Thursday, 29 April 2021

Nothing can beat the thrill of being in person at the annual Edgar Awards.

I have enjoyed everything about it—the cocktail party, the chance to talk to editors and writers and the heartfelt speeches.

Certain moments have always stood out through the years—moments that can’t be recreated on Zoom.

And I also love getting all dressed up.

So, maybe next year we can all gather together.

But the organizers of the 75th Edgar Awards, sponsored by Mystery Writers of America, did a wonderful job of presenting a first-class awards ceremony that began at 1 p.m. April 29.

First, MWA kept up the attention by having a series of interviews with the nominees and Grand Master and Ellery Queen honoreesDetails here.

In addition, authors have been reading from their nominated books on Mystery Writers of America’s Facebook page.

It was almost like being there.

As was done last year, the winners gave acceptance speeches immediately after their names were announced. These speeches were live adding a sense of spontaneaty and charm. Loved the cameos by pets.

Colette Bancroft, winner of the Robert L. Fish award, thanked each of the 14 authors whose stories appeared in the short story collection Tampa Bay Noir, as well as her friends and family, including her late husband, John.

In accepting the Raven Award for Malice Domestic, Verena Rose thanked the MWA board, fans, writers, remembered when she got the call about the award on a Friday the 13th and recalled the early days of Malice when Elizabeth Peters helped get the conference going.

Elizabeth C. Bunce's happiness was contagious and we were all charmed by the cameo by her cat.

Christine Lane's emotional acceptance had most also in tears. Alyssa Cole mentioned racism and prejudice and social justice--themes in When No One Is Watching, winner of the paperback original category.

Deepa Anappara was clearly shocked at taking best novel for her Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line and used her time to mention the pandemic situation in India.

Thank you, Grand Master Jeffery Deaver for wearing a tux, at least the part of the tux we could see. Grand Master Charlaine Harris was her usual charming self, thanking all the professionals who helped her with her career as well as her friends, family and readers. "I feel I have been elected prom queen and won the Noble Peace Prize," Harris said.

Here is the complete list of the nominees with the winners first, in bold with *** in front of their names.

Congratulations to each of the nominees and those who took home an Edgar.

***Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara (Penguin Random House – Random House)
Before She Was Helen by Caroline B. Cooney (Poisoned Pen Press)
Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman (Penguin Random House - Pamela Dorman Books)
These Women by Ivy Pochoda (HarperCollins Publishers - Ecco)
The Missing American by Kwei Quartey (Soho Press – Soho Crime)
The Distant Dead by Heather Young (HarperCollins Publishers - William Morrow)
***Please See Us by Caitlin Mullen (Simon & Schuster – Gallery Books)
Murder in Old Bombay
 by Nev March (Minotaur Books)
Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)
Winter Counts by David Heska Wanbli Weiden (HarperCollins Publishers - Ecco)
Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel (Penguin Random House - Berkley)
***When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole (HarperCollins Publishers - William Morrow)
The Deep, Deep Snow by Brian Freeman (Blackstone Publishing)
Unspeakable Things by Jess Lourey (Amazon Publishing – Thomas & Mercer)
The Keeper by Jessica Moor (Penguin Random House - Penguin Books)
East of Hounslow by Khurrum Rahman (HarperCollins Publishers - Harper 360)
***Death in Mud Lick: A Coal Country Fight Against the Drug Companies that Delivered the Opioid Epidemic by Eric Eyre (Simon & Schuster - Scribner)
Blood Runs Coal: The Yablonski Murders and the Battle for the United Mine Workers of America
 by Mark A. Bradley (W.W. Norton & Company)
The Third Rainbow Girl: The Long Life of a Double Murder in Appalachia by Emma Copley Eisenberg (Hachette Book Group – Hachette Books)
Yellow Bird: Oil, Murder, and a Woman's Search for Justice in Indian Country by Sierra Crane Murdoch (Penguin Random House – Random House)
Veritas: A Harvard Professor, a Con Man, and the Gospel of Jesus's Wife by Ariel Sabar (Penguin Random House - Doubleday)

