
Miracle Creek, by Angie Kim (Farrar Straus and Giroux)
The Good Detective, by John McMahon (Penguin Random House – G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
The Secrets We Kept, by Lara Prescott (Penguin Random House – Alfred A. Knopf)
Three-Fifths, by John Vercher (Polis Books – Agora Books)
American Spy, by Lauren Wilkinson (Penguin Random House – Random House)

Dread of Winter, by Susan Alice Bickford (Kensington Publishing)
Freedom Road, by William Lashner (Amazon Publishing – Thomas & Mercer)
Blood Relations, by Jonathan Moore (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt – Mariner Books)
February’s Son, by Alan Parks (Europa Editions – World Noir)
The Hotel Neversink, by Adam O’Fallon Price (Tin House Books)
The Bird Boys, by Lisa Sandlin (Cinco Puntos Press)

The Ghosts of Eden Park: The Bootleg King, the Women Who Pursued Him, and the Murder that Shocked Jazz-Age America, by Karen Abbott (Penguin Random House - Crown)
The Less People Know About Us: A Mystery of Betrayal, Family Secrets, and Stolen Identity, by Axton Betz-Hamilton (Hachette Book Group – Grand Central Publishing)
American Predator: The Hunt for the Most Meticulous Serial Killer of the 21st Century, by Maureen Callahan (Penguin Random House - Viking)
Norco '80: The True Story of the Most Spectacular Bank Robbery in American History, by Peter Houlahan (Counterpoint Press)
Indecent Advances: A Hidden History of True Crime and Prejudice Before Stonewall, by James Polchin (Counterpoint Press)

Hitchcock and the Censors, by John Billheimer (University Press of Kentucky)
Beyond the Thirty-Nine Steps: A Life of John Buchan, by Ursula Buchan (Bloomsbury Publishing)
The Hooded Gunman: An Illustrated History of Collins Crime Club ,by John Curran (Collins Crime Club)
Medieval Crime Fiction: A Critical Overview, by Anne McKendry (McFarland)
The Mutual Admiration Society: How Dorothy L. Sayers and her Oxford Circle Remade the World for Women, by Mo Moulton (Hachette Book Group – Basic Books)

“Turistas," from Paque Tu Lo Sepas, by Hector Acosta (Down & Out Books)
“One of These Nights," from Cutting Edge: New Stories of Mystery and Crime by Women Writers, by Livia Llewellyn (Akashic Books)
“The Passenger," from Sydney Noir, by Kirsten Tranter (Akashic Books)
“Home at Last," from Die Behind the Wheel: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Music of Steely Dan, by Sam Wiebe (Down & Out Books)
“Brother’s Keeper," from Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, by Dave Zeltserman (Dell Magazine)

The Collected Works of Gretchen Oyster, by Cary Fagan (Penguin Random House Canada – Tundra Books
Eventown, by Corey Ann Haydu (HarperCollins Children’s Books – Katherine Tegen Books)
The Whispers by Greg Howard (Penguin Young Readers – G.P. Putnam’s Sons BFYR)
All the Greys on Greene Street, by Laura Tucker (Penguin Young Readers – Viking BFYR)
Me and Sam-Sam Handle the Apocalypse, by Susan Vaught (Simon & Schuster Children’s Books – Paula Wiseman Books)

Catfishing on CatNet, by Naomi Kritzer (Tom Doherty Associates – Tor Teen)
Killing November, by Adriana Mather (Random House Children’s Books – Alfred A. Knopf BFYR)
Patron Saints of Nothing, by Randy Ribay (Penguin Young Readers - Kokila)
The Deceivers, by Kristen Simmons (Tom Doherty Associates – Tor Teen)
Wild and Crooked, by Leah Thomas (Bloomsbury Publishing)

“Season 5, Episode 3” – Line of Duty, Teleplay by Jed Mercurio (Acorn TV)
“Season 5, Episode 4” – Line of Duty, Teleplay by Jed Mercurio (Acorn TV)
“Episode 1” – Dublin Murders, Teleplay by Sarah Phelps (STARZ)
“Episode 1” – Manhunt, Teleplay by Ed Whitmore (Acorn TV)
“Episode 1” – The Wisting, Teleplay by Katherine Valen Zeiner & Trygve Allister Diesen (Sundance Now)

“There’s a Riot Goin’ On," from Milwaukee Noir, by Derrick Harriell (Akashic Books)

The Night Visitors, by Carol Goodman (HarperCollins – William Morrow)
One Night Gone, by Tara Laskowski (Harlequin – Graydon House)
Strangers at the Gate, by Catriona McPherson (Minotaur Books)
Where the Missing Go, by Emma Rowley (Kensington Publishing)
The Murder List, by Hank Phillippi Ryan (Tom Doherty Associates – Forge Books)

Shamed, by Linda Castillo (Minotaur Books)
Borrowed Time, by Tracy Clark (Kensington Publishing)
The Missing Ones, by Edwin Hill (Kensington Publishing)
The Satapur Moonstone, by Sujata Massey (Soho Crime)
The Alchemist’s Illusion, by Gigi Pandian (Midnight Ink)
Girl Gone Missing, by Marcie R. Rendon (Cincos Puntos Press)

2020 Edgar Award Nominees Announced
By Oline H Cogdill
Friday, 24 January 2020 02:17

The award season continues with nominations for the 2020 Agatha Awards, which will be awarded during the Malice Domestic conference (May 1-3, 2020), and which is celebrating its 32nd year.

