Oline H. Cogdill

My first Bouchercon was in 1997 in Monterrey, California. It was one of those life-changing moments. At least 2,200 people showed up to listen and relish all things mysteries—great panels, discussions among authors, the ever-important bar.

I vowed to attend as many Bouchercons as possible, and have pretty much kept that promise, having missed only two through the years. I skipped the Alaska Bouchercon because the year before we’d taken a family cruise to Alaska and the 2012 in Toronto because it was more important to celebrate my friend’s birthday.

So after 2020 Bouchercon that was scheduled for Sacramento had to be canceled because of the pandemic, many of us were so looking forward to gathering in New Orleans for the 2021 Bouchercon.

Alas, it was not meant to be, and it’s the right thing to happen.

With Covid numbers rising in Louisiana, and other states, and many die-hard Bouchercon attendees canceling, the organizers last week made the painful, and correct, decision to cancel our 2021 Bouchercon.

But, instead saying canceling, let’s just say the 2021 Bouchercon as been postponed.

The 2025 Bouchercon will be in New Orleans at the same Marriott that was to host the 2021 conference. The hotel was wise to allow this to happen and Marriott no doubt earned a lot of goodwill among its customers.

And the organizers have found a way to still give readers a taste of the conference.

Two online/virtual events have been scheduled and are free and open to everyone, whether registered for Bouchercon or not.

Friday, August 27: Alafair Burke will be in conversation with James Lee Burke, top left, hosted by Heather Graham with introductions from Rachel Howzell Hall. The conversation begins at 7 p.m. ET; 6 p.m. CT; 5 p.m. MT; 4 p.m. PT; midnight GMT.

Saturday, August 28: The 52nd 2021 Anthony Awards ceremony begins. Black tie optional…or watch in your PJs, say the organizers. The ceremony features the Anthony nominees and award presenters Michael Connelly, left, Tess Gerritsen, Dennis Lehane, Caroline and Charles Todd, Jonathan Maberry and a special welcome from Craig Johnson.

Only previously registered attendees will receive an Anthony ballot.

The ceremony is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET; 6 p.m. CT; 5 p.m. MT; 4 p.m. PT; midnight GMT.

A joint statement from Bouchercon co-chairs Mike Bursaw, Heather Graham and Connie Perry states:

“Having to cancel the in-person New Orleans Bouchercon was one of the hardest decisions we have ever had to make, but, as the saying goes, the show must go on! These events will be free and open to everyone (so please tell your friends!). Please watch for details on how to watch online in upcoming emails from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

“From our hearts to yours, turn on your computer (or whichever device you prefer) and enjoy two nights of Blood on the Bayou: Postmortem New Orleans Bouchercon 2021. We hope to see you there!”
Although it is too late to tape a full array of panels, these two events give us a taste of being there, and make us miss Bouchercon.

I know many who had registered for New Orleans immediately signed up for the 2022 Bouchercon, which will be in Minneapolis.

“Next year in Minneapolis” became a rallying cry on Facebook and Twitter.

Until next year, keep reading and stay safe.

Anthony Award Nominations
Best Hardcover Novel
What You Don't See, by Tracy Clark (Kensington)
Blacktop Wasteland, by S.A. Cosby (Flatiron Books)
Little Secrets, by Jennifer Hillier (Minotaur Books)
And Now She's Gone, by Rachel Howzell Hall (Forge Books)
The First to Lie, by Hank Phillippi Ryan (Forge Books)

Best First Novel
Derailed, by Mary Keliikoa (Camel Press)
Murder in Old Bombay, by Nev March (Minotaur Books)
Murder at the Mena House, by Erica Ruth Neubauer (Kensington)
The Thursday Murder Club, by Richard Osman (Pamela Dorman Books)
Winter Counts, by David Heska Wanbli Weiden (Ecco Press)

Best Paperback Original/EbyBook/Audiobook Original Novel
The Fate of a Flapper, by Susanna Calkins (Griffin)
When No One is Watching, by Alyssa Cole (William Morrow)
Unspeakable Things, by Jess Lourey (Thomas & Mercer)
The Lucky One, by Lori RaderbyDay (William Morrow)
Dirty Old Town, by Gabriel Valjan (Level Best Books)

Best Short Story
"Dear Emily Etiquette" by Barb Goffman EQMM (Dell Magazines)
"90 Miles" by Alex Segura, Both Sides: Stories From the Border (Agora Books)
"The Boy Detective & The Summer of '74" by Art Taylor, AHMM (Jan/Feb) (Dell Magazines)
"Elysian Fields" by Gabriel Valjan, California Schemin' (Wildside Press)
"The Twenty-Five Year Engagement" by James W. Ziskin, In League with Sherlock Holmes (Pegasus Crime)

Best Juvenile/Young Adult
Midnight at the Barclay Hotel, by Fleur Bradley (Viking Books for Young Readers)
Premeditated Myrtle, by Elizabeth C. Bunce (Algonquin Young Readers)
From the Desk of Zoe Washington, by Janae Marks (Katherine Tegen Books)
Holly Hernandez and the Death of Disco, by Richie Narvaez (Piñata Books)
Star Wars Poe Dameron: Free Fall, by Alex Segura (Disney Lucasfilm Press)

Best Critical or Nonfiction Work
Sometimes You Have to Lie: The Life and Times of Louise Fitzhugh, Renegade Author of Harriet the Spy, by Leslie Brody (Seal Press)
American Sherlock: Murder, Forensics and the Birth of American CSI, by Kate Winkler Dawson (G.P. Putnam's Sons)
Howdunit: A Masterclass in Crime Writing by Members of the Detection Club, by Martin Edwards, ed. (Collins Crime Club)
The Third Rainbow Girl: The Long Life of a Double Murder in Appalachia, by Emma Copley Eisenberg (Hachette Books)
Phantom Lady: Hollywood Producer Joan Harrison, the Forgotten Woman behind Hitchcock, by Christina Lane (Chicago Review Press)
Unspeakable Acts: True Tales of Crime, Murder, Deceit, and Obsession, by Sarah Weinman, ed. (Ecco Press)

Best Anthology or Collection
Shattering Glass: A Nasty Woman Press Anthology, by Heather Graham, ed. (Nasty Woman Press)
Both Sides: Stories from the Border, by Gabino Iglesias, ed. (Agora Books)
Noiryorican, by Richie Narvaez (Down & Out Books)
The Beat of Black Wings: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Songs of Joni Mitchell, by Josh Pachter, ed. (Untreed Reads Publishing)
California Schemin' by Art Taylor. ed. (Wildside Press)
Lockdown: Stories of Crime, Terror, and Hope During a Pandemic, by Nick Kolakowski and Steve Weddle, eds. (Polis Books)

Photos: James and Alafair Burke, top; Michael Connelly