The 2021 Agatha Awards

The 2021 Agatha Awards were presented April 23 during Malice Domestic in Bethesda, MD.

The Agatha Awards honor the “traditional mystery,” books typified by the works of Agatha Christie and others. The genre is loosely defined as mysteries that contain no explicit sex, excessive gore or gratuitous violence, and are not classified as “hard-boiled.” 

THE AGATHA AWARDS (for works published in 2021)

BEST CONTEMPORARY NOVEL

  • Cajun Kiss of Death by Ellen Byron (Crooked Lane Books)

BEST HISTORICAL NOVEL

  • Death at Greenway by Lori Rader-Day (HarperCollins)

BEST FIRST NOVEL

  • Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala (Berkley)

BEST SHORT STORY

  • “Bay of Reckoning” by Shawn Reilly Simmons in Murder on the Beach (Destination Murders)

BEST NON-FICTION

  • How to Write a Mystery: A Handbook from Mystery Writers of America by MWA with editors Lee Child and Laurie R. King (Simon & Schuster)

BEST CHILDREN’S/YA MYSTERY

  • I Play One on TV by Alan Orloff (Down & Out Books)

Crime Fiction Awards News To Begin 2022

Crime fiction award season is gearing up and the finalists for the 2022 Barry Awards and 2021 Agatha Awards have been announced.

2022 BARRY AWARDS

BEST MYSTERY/CRIME NOVEL

  • The Dark Hours, Michael Connelly (Little, Brown)
  • Razorblade Tears, S. A. Cosby (Flatiron Books)
  • Last Redemption, Matt Coyle (Oceanview)
  • Clark and Division, Naomi Hirahara (Soho Crime)
  • Billy Summers, Stephen King (Scribner)
  • We Begin at the End, Chris Whitaker (Henry Holt)

BEST FIRST MYSTERY/CRIME NOVEL

  • Who Is Maude Dixon?, Alexandra Andrews (Little, Brown)
  • Girl A, Abigail Dean (Viking)
  • Down Range, Taylor Moore (William Morrow)
  • Falling, T. J. Newman (Simon & Schuster)
  • Sleeping Bear, Connor Sullivan (Emily Bestler/Atria)
  • Steel Fear, Brandon Webb & John David Mann (Bantam)

BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL

  • The Hunted, Gabriel Bergmoser (Harpercollins)
  • Arsenic and Adobo, Mia P. Manansala (Berkley)
  • Black Coral, Andrew Mayne (Thomas & Mercer)
  • The Good Turn, Dervla Mctiernan (Blackstone)
  • Search For Her, Rick Mofina (Mira)
  • Bound, Vanda Symon (Orenda Books)

BEST THRILLER

  • The Devil’s Hand, Jack Carr (Emily Bestler/Atria)
  • The Nameless Ones, John Connolly (Emily Bestler/Atria)
  • Dead By Dawn, Paul Doiron (Minotaur)
  • Relentless, Mark Greaney (Berkley)
  • Slough House, Mick Herron (Soho Crime)
  • Five Decembers, James Kestrel (Hardcase Crime)

The winners of these awards will be announced at the Opening Ceremonies at the Minneapolis Bouchercon on September 8, 2022.

