Wednesday, 19 January 2022

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.
But…

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

BEST NOVEL
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
 
BEST CRITICAL/BIOGRAPHICAL
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)
    
BEST JUVENILE
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)


SPECIAL AWARDS
(previously announced; see our story here)
 
GRAND MASTER
Laurie R. King

RAVEN AWARD
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)

2022 EDGAR NOMINATIONS ANNOUNCED
Oline Cogdill
2022-edgar-nominations-announced
Wednesday, 12 January 2022

The Grand Master, Raven and Ellery Queen are the highest honors offered by Mystery Writers of America (MWA), aside from the Edgar Allan Poe awards for authors.
What makes these three awards so special—and highly respected—is they honor contributions to the genre—authors, behind the scenes people, publishers whose devotion to mysteries continue to elevate mystery fiction.

And without fail, the MWA board chooses the most deserving people.

So, time to stop burying the lead!

Author Laurie R. King has been named the 2022 Grand Master.

Librarian, blogger, and book reviewer Lesa Holstine will receive the Raven Award.

Juliet Grames, senior vice president and Associate Publisher at Soho Press, will take home the Ellery Queen Award.
Most deserving honorees, every one.

The awards will be presented during the 76th Annual Edgar Awards Ceremony, which will be held April 28, 2022, at the Marriott Marquis Times Square in New York City.

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,” a press release stated.

Laurie R. King is the bestselling author of 30 novels and other works, including the Mary Russell-Sherlock Holmes stories, beginning with The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, which was named “One of the 20th Century’s Best Crime Novels” by the IMBA.

King has received the Agatha, Anthony, Edgar, Lambda, Wolfe, Macavity, Creasey dagger, and Romantic Times Career Achievement awards, among other honors. She holds an honorary doctorate in theology, and is a Baker Street Irregular.  Her recent books include Castle Shade and How to Write a Mystery (co-edited with Lee Child.) She has been a member of Mystery Writers of America since 1993 and served on the NorCal and National boards.
 
King shows her droll wit when she was notified of the honor: “I am sure I’m not the only person who greeted the announcement that they had been given this extreme honor of the mystery world first with silence, then with, ‘Really?  Me??’  I mean, any list that begins with Agatha Christie and touches on such gods as Ross MacDonald and Daphne du Maurier, Ngaio Marsh and John Le Carré, Tony Hillerman and—well, you get the idea. ‘I am honored’ is an inadequate response (You are sure you counted the votes, right?) when what I mean is, ‘I am stunned, dumbfounded, gobsmacked.’ And honored too, of course—intensely, humbly, and gratefully,” according to MWA’s press release.
 
Previous Grand Masters include Charlaine Harris, Jeffery Deaver, Barbara Neely, Martin Cruz Smith, William Link, Peter Lovesey, Walter Mosley, Lois Duncan, James Ellroy, Robert Crais, Ken Follett, Martha Grimes, Sara Paretsky, James Lee Burke, Sue Grafton, Stephen King, Mary Higgins Clark, Lawrence Block, P.D. James, Ellery Queen, Daphne du Maurier, Alfred Hitchcock, Graham Greene, and Agatha Christie, to name a few.

I have a special affinity for the Raven Award—I received it in 2012 and that remains a career high. So. I am especially thrilled to share the legacy of the Raven with librarian, blogger, and book reviewer Lesa Holstine.

The Raven Award recognizes outstanding achievement in the mystery field outside the realm of creative writing.

Holstine has worked in public libraries since she was 16. For almost 50 years, she’s shared her love of books, especially mysteries, with library patrons, and is presently the Collections Manager at the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library in Evansville, Indiana. She is in the 18th year of writing her award-winning blog, Lesa’s Book Critiques, has been the blogger for Poisoned Pen Bookstore for over four years, and reviews mysteries for Mystery Readers’ Journal and Library Journal, where she was named Reviewer of the Year in 2018. She has received the 2011 Arizona Library Association Outstanding Library Service Award and the David S. Thompson Special Service Memorial Award. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and serves on the Left Coast Crime Standing Committee.

Holstine also is an incredibly nice person and have loved speaking with her at mystery writers conferences through the years.

According to MWA press release, she also was equally stunned. “You’re kidding!” Holstine is quoted as saying, “I’m grateful to the MWA Board, and to mystery writers everywhere who have provided so much enjoyment over the years.”
 