***Phantom Lady: Hollywood Producer Joan Harrison, the Forgotten Woman Behind Hitchcock by Christina Lane (Chicago Review Press)
Howdunit: A Masterclass in Crime Writing by Members of the Detection Club
 edited by Martin Edwards (HarperCollins Publishers – Harper360/Collins Crime Club)
Ian Rankin: A Companion to the Mystery & Fiction by Erin E. MacDonald (McFarland)
Guilt Rules All:  Irish Mystery, Detective, and Crime Fiction by Elizabeth Mannion & Brian Cliff (Syracuse University Press)
This Time Next Year We'll be Laughing by Jacqueline Winspear (Soho Press)
***"Dust, Ash, Flight," Addis Ababa Noir by Maaza Mengiste (Akashic Books)
"The Summer Uncle Cat Came to Stay," Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Leslie Elman (Dell Magazines)
"Etta at the End of the World," Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine by Joseph S. Walker  (Dell Magazines)
“The Twenty-Five Year Engagement,” In League with Sherlock Holmes by James W. Ziskin (Pegasus Books – Pegasus Crime)
***Premeditated Myrtle by Elizabeth C. Bunce (Workman Publishing - Algonquin Young Readers)
Me and Banksy by Tanya Lloyd Kyi (Penguin Random House Canada - Puffin Canada)
From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks (HarperCollins Children's Books - Katherine Tegen Books)
Ikenga by Nnedi Okorafor (Penguin Young Readers – Viking BFYR)
Nessie Quest by Melissa Savage (Random House Children's Books - Crown BFYR)
Coop Knows the Scoop by Taryn Souders (Sourcebooks Young Readers)
***The Companion by Katie Alender (Penguin Young Readers – G.P. Putnam’s Sons BFYR)
The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (Hachette Book Group – Little, Brown BFYR)
They Went Left by Monica Hesse (Hachette Book Group – Little, Brown BFYR)
Silence of Bones by June Hur (Macmillan Children’s Books – Feiwel & Friends)
The Cousins by Karen M. McManus (Penguin Random House – Delacorte Press)
***“Episode 1, Photochemistry” – Dead Still, Written by John Morton (Acorn TV)
“Episode 1, The Stranger” – Harlan Coben’s The Stranger, Written by Danny Brocklehurst (Netflix)
“Episode 1, Open Water” – The Sounds, Written by Sarah-Kate Lynch (Acorn TV)
“Episode 1” - Des, Written by Luke Neal (Sundance Now)
“What I Know” – The Boys, Written by Rebecca Sonnenshine, based on the comic by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson (Amazon)
"The Bite,” Tampa Bay Noir by Colette Bancroft (Akashic Books)
***The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne by Elsa Hart (Minotaur Books)
Death of an American Beauty by Mariah Fredericks (Minotaur Books)
The Lucky One by Lori Rader-Day (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)
The First to Lie by Hank Phillippi Ryan (Forge Books)
Cold Wind by Paige Shelton (Minotaur Books)

***Vera Kelly is Not a Mystery by Rosalie Knecht (Tin House Books)
The Burn by Kathleen Kent (Hachette Book Group – Mulholland Books)
Riviera Gold by Laurie R. King (Penguin Random House – Ballantine Books)
Dead Land by Sara Paretsky (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)
The Sleeping Nymph by Ilaria Tuti (Soho Press – Soho Crime)
Turn to Stone by James W. Ziskin (Start Publishing – Seventh Street Books)
Jeffery Deaver
Charlaine Harris
Malice Domestic
Reagan Arthur, Publisher – Alfred A. Knopf

Oline Cogdill
Saturday, 17 April 2021

This is the awards season, with nominations and presentations starting now through August when Bouchercon 2021 occurs.

Of course, in-person ceremonies can’t be held just yet, but authors deserve to be rewarded for their good books.

Left Coast Crime kicked off the presentations with its awards a couple of weeks ago in a tidy ceremony. Details of who won are here at Mystery Scene.

The 75th Edgar Awards, sponsored by Mystery Writers of America, will be presented on Zoom at 1 p.m. (EST) on April 29. Meanwhile, MWA is having a series of interviews with the nominees and Grand Master and Ellery Queen honoreesDetails here. In addition, authors are reading from their nominated books on Mystery Writers of America’s Facebook page.   

Malice Domestic will have its ceremony in July.

I think the organizers of these virtual award ceremonies are doing a terrific job. They are focusing on the nominees—and let’s face it, it truly is an honor to be nominated—with the winners being allowed to discuss their book and offer their gratitude, often in a pre-recorded video.

The applause is missing, but I hope everyone watching is applauding at home.

And traditional buying of the drinks isn’t happening, but we can toast at home. And when we can do it in-person, winners should expect to be toasted many times.

The latest awards presentation was this weekend with the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

Full disclosure, I was a judge in the Mystery Thriller category along with my fellow judges Naomi Hirahara and Michael Nava. I was elected to present the award.

As I said in our presentation, our job was difficult because of the exceptional novels published during 2020.

The 2020 L.A. Times Book Prize in the Mystery/Thriller category was awarded to S.A. Cosby for Blacktop Wasteland. (This award is given out about 23 minutesLA Times in the ceremony.)