THE 2021 AGATHA AWARD NOMINEES

BEST CONTEMPORARY NOVEL

  • Cajun Kiss of Death by Ellen Byron (Crooked Lane Books)
  • Watch Her by Edwin Hill (Kensington)
  • The Madness of Crowds by Louise Penny (Minotaur)
  • Her Perfect Life by Hank Phillippi Ryan (Forge)
  • Symphony Road by Gabriel Valjan (Level Best Books)
  • BEST HISTORICAL NOVEL
  • Murder at Mallowan Hall by Colleen Cambridge (Kensington)
  • Clark and Division by Naomi Hirahara (Soho Crime)
  • The Bombay Prince by Sujata Massey (Soho Crime)
  • Death at Greenway by Lori Rader-Day (HarperCollins)
  • The Devil’s Music by Gabriel Valjan (Winter Goose Publishing)
  • BEST FIRST NOVEL
  • The Turncoat’s Widow by Mally Becker (Level Best Books)
  • A Dead Man’s Eyes by Lori Duffy Foster (Level Best Books)
  • Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala (Berkley)
  • Murder in the Master by Judy L. Murray (Level Best Books)
  • Mango, Mambo, and Murder by Raquel V. Reyes (Crooked Lane Books)
  • BEST SHORT STORY
  • “A Family Matter” by Barb Goffman (Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine Jan/Feb 2021)
  • “A Tale of Two Sisters” by Barb Goffman in Murder on the Beach (Destination Murders)
  • “Doc’s at Midnight” by Richie Narvaez in Midnight Hour (Crooked Lane Books)
  • “The Locked Room Library” by Gigi Pandian (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine July/Aug 2021)
  • “Bay of Reckoning” by Shawn Reilly Simmons in Murder on the Beach (Destination Murders)
  • BEST NON-FICTION
  • The Combat Zone: Murder, Race, and Boston’s Struggle for Justice by Jan Brogan (Bright Leaf Press)
  • Murder Most Grotesque: The Comedic Crime Fiction of Joyce Porter by Chris Chan (Level Best Books)
  • The Irish Assassins: Conspiracy, Revenge, and the Phoenix Park Murders that Stunned Victorian England by Julie Kavanaugh (Atlantic Monthly Press)
  • How to Write a Mystery: A Handbook from Mystery Writers of America by MWA with editors Lee Child and Laurie R. King (Simon & Schuster)
  • BEST CHILDREN’S/YA MYSTERY
  • ?Cold-Blooded Myrtle by Elizabeth C. Bunce (Algonquin Young Readers)
  • The Forest of Stolen Girls by June Hur (Fiewel and Friends/Macmillan)
  • I Play One on TV by Alan Orloff (Down & Out Books)
  • Leisha’s Song by Lynn Slaughter (Fire and Ice/Melange Books)
  • Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche by Nancy Springer (Wednesday Books)

The awards will be presented during Malice Domestic, which is being held April 22-24 in Bethesda, MD.

[Thanks to Cora Buhlert and Todd Mason for the information.]

2020 Agatha Awards

Malice Domestic announced the 2020 Agatha Award winners on July 17.

The Agatha Awards honor the “traditional mystery,” books typified by the works of Agatha Christie and others. The genre is loosely defined as mysteries that contain no explicit sex, excessive gore or gratuitous violence, and are not classified as “hard-boiled.” 

THE AGATHA AWARDS (for works published in 2020)

BEST CONTEMPORARY NOVEL

  • All the Devils are Here by Louise Penny (Minotaur)

BEST HISTORICAL NOVEL

  • The Last Mrs. Summers by Rhys Bowen (Berkeley)

BEST FIRST NOVEL

  • Murder at the Mena House by Erica Ruth Neubauer (Kensington)

BEST SHORT STORY

  • “Dear Emily Etiquette” by Barb Goffman (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Sep/Oct)

BEST NON-FICTION

  • Phantom Lady: Hollywood Producer Joan Harrison, the Forgotten Woman Behind Hitchcock by Christina Lane (Chicago Review Press)

BEST CHILDREN’S/YA MYSTERY

  • Holly Hernandez and the Death of Disco by Richard Narvaez (Piñata Books)

[Thanks to Cora Buhlert for the story.]

2020 Agatha Award Nominees

Malice Domestic announced the 2020 Agatha Award nominees on March 26.

The Agatha Awards honor the “traditional mystery,” books typified by the works of Agatha Christie and others. The genre is loosely defined as mysteries that contain no explicit sex, excessive gore or gratuitous violence, and are not classified as “hard-boiled.” 

A ballot listing each category’s nominees will be given to all members of More Than Malice, which will be held virtually July 14-17, 2021. The winners will be announced July 17t.