Previous Raven Award recipients include Malice Domestic, Left Coast Crime, Marilyn Stasio, The Raven Bookstore, Sisters in Crime, and Oline Cogdill.
 
The Ellery Queen Award was established in 1983 to honor “outstanding writing teams and outstanding people in the mystery-publishing industry.”

This year’s honoree is Juliet Grames. As senior vice president and associate publisher at Soho Press, she has curated the award-winning Soho Crime imprint since 2011. Her debut novel, The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna, was published by Ecco/HarperCollins and has been translated into 10 languages.
 
On learning she would receive the Ellery Queen Award, Grames said in the press release, "I am astonished and moved by this great honor. There is no community I could be prouder to work in: the creators in our genre are not only artists but activists and thoroughly good people. It is a great privilege to nurture and amplify their voices, and I humbly thank every author who has ever trusted me with that privilege. It is also a great privilege to work for a publisher, Bronwen Hruska, whose values—both literary and philosophical—align so perfectly with mine. This recognition belongs to them, although I am honored to be their representative."  
 
Previous Ellery Queen Award winners include Reagan Arthur, Kelley Ragland, Linda Landrigan, Neil Nyren, Charles Ardai, and Janet Hutchings.

Mystery Scene congratulations each honoree.

Photos: Laurie R. King, top, photo by Josh Edelson; Lesa Holstine, middle, photo courtesy Holstine; Juliet Grames, bottom,  photo by Ninsa Subin

 

LAURIE R. KING 2022 GRAND MASTER
Oline H Cogdill
laurie-r-king-2022-grand-master
Friday, 10 December 2021

Agatha Christie never goes out of style.

I have said that several times and may have even used that same sentence.

“The Queen of Mysteries,” as she was often called, continues to entertain readers with her stories about Miss Jane Marple, Hercule Poirot and her other characters. These are still in print, fodder for numerous TV series, films and short story collections; every few years a new biography comes along.

And she’s also given authors ideas for other novels based on Christie, who died in 1976 at age 85.

For example, Lori Rader-Day gave readers a new view of Dame Christie with her intriguing novel Death at Greenway, an original plot that centered on a little-known fact of the author’s life. During WWII, Christie’s Devon estate Greenway housed 10 children whose parents sent them to the countryside to, hopefully, be safe as London was being bombed by the Germans.

The latest in the Christie reboot is The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont (St. Martin’s Press), which comes out in February 2022.

The Christie Affair recounts the 11-day disappearance of Agatha Christie through the perspective of her husband's mistress, Nan O’Dea, a fictionalized version of his real-life lover Nancy Neele.

Set in London during 1925, The Christie Affair revolves around the betrayal that hit the author hard, prompting her disappearance.

The Christie Affair also will be the inspiration for a TV series, as announced by Miramax TV. British writer Juliette Towhidi (Calendar Girls, Death Comes to Pemberley) is set to write the adaptation.

The television series doesn't have a premiere date yet.

In a story about the TV series, Deadline.com posted “Agatha and Nan transform from competitors to unlikely allies while the world around them remains cloaked in the dark, unable to grasp the complexities of each woman’s relationship to her past and her female identity. Set mostly in the beautiful and historic British spa town of Harrogate, The Christie Affair is part sweeping love story– but not the one you expect — part exploration of the bonds of womanhood and part murder mystery to rival one of Christie’s own, now very famous stories.”

Whenever it airs, the TV series has to be better than the abysmal 1979 movie Agatha directed by Michael Apted. The movie starred Vanessa Redgrave as Christie with Timothy Dalton as her husband Archie.

I still remember how this film made Dame Christie seem boring.

The film Christie began with Agatha Christie giving an engraved silver cup for her husband Archie, who was unappreciative. According to several reviews that recap the plot, the couple walk to a publicity event for her new novel The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. On the scene is an American reporter Wally Stanton (Dustin Hoffman). The next morning, Archie demands a divorce, saying he loves his secretary.

That night, Christie gets into an automobile accident.

The police discover her wrecked car, prompting press coverage. It’s learned that Christie left a letter for her secretary, prompting speculation of suicide.

Stanton follows a lead that takes him to a hotel in Harrogate where the author is checking in.

From there, the film just goes down hill.

But I have high hopes for the TV series based on The Christie Affair, as well as the novel that sounds terrific.





THE DISAPPEARANCE OF AGATHA CHRISTIE
Oline H Cogdill
the-disappearance-of-agatha-christie