Mystery readers know that January 19 is a celebration for two reasons—it is birthday of Edgar Allan Poe (happy 213th birthday, Edgar!) and it also is the day that Mystery Writers of America announces the nominations for the annual Edgar Awards.
The 2022 Edgar Allan Poe Awards honor the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction and television published or produced in 2021. The 76th Annual Edgar® Awards will be celebrated on April 28, 2022 at the New York Marriott Marquis Times Square.
As what often happens, the nomination list gets a lot of attention. The nominees are, as they should be, thrilled, as are their publishers, the bookstore owners, and readers.
People seem to love to snipe at the nominees, complaining that the books were not what they would have picked.
So I ask readers, critics, bloggers, etc., to just stop that. Stop the complaining and enjoy the list.
Are these the books I would have picked? Not going to say.
Are any of these books ones I think should not be on the list? Not going to say.
The complaining is disrespectful to the judges, who devote the full year to making these decisions; the authors themselves; and the readers.
I do my own top 20 each year. Left Coast Crime just came out with the nominees for its Lefties. In a few weeks, Malice Domestic will announce its Agatha nominees. The nominees for the Los Angeles Book Prize mystery/thriller category will be posted in a few weeks. Later this year, Bouchercon will announced nominees for the Anthonys.
And while there will be some overlap on all these lists, some books will only make one list.
The Edgars, and the other award lists, are a reason to celebrate books. To enjoy the vast genre that we all love. To recognize that we all have different tastes but that we all come together under the umbrella of the mystery genre.
And celebrate—and hope—that the Edgars will be in-person this year. At this point, the awards are being planned for an in-person event. And that alone is cause for celebration. We know that anything could happen, but still, the planning is a celebration in itself.
So, look at the lists. Buy books you want to read. Skip the others. But, most importantly, happy reading.
But do say, as Mystery Scene magazine does, congratulations to all the nominees.
Nominations for the 2022 Edgar Allan Poe Awards
The Venice Sketchbook by Rhys Bowen (Amazon Publishing – Lake Union)
Razorblade Tears by S.A. Cosby (Macmillan Publishers – Flatiron Books)
Five Decembers by James Kestrel (Hard Case Crime)
How Lucky by Will Leitch (HarperCollins - Harper)
No One Will Miss Her by Kat Rosenfield (HarperCollins – William Morrow)
BEST FIRST NOVEL BY AN AMERICAN AUTHOR
Deer Season by Erin Flanagan (University of Nebraska Press)
Never Saw Me Coming by Vera Kurian (Harlequin Trade Publishing – Park Row)
Suburban Dicks by Fabian Nicieza (Penguin Random House – G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
What Comes After by JoAnne Tompkins (Penguin Random House – Riverhead Books)
The Damage by Caitlin Wahrer (Penguin Random House – Viking Books/Pamela Dorman Books)
BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL
Kill All Your Darlings by David Bell (Penguin Random House - Berkley)
The Lighthouse Witches by C.J. Cooke (Penguin Random House - Berkley)
The Album of Dr. Moreau by Daryl Gregory (Tom Doherty Associates - Tordotcom)
Starr Sign by C.S. O’Cinneide (Dundurn Press)
Bobby March Will Live Forever by Alan Parks (Europa Editions – World Noir)
The Shape of Darkness by Laura Purcell (Penguin Random House – Penguin Books)
BEST FACT CRIME
The Confidence Men: How Two Prisoners of War Engineered the Most Remarkable Escape in History by Margalit Fox (Random House Publishing Group – Random House)
Last Call: A True Story of Love, Lust, and Murder in Queer New York by Elon Green (Celadon Books)
Sleeper Agent: The Atomic Spy in America Who Got Away by Ann Hagedorn (Simon & Schuster)
