If we have learned anything this past year and a half, it’s that the show must go on. And that includes honoring authors who make this genre so wonderful.
This is the week we all would have gathered in New Orleans for the 2021 Bouchercon.
But with Covid numbers rising in Louisiana and other states, and many die-hard Bouchercon attendees canceling, the organizers made the painful, and correct, decision to cancel our 2021 Bouchercon.
And the woes of canceling one conference pales next to Covid, Hurricane Ida and myriad other world problems.
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.
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.
The organizers still found a way to give readers a taste of the 2021 conference.
It was lovely to watch Alafair Burke in conversation with her father James Lee Burke. The Zoom interview was hosted by Heather Graham with an introduction from Rachel Howzell Hall.
And the 52nd 2021 Anthony Awards were still presented—virtually, of course. The categories were presented by Michael Connelly, Tess Gerritsen, Dennis Lehane, Megan Abbott, Jonathan Maberry and a special welcome from Craig Johnson.
Of course, not everything went smoothly—just as if we were there in person. Due to technical difficulties, the opening video by Craig Johnson didn’t show up in the live feed but was shown at the end of the ceremony. And it was a very clever video, worth hanging around for.
Emceed by Hank Phillippi Ryan, the Anthony Awards kicked off with a short presentation by three of the authors whose short stories appear in the Anthony anthology This Time for Sure. 100% of net revenues received from anthology sales are to benefit the New Orleans Public Library. And with Hurricane Ida bearing down, that money will be needed more than ever.
The anthology includes works by 22 authors. The brief talks about their short stories from Karen Dionne, Alexia Gordon, and Kristen Lepionka should inspire readers to buy this terrific collection.
The speeches from the Anthony winners also were inspiring, especially David Heska Wanbli Weiden whose Winter Counts (Ecco Press) won best debut and S.A. Cosby whose Blacktop Wasteland (Flatiron Books) was named best novel.
Heska Wanbli Weiden talked about how honored he was to be the first Native American writer to win the Anthony.
Cosby gave a heartfelt speech about growing up poor, living in a house without running water until he was 16 but also surrounded by a loving family of readers who inspired him, a grandmother who read romances, an uncle who introduced him to classic mysteries. But most of all, he thanked his mother, who has passed away. His mother bought him his first mystery novel and his first typewriter, and her inspiration and love continue in his career as a novelist.
If you missed the Anthony presentation, you can view it here.
Here are the Anthony winners, listed first in bold with ** in front of their names, along with all the nominees.
Mystery Scene offers its congratulations to all the winners and nominees.
Best Hardcover Novel
**Blacktop Wasteland, by S.A. Cosby (Flatiron Books)
What You Don't See, by Tracy Clark (Kensington)
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
**Winter Counts, by David Heska Wanbli Weiden (Ecco Press)
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)
Best Paperback Original/EbyBook/Audiobook Original Novel
**Unspeakable Things, by Jess Lourey (Thomas & Mercer)
The Fate of a Flapper, by Susanna Calkins (Griffin)
When No One is Watching, by Alyssa Cole (William Morrow)
The Lucky One, by Lori RaderbyDay (William Morrow)
Dirty Old Town, by Gabriel Valjan (Level Best Books)
Best Short Story
**"90 Miles" by Alex Segura, Both Sides: Stories From the Border (Agora Books)
"Dear Emily Etiquette" by Barb Goffman EQMM (Dell Magazines)
"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
**Holly Hernandez and the Death of Disco, by Richie Narvaez (Piñata Books)
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)
Star Wars Poe Dameron: Free Fall, by Alex Segura (Disney Lucasfilm Press)
Best Critical or Nonfiction Work
**Unspeakable Acts: True Tales of Crime, Murder, Deceit, and Obsession, by Sarah Weinman, ed. (Ecco Press)
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)
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)
David Thompson Award was presented to Janet Rudolph.