Most crime readers are aware that there are mystery awards – the Edgars, right? – but not everyone knows just how many awards there are. There are the Agatha Awards for best domestic mystery; the Shamus Awards for detective novels; Britain’s Dagger Awards, and many, many more. And for a quarter of a century, the Mystery Readers International’s Macavity Awards (named after a certain mystery cat); think of it as the Golden Globes of crime. This year’s awards were give at Bouchercon, the annual mystery convention named in honor of mystery author and editor Anthony Boucher, a master of the locked-room whodunnit. (I once spoke at a Bouchercon up in Anchorage, Alaska, where was very excited to get a close up view of many famous crime writers, and a moose.) Here are the winners and runners up, a great cross section of 2011’s best crime fiction:
Best Mystery Novel: Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead by Sara Gran. In this series debut Gran perfectly captures the surreal gumbo of dreamy dreams and sleazy schemes that is post Katrina New Orleans. A truly original series. Gran’s fellow nominees in this category were:
- 1222 by Anne Holt, translated by Marlaine Delargy.
- The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz.
- The Ridge by Michael Koryta.
- A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny.
- The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes by Marcus Sakey.
- Hell & Gone by Duane Swierczynski.
Best First Mystery Novel: All Cry Chaos by Leonard Rosen. Murder, international intrigue, schemes for global domination, and …mathematics? Yep: Rosen pulls of a neat trick in this brainy thriller. Rosen’s fellow nominees in this category were:
- Learning to Swim by Sara J. Henry.
- Nazareth Child by Darrell James.
- Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante.
- The Informationist by Taylor Stevens.
- Before I Go To Sleep by S. J. Watson.
Sue Feder Memorial Historical Mystery: Dandy Gilver and the Proper Treatment of Bloodstains by Catriona McPherson. In this traditional cozy set in 1920s Edinburgh, McPherson unleashes a delightful cast of suspects in a classic locked room murder. McPherson’s fellow nominees in this category were:
- Naughty in Nice by Rhys Bowen.
- Narrows Gate by Jim Fusilli.
- Mercury’s Rise by Ann Parker.
- Troubled Bones by Jeri Westerson.
- A Lesson in Secrets by Jacqueline Winspear.
Best Mystery Related Non-Fiction: The Sookie Stackhouse Companion, edited by Charlaine Harris. Harris’ fellow nominees were:
- Books, Crooks and Counselors: How to Write Accurately About Criminal Law and Courtroom Procedure by Leslie Budewitz.
- Agatha Christie: Murder in the Making: More Stories and Secrets from Her Notebooks by John Curran.
- Wilkie Collins, Vera Caspary and the Evolution of the Casebook Novel by A.B. Emrys.
- The Savage City: Race, Murder, and a Generation on the Edge by T.J. English.
On an unrelated note, I was on a panel recently at the Taproot Theatre with Michael Gruber, Bernadette Pajer and John Longenbaugh entitled Clues for Life: Lessons Learned from the Mystery Novel. We had a great time: here’s the podcast.