The nominated works are books published in 2019.

The Agatha ballots will be included in registration bags at Malice Domestic and will be chosen by those attending the conference.

Malice Domestic is a fun conference and I highly recommend it.

Mystery Scene congratulates all the nominees.

The 2019 Agatha Award Nominees

Best Contemporary Novel
Fatal Cajun Festival, by Ellen Byron (Crooked Lane Books)
The Long Call, by Ann Cleeves (Minotaur)
Fair Game, by Annette Dashofy (Henery Press)
The Missing Ones, by Edwin Hill (Kensington)
A Better Man, by Louise Penny (Minotaur)
The Murder List, by Hank Philippi Ryan (Forge)

Best First Mystery Novel
A Dream of Death, by Connie Berry (Crooked Lane Books)
One Night Gone, by Tara Laskowski (Graydon House, a division of Harlequin)
Murder Once Removed, by S. C. Perkins (Minotaur)
When It’s Time for Leaving, by Ang Pompano (Encircle Publications)
Staging for Murder, by Grace Topping (Henery Press)

Best Historical Mystery
Love and Death Among the Cheetahs, by Rhys Bowen (Penquin)
Murder Knocks Twice, by Susanna Calkins (Minotaur)
The Pearl Dagger, by L. A. Chandlar (Kensington)
Charity’s Burden, by Edith Maxwell (Midnight Ink)
The Naming Game, by Gabriel Valjan (Winter Goose Publishing)

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

Best Children/Young Adult
Kazu Jones and the Denver Dognappers, by Shauna Holyoak (Disney Hyperion)
Two Can Keep a Secret, by Karen MacManus (Delacorte Press)
The Last Crystal ,by Frances Schoonmaker (Auctus Press)
Top Marks for Murder (A Most Unladylike Mystery), by Robin Stevens (Puffin)
Jada Sly, Artist and Spy, by Sherri Winston (Little Brown Books for Young Readers)

Best Short Story
"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

2020 Agatha Award Nominees
By Oline H. Cogdill
Friday, 17 January 2020 22:12

I love libraries. I think most readers and authors also love libraries.

I love the stacks of books, organized so well. Libraries are full of possibilities, of worlds not explored, of words waiting to be read.

As a child, I spent many wonderful hours in my hometown library, the Mississippi County Library in Charleston, Missouri.

When I went there it was a small, two-room building. But now, thanks to a generous donor, the renamed Clara Drinkwater Newnam Library is a large beautiful building.

It was in that tiny library that I expanded my love of mysteries, finding new, well, new to me, authors.

That hometown library is where I also first learned about the New York Public Library at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street at Bryant Park.

A library that big—unfathomable to me.

And the two lions out front—nicknamed “Patience” and “Fortitude”—were beyond comprehension to me. A couple of years ago, I was invited to attend Sue Grafton’s memorial service held at the library in a beautiful room not always open to the public. Sue Grafton would approve.

Thank to Con Lehane’s excellent series, I can continue to discover new aspects of the New York Public Library.

Lehane’s latest Murder Off the Page (Minotaur) continues the story of librarian sleuth Raymond Ambler.

In Murder Off the Page, Raymond begins an investigation after getting a note from his friend, bartender Brian McNulty. The stakes increase when a second murder also is linked to Brian in this third installment of his library series.

Lehane’s series takes us into the corners of the library and also spots in New York City many don’t know about.

His library series grew out of another series Lehane wrote about bartender Brian McNulty. When that series ended, his editor suggested he write a new series set at the 42nd Street Library.

“[His editor] liked how I wrote about New York City and thought setting a mystery at one of the city’s iconic institutions would allow me to write about the city—and about books and librarians,” Lehane said in an email.

The library setting seems tailor made for Lehane, who has worked as a college professor, a union organizer, a labor journalist, and has tended bar at two dozen or so drinking establishments.

“I’ve loved libraries and frequented them (not quite as much as I’ve frequented bars) all my life,” he continued in the email. “I remember vividly the first time I visited a library as a first-grader.”

But despite his love of libraries, he said he didn’t feel comfortable trying to create a librarian character because “I don’t know librarianship, so I created a curator—a subject-area specialist.”

So like a good librarian would, Lehane dug into research to create his new series hero.

“First, Raymond Ambler was a historian; then, I changed his occupation to crime fiction specialist. I’d been interested in the idea of doing research in special collections for a while.”

His interest in special collections led to a pilgrimage or so.

“A decade or more ago, after reading Tom Nolan’s biography of Ross Macdonald and meeting and talking with Tom, I made a couple of visits to the Ross Macdonald/Kenneth Millar—actually the Margaret Millar—collection at the University of California Irvine and browsed through Ross Macdonald’s notebooks, so this might have been in the back of my mind also.”

By the way, here’s a bit of trivia about those lions guarding the New York Library.

The lions’ original names were Leo Astor and Leo Lenox, which was in honor of the library's founders. Then they were called Lord Astor and Lady Lenox. That doesn’t really work since both lions are supposed to be male.

The names Patience and Fortitude came during the in the 1930s from by Mayor Fiorello La Guardia. The legend is he chose the chose the names because he felt New Yorkers needed those qualities to endure the Great Depression.

At the Library with Con Lehane
Oline H Cogdill