In presenting the award, our group statement was:

Blacktop Wasteland by S.A. Cosby, published by Flatiron, centers on a young family man at a crossroad in his life. This compelling novel deeply explores race, responsibility, parenthood, moral complexities and identity. Set in economically strapped area of Virginia, Blacktop Wasteland also looks at how a family’s struggles with cash are acerbated by a financial downtown. Cosby’s noir story reflects concerns of the 21st century through a gripping plot accented by fully fleshed out characters with realistic motives.”

The five finalists in the 2020 L.A. Times Book Prize in the Mystery/Thriller category are:
Blacktop Wasteland by S.A. Cosby (Flatiron)
A Beautiful Crime by Christopher Bollen (Harper)
Little Secrets by Jennifer Hillier (Minotaur)
And Now She’s Gone by Rachel Howzell Hall (Forge)
These Women by Ivy Pochoda (Ecco)

Congratulations to all.


Oline Cogdill
Sunday, 11 April 2021

For years, I wanted to attend Left Coast Crime (LCC) having heard such good feedback about the conference. The various western locations also interested me.

But the timing was never right as it always seemed I had previous commitments in the March/April time frame.

But 2020 was different.

Oh, so different as we were about to find out.

For the first time, the timing worked for me and, as an extra bonus, one of my dearest and closet friends lived in San Diego.

Tony and I had big plans—we would spend the day before the conference and, after LCC ended, we would either stay in San Diego, a city I love, or spend time in Los Angeles.

None of that was to be.

Tony and I spent the day before the conference together.

But then the pandemonium of the pandemic began to take hold.

The first day of LCC was terrific. Good panels, good authors, good discussion.

I moderated one panel, went up to my room to grab something and 10 minutes later came down to find out the city had shut down LCC because of the health risk.

Of course, the in-person 2021 LCC also had to be canceled. But LCC had a terrific virtual conference last month that featured the finalists in the Lefty Award categories.

And attention must be paid to those authors who have worked so hard on their novels to become Lefty Award finalists.

Last Saturday, LCC had its small but very good awards ceremony honoring those winners and finalists.

Each winner was given a chance to make an acceptance speech.

Between categories, LCC honored its past by showing the program cover and the guests of honor through the years.

Congratulations to all the Left Award winners, and to the nominees. Each author is a winner.

2021 Lefty Award for Best Humorous Mystery Novel
The winner:
Murder in the Bayou Boneyard by Ellen Byron (Crooked Lane Books)

The nominees:
Mimi Lee Gets a Clue by Jennifer J. Chow (Berkley Prime Crime)
Squeeze Me by Carl Hiaasen (Alfred A. Knopf)
The Study of Secrets by Cynthia Kuhn (Henery Press)
The Pot Thief Who Studied the Woman at Otowi Crossing by J. Michael Orenduff (Aakenbaaken & Kent)
Skin Deep by Sung J. Woo (Agora Books)

2021 Lefty Award for Best Historical Mystery Novel
The winner:
The Turning Tide by Catriona McPherson(Quercus)

The nominees:
The Fate of a Flapper by Susanna Calkins, (Minotaur Books)
A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Murder by Dianne Freeman (Kensington Books)
Riviera Gold by Laurie R. King (Bantam Books)
Mortal Music by Ann Parker (Poisoned Pen Press)
Turn to Stone by James W. Ziskin (Seventh Street Books)

2021 Lefty Award for Best Debut Mystery Novel
The winner:
Winter Counts by David Heska Wanbli Weiden (Ecco)

The nominees:
Murder Goes to Market by Daisy Bateman (Seventh Street Books)
Derailed by Mary Keliikoa (Camel Press)
Murder at the Mena House by Erica Ruth Neubauer (Kensington Books)
The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman (Viking)
The Lady Upstairs by Halley Sutton (Putnam)

Lefty Nominees for Best Mystery Novel (not in other categories)
The winner:
All the Devils Are Here by Louise Penny (Minotaur Books)

The nominees:
What You Don’t See by Tracy Clark (Kensington Books)
Blacktop Wasteland by S.A. Cosby (Flatiron Books)
Blind Vigil by Matt Coyle (Oceanview Publishing)
And Now She’s Gone by Rachel Howzell Hall (Forge)

More good news, LCC 2022 is scheduled for April 7–10, 2022, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I plan to go, along with my other dear and close friend, Toni. (Yes, one is Tony, one is Toni). She and I plan to come in early, go to Santa Fe for a couple of days and then tour Albuquerque—something we did years ago.

Honorees for LCC 2022 will be:
Guest of Honor: Mick Herron
Guest of Honor: Catriona McPherson
Fan Guest of Honor: Kristopher Zgorski
Toastmaster: Kellye Garrett
Ghost of Honor: Tony Hillerman

I am hoping that by the time LCC 2022 rolls around, in-person conferences will be the norm.

And more good news, LCC 2023 also is in the works for Tucson, Arizona.

Planning is good!

Oline Cogdill