Oline H Cogdill

The First Crime Novel Competition, which teams up Minotaur Books and Mystery Writers of America, is the literary equivalent of American Idol.

Kind of.

The competition gives an unpublished writer the opportunity to launch a career with the Minotaur Books imprint. The winner will receive a one-book, $10,000 contract.

A winner is not chosen annually so the competition is pretty stiff.

And this competition has given the genre some involving stories. Previous winners include The Vanishing Season by Joanna Schaffhausen (2016 ); The Drowned Land by John Keyse-Walker (2015); The Man on the Washing Machine by Susan Cox (2014); The Impersonator by Mary Miley (2012); A Simple Murder by Eleanor Kuhns (2011); One Man's Paradise by Douglas Corleone (2009); In the Shadow of Gotham by Stefanie Pintoff (2008).

The latest author to join that group is Nev March, whose honor was announced April 25, 2019, during the Mystery Writers of America Edgar banquet in New York City.

The New Jersey resident’s winning novel is tentatively titled The Rajabai Tower Mystery, and is set to be published in 2020. (Note: the cover at left is not final.)

Set in the 1890s, The Rajabai Tower Mystery features a former soldier in the Indian army recovering from wounds sustained in skirmishes with Afghan tribesmen. The soldier becomes inspired by the Sherlock Holmes novels he reads to investigate the suicides of two well-to-do Parsee women in Bombay.

Minotaur Books associate publisher Kelley Ragland stated in a press release, “A vibrant portrait of India just before the turn of the century, an engaging lead character in Captain Jim Agnihotri, and a fresh homage to Arthur Conan Doyle, The Rajabai Tower Mystery was the perfect choice for our winner.”

After working in business analysis for 20 years, Nev March returned to writing full time in 2015. She is a member of the Hunterdon County Library Write-Group. She lives with her husband and two sons in New Jersey.
Minotaur is currently accepting submissions for next year’s award. For more information, visit http://www.minotaurbooks.com/writingcompetitions.