Posted by Oline Cogdill


We always look forward to the announcement of the Grand Master, Raven, and Ellery Queen honorees by the Mystery Writers of America (MWA).

Usually we try to rewrite press releases, but not this time.

Martin Cruz Smith is the 2019 Grand Masters by Mystery Writers of America (MWA).

MWA’s Grand Master Award represents the pinnacle of achievement in mystery writing and was established to acknowledge important contributions to this genre, as well as for a body of work that is both significant and of consistent high quality.

Smith will receive his award at the 73rd Annual Edgar Awards Banquet, which will be held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City on April 25, 2019.

Martin Cruz Smith, the son of a jazz musician and a Native American chanteuse, is perhaps best known for his eight-novel series featuring Arkady Renko, who first appeared in Gorky Park. That book was turned into an award-winning motion picture starring William Hurt and Lee Marvin.

Even before his breakout with the Arkady series, Smith had received two Edgar nominations for books in his Roman Gray series, Gypsy in Amber (1971) and Canto for a Gypsy (1972). Both books were originally published under his birth name, Martin Smith, but when he learned that there were six other Martin Smiths who wrote novels he adopted Cruz, his paternal grandmother's surname, to differentiate himself. Smith also received an Edgar nomination in 1978 for Nightwing, a standalone that drew upon his own tribal ancestry, and has written more than 30 novels in a career that spans nearly five decades.

“When I was a mere strip of a 'gunsel', I attended the 1971 Mystery Writers Edgar Award dinner,” Smith said when informed of the honor. “I was overwhelmed to be in the presence of talents like Dick Francis, Donald Westlake, and Ross Macdonald. Once again, I find myself in the company of wonderful mystery writers at the height of their talent. I'm knocked out, floored, and honored. Spasibo.”

The Raven Award recognizes outstanding achievement in the mystery field outside the realm of creative writing. Marilyn Stasio will receive the 2019 Raven Award.

Stasio has been the mystery critic for the New York Times Book Review (and other magazines) for 30 years—since 1988—with hundreds of books coming under her loving, unforgiving, eye. Whether her judgment is elegiac or brutal, when it comes to the mystery genre, a Stasio review is a thing to be treasured or feared, but always learned from.

Stasio commented, “Goodness, I feel like Sally Field. (‘Wow! You like me! You actually like me!’) When I think of the great people the MWA has honored in the past—people like Edward Gorey and Vincent Price—I want to duck behind the door. My only wish is that those great guys were still around to hand me the Raven, which I promise to treasure.”

Previous Raven winners include the Raven Bookstore in Lawrence, Kansas, Dru Ann Love, Kris Zgorski, Sisters in Crime, Margaret Kinsman, Kathryn Kennison, Jon and Ruth Jordan, Aunt Agatha’s Bookstore in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Oline Cogdill, Molly Weston, The Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego, Centuries & Sleuths Bookstore in Chicago, Once Upon a Crime Bookstore in Minneapolis, Mystery Lovers Bookstore in Oakmont, PA, Kate’s Mystery Books in Cambridge, MA, and The Poe House in Baltimore, MD.

The Ellery Queen Award was established in 1983 to honor “outstanding writing teams and outstanding people in the mystery-publishing industry.” This year the Board chose to honor Linda Landrigan.

Landrigan came to Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine in 1997 as an associate editor and has been its editor since 2002. Under her leadership, the magazine has not only continued to thrive but has also navigated dramatic changes in the publishing industry—she has overseen the introduction of AHHM in digital formats as well as the creation of a podcast series featuring audio recordings of stories from the magazine as well as interviews with authors.

On learning she would receive the Ellery Queen Award, Landrigan said, “This is such a great honor, and I am really humbled to be in the company of the other Ellery Queen Award recipients who have come before. At Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine we strive to publish the best mystery and crime stories to satisfy our readership. It’s gratifying that so many people are producing great stories and that so many people are eager to read them. I am happy that we can introduce new voices in the genre, and continue to offer our readers stories from their favorite authors as well. Thanks to MWA for this honor and for your support of the community of mystery writers, publishers, and readers.”

Previous Ellery Queen Award winners include Robert Pépin, Neil Nyren, Janet Rudolph, Charles Ardai, Joe Meyers, Barbara Peters and Robert Rosenwald, Brian Skupin and Kate Stine, Carolyn Marino, Ed Gorman, Janet Hutchings, Cathleen Jordan, Douglas G. Greene, Susanne Kirk, Sara Ann Freed, Hiroshi Hayakawa, Jacques Barzun, Martin Greenburg, Otto Penzler, Richard Levinson, William Link, Ruth Cavin, and Emma Lathen.

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. MWA is the premier organization for mystery writers, professionals allied to the crime-writing field, aspiring crime writers, and those who are devoted to the genre. The organization encompasses some 3,000 members including authors of fiction and nonfiction books, screen and television writers, as well as publishers, editors, and literary agents. For more information on Mystery Writers of America, please visit the website: www.mysterywriters.org




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