Two Truths and a Lie: A Murder, a Private Investigator, and Her Search for Justice by Ellen McGarrahan (Penguin Random House – Random House)
The Dope: The Real History of the Mexican Drug Trade by Benjamin T. Smith (W.W. Norton & Company)
When Evil Lived in Laurel: The "White Knights" and the Murder of Vernon Dahmer by Curtis Wilkie (W.W. Norton & Company
Agatha Christie's Poirot: The Greatest Detective in the World by Mark Aldridge (HarperCollins Publishers – Harper360)
The Unquiet Englishman: A Life of Graham Greene by Richard Greene (W.W. Norton & Company)
Tony Hillerman: A Life by James McGrath Morris (University of Oklahoma Press)
The Reason for the Darkness of the Night: Edgar Allan Poe and the Forging of American Science by John Tresch (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
The Twelve Lives of Alfred Hitchcock: An Anatomy of the Master of Suspense by Edward White (W.W. Norton & Company)
BEST SHORT STORY
"Blindsided," Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine by Michael Bracken & James A. Hearn (Dell Magazines)
"The Vermeer Conspiracy," Midnight Hour by V.M. Burns (Crooked Lane Books)
"Lucky Thirteen," Midnight Hour by Tracy Clark (Crooked Lane Books)
“The Road to Hana,” Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine by R.T. Lawton (Dell Magazines)
“The Locked Room Library,” Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Gigi Pandian (Dell Magazines)
“The Dark Oblivion,” Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Cornell Woolrich (Dell Magazines)
Cold-Blooded Myrtle by Elizabeth C. Bunce (Workman Publishing - Algonquin Young Readers)
Concealed by Christina Diaz Gonzalez (Scholastic – Scholastic Press)
Aggie Morton Mystery Queen: The Dead Man in the Garden by Marthe Jocelyn (Penguin Random House Canada - Tundra Books)
Kidnap on the California Comet: Adventures on Trains #2 by M.G. Leonard & Sam Sedgman (Macmillan Children's Publishing - Feiwel & Friends)
Rescue by Jennifer A. Nielsen (Scholastic - Scholastic Press)
BEST YOUNG ADULT
Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé (Macmillan Children’s Publishing – Feiwel & Friends)
Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley (Macmillan Children’s Publishing – Henry Holt and Company BFYR)
When You Look Like Us by Pamela N. Harris (HarperCollins – Quill Tree Books)
The Forest of Stolen Girls by June Hur (Macmillan Children’s Books – Feiwel & Friends)
The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe (Penguin Young Readers – G.P. Putnam’s Sons BFYR)
BEST TELEVISION EPISODE TELEPLAY
“Dog Day Morning” - The Brokenwood Mysteries, Written by Tim Balme (Acorn TV)
“Episode 1” – The Beast Must Die, Written by Gaby Chiappe (AMC+)
“We Men Are Wretched Things” – The North Water Written by Andrew Haigh (AMC+)
“Happy Families” – Midsomer Murders, Written by Nicholas Hicks-Beach (Acorn TV)
“Boots on the Ground” – Narcos: Mexico, Written by Iturri Sosa (Netflix)
ROBERT L. FISH MEMORIAL AWARD
"Analogue,” Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Rob Osler (Dell Magazines)
(previously announced; see our story here)
Laurie R. King
Lesa Holstine – Lesa’s Book Critiques; Library Journal Reviewer
ELLERY QUEEN AWARD
Juliet Grames – Soho Crime
THE SIMON & SCHUSTER MARY HIGGINS CLARK AWARD
The Secret Life of Miss Mary Bennet by Katherine Cowley (Tule Publishing - Tule Mystery)
Ruby Red Herring by Tracy Gardner (Crooked Lane Books)
Clark and Division by Naomi Hirahara (Soho Press – Soho Crime)
The Sign of Death by Callie Hutton (Crooked Lane Books)
Chapter and Curse by Elizabeth Penney (St. Martin’s Paperbacks)
THE G.P. PUTNAM’S SONS SUE GRAFTON MEMORIAL AWARD
Double Take by Elizabeth Breck (Crooked Lane Books)
Runner by Tracy Clark (Kensington Books)
Shadow Hill by Thomas Kies (Sourcebooks – Poisoned Pen Press)
Sleep Well, My Lady by Kwei Quartey (Soho Press – Soho Crime)
Family Business by S.J. Rozan (Pegasus Books – Pegasus Crime)