Monday, May 04, 2009

Mystery Book Awards

The Agatha Awards are named in honor of Agatha Christie, and, as such, are given to books that exemplify her style and genre.
The Agatha Awards honor the "traditional mystery." That is to say, books best typified by the works of Agatha Christie as well as others. For our purposes, the genre is loosely defined as mysteries that:
• contain no explicit sex
• contain no excessive gore or gratuitous violence
• usually feature an amateur detective
• take place in a confined setting and contain characters who know one another

Novels and stories featuring police officers and private detectives may qualify for the awards, but materials generally classified as "hard-boiled" are not appropriate.
Another thing which makes them different from most awards is that there isn’t a panel of judges who chooses the winners. The voting is done by secret ballot by the attendees at the Malice Domestic conference each year. In other words, mystery writers, readers, and lovers – people like you and I.

In case you missed this, here’s a list of the newly announced Agatha winners:

Best Children’s/Young Adult
“The Crossroads,” by Chris Grabenstein (Random House)

Best Short Story
“The Night Things Changed,” by Dana Cameron (Penguin Group)

Best Non-Fiction
“How to Write Killer Historical Mysteries,” by Kathy Lynn Emerson (Perseverance Press)

Best First Novel
“Death of a Cozy Writer, by G.M. Malliet (Midnight Ink)

Best Novel
“The Cruelest Month” by Louise Penny (St. Martin’s Press)

You can find the full list of the nominees on the Malice Domestic site.

Congratulations to all the winners!

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  1. I'm going to make it point to read at least one of those novels.

  2. That's a very prestigious list to make it onto. Agatha set a very high standard for excellence in mystery books. I like a mystery book that doesn't resort to overdone sensationalism in order to try and jazz up the writing rather than just having a darn good plot that captivates you.

  3. Sounds like you're more of a cozy mystery reader than a thriller reader, Marvin.

    Hi Travis. I think that's a great goal. (For me as well.)

  4. I wonder why they limit to amateur detective. Poirot was a professional PI, wasn't he?

  5. I had no idea the awards were selected by ballot rather than a pannel of judges. What an honor for the winners.

    Jane Kennedy Sutton

  6. Enid, Agatha Christie came to hate Hercule Poirot, so maybe out of respect to Dame Christie, they decided to pay homage to Jane Marple. :)

    Anyway, I'd love to interview all the Agatha winners at Mysterious People.


  7. Kinda ironic then that section of the bookstore also contains thrillers and horror! (Most of those would definitely NOT qualify...)

    L. Diane Wolfe

  8. I like books driven by plot and character. It seems sex and violence is so often used as a crutch and is rarely needed. I used to read a certain author religiously, but each successive book got more and more violent. Nearly all the violence was gratuitous. Now I never even bother to read the jacket copy.

    Congrats to the winners!

  9. I love that the winners are chosen by attendees. Death of a Cozy Writer looks especially interesting.

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  11. Sometimes it's hard to find authors. Thriller are put in with mysteries, and sometimes they're in with Literary/Fiction. Mystery encompasses cozies and suspense and thrillers. But, at least, there are different awards for the different sub-genres.

  12. I'm more drawn to thrillers and psychological suspense, not traditional sleuth mysteries.

    Morgan Mandel


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