The Agatha Award Nominees (for works published in 2020)

Best Contemporary Novel

  • Gift of the Magpie by Donna Andrews (Minotaur)
  • Murder in the Bayou Boneyard by Ellen Byron (Crooked Lane Books)
  • From Beer to Eternity by Sherry Harris (Kensington)
  • All the Devils are Here by Louise Penny (Minotaur)
  • The Lucky One by Lori Rader-Day (William Morris)

Best Historical Novel

  • The Last Mrs. Summers by Rhys Bowen (Berkeley)
  • The Fate of a Flapper by Susanna Calkins (Griffin)
  • A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Murder by Dianne Freeman (Kensington)
  • Taken Too Soon by Edith Maxwell (Beyond the Page Publishing)
  • The Turning Tide by Catriona McPherson (Quercus)

Best First Novel

  • A Spell for Trouble by Esme Addison (Crooked Lane Books)
  • Winter Witness by Tina deBellegarde (Level Best Books)
  • Derailed by Mary Keliikoa (Epicenter Press, Inc.)
  • Murder at the Mena House by Erica Ruth Neubauer (Kensington)
  • Murder Most Sweet by Laura Jensen Walker (Crooked Lane Books)

Best Short Story

  • “Dear Emily Etiquette” by Barb Goffman (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Sep/Oct)
  • “The Red Herrings at Killington Inn” by Shawn Reilly Simmons Masthead: Best New England Crime Stories (Level Best Books)
  • “The Boy Detective & The Summer of ‘74” by Art Taylor (Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine Jan/Feb)
  • “Elysian Fields” by Gabriel Valjan California Schemin’: The 2020 Bouchercon Anthology (Wildside Press)
  • “The 25 Year Engagement” by James Ziskin In League with Sherlock Holmes: Stories Inspired by the Sherlock Holmes Canon (Pegasus Crime)

Best Non-Fiction

  • Sometimes You Have to Lie: The Life and Times of Louise Fitzhugh, Renegade Author of Harriet the Spy by Leslie Brody (Seal Press)
  • American Sherlock: Murder, Forensics, and the Birth of American CSI by Kate Winkler Dawson (G. P. Putnam)
  • Howdunit: A Masterclass in Crime Writing by Members of the Detection Club by Martin Edwards (Collins Crime Club)
  • Phantom Lady: Hollywood Producer Joan Harrison, the Forgotten Woman Behind Hitchcock by Christina Lane (Chicago Review Press)
  • H. R. F. Keating: A Life of Crime by Sheila Mitchell (Level Best Books)

Best Children’s/YA Mystery

  • Midnight at the Barclay Hotel by Fleur Bradley (Viking Books for Young Readers)
  • Premeditated Myrtle by Elizabeth C. Bunce (Algonquin Young Readers)
  • Saltwater Secrets by Cindy Callaghan (Aladdin)
  • From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks (Katherine Teagen Books)
  • Holly Hernandez and the Death of Disco by Richard Narvaez (Piñata Books)

[Thanks to Cora Buhlert for the story.]

2019 Agatha Award Winners

Malice Domestic announced the 2019 Agatha Awards on May 2.

The Agatha Awards honor the “traditional mystery,” books typified by the works of Agatha Christie and others. The genre is loosely defined as mysteries that contain no explicit sex, excessive gore or gratuitous violence, and are not classified as “hard-boiled.” 

Since the COVID-19 outbreak prevented fans from gathering for Malice Domestic 32 this weekend, the awards were revealed during a ceremony streamed on Zoom.

The Agatha Awards (for works published in 2019)

Best Contemporary Novel

  • The Long Call by Ann Cleeves (Minotaur)

Best First Mystery Novel

  • One Night Gone by Tara Laskowski (Graydon House, a division of Harlequin)

Best Historical Mystery

  • Charity’s Burden by Edith Maxwell (Midnight Ink) 

Best Nonfiction

  • The Mutual Admiration Society: How Dorothy L. Sayers and her Oxford Circle Remade the World for Women by Mo Moulton (Basic Books)

Best Children/Young Adult

  • The Last Crystal by Frances Schoonmaker (Auctus Press)

Best Short Story 

  • “The Last Word” by Shawn Reilly Simmons, Malice Domestic 14: Mystery Most Edible (Wildside Press)

2019 Agatha Award Nominees

Malice Domestic announced the 2019 Agatha Award nominees on January 21.

The Agatha Awards honor the “traditional mystery,” books typified by the works of Agatha Christie and others. The genre is loosely defined as mysteries that contain no explicit sex, excessive gore or gratuitous violence, and are not classified as “hard-boiled.” 

A ballot listing each category’s nominees will be given to all attendees of Malice Domestic 32, which will be held May 1-3, 2020. Attendees will vote by secret ballot and the winners will be announced at the Agatha Awards Banquet.

The Agatha Award Nominees (for works published in 2019)

Best Contemporary Novel

  • Fatal Cajun Festival by Ellen Byron (Crooked Lane Books)
  • The Long Call by Ann Cleeves (Minotaur)
  • Fair Game by Annette Dashofy (Henery Press)
  • The Missing Ones by Edwin Hill (Kensington)
  • A Better Man by Louise Penny (Minotaur)
  • The Murder List by Hank Phillippi Ryan (Forge)

Best First Mystery Novel

  • A Dream of Death by Connie Berry (Crooked Lane Books)
  • One Night Gone by Tara Laskowski (Graydon House, a division of Harlequin)
  • Murder Once Removed by S. C. Perkins (Minotaur)
  • When It’s Time for Leaving by Ang Pompano (Encircle Publications)
  • Staging for Murder by Grace Topping (Henery Press)

Best Historical Mystery

  • Love and Death Among the Cheetahs by Rhys Bowen (Penquin)
  • Murder Knocks Twice by Susanna Calkins (Minotaur)
  • The Pearl Dagger by L. A. Chandlar (Kensington)
  • Charity’s Burden by Edith Maxwell (Midnight Ink) 
  • The Naming Game by Gabriel Valjan (Winter Goose Publishing)

Best Nonfiction

  • Frederic Dannay, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and the Art of the Detective Short Story by Laird R. Blackwell (McFarland)
  • Blonde Rattlesnake: Burmah Adams, Tom White, and the 1933 Crime Spree that Terrified Los Angeles by Julia Bricklin (Lyons Press)
  • Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep (Knopf)
  • The Mutual Admiration Society: How Dorothy L. Sayers and her Oxford Circle Remade the World for Women by Mo Moulton (Basic Books)
  • The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold (Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt)

Best Children/Young Adult

  • Kazu Jones and the Denver Dognappers by Shauna Holyoak (Disney Hyperion)
  • Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen MacManus (Delacorte Press)
  • The Last Crystal by Frances Schoonmaker (Auctus Press)
  • Top Marks for Murder (A Most Unladylike Mystery)
  • by Robin Stevens (Puffin)
  • Jada Sly, Artist and Spy by Sherri Winston (Little Brown Books for Young Readers)

Best Short Story 

  • “Grist for the Mill” by Kaye George in A Murder of Crows (Darkhouse Books)
  • “Alex’s Choice” by Barb Goffman in Crime Travel (Wildside Press)
  • “The Blue Ribbon” by Cynthia Kuhn in Malice Domestic 14: Mystery Most Edible (Wildside Press)
  • “The Last Word” by Shawn Reilly Simmons, Malice Domestic 14: Mystery Most Edible (Wildside Press)
  • “Better Days” by Art Taylor in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine

2018 Agatha Awards

Malice Domestic announced the 2018 Agatha Award winners on May 4.

The Agatha Awards honor the “traditional mystery,” books typified by the works of Agatha Christie and others. The genre is loosely defined as mysteries that contain no explicit sex, excessive gore or gratuitous violence, and are not classified as “hard-boiled.” 

The winners were selected by a vote of the attendees at Malice Domestic 31, held May 3-5, 2019.

Best Contemporary Novel

  • Mardi Gras Murder by Ellen Byron (Crooked Lane Books)

Best Historical Novel  

  •  The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey (Soho Crime)

Best First Novel

(tie)

  • A Ladies Guide to Etiquette and Murder by Dianne Freeman (Kensington)
  •  Curses Boiled Again by Shari Randall (St. Martin’s)

Best Short Story

(tie)

  • “All God’s Sparrows” by Leslie Budewitz (Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine)
  • The Case of the Vanishing Professor” by Tara Laskowski (Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine)

Best Young Adult Mystery

  • Potion Problems(Just Add Magic) by Cindy Callaghan (Aladdin) 

Best Non-fiction

  • Mastering Plot Twists by Jane Cleland (Writer’s Digest Books)

2018 Agatha Award Nominees

Malice Domestic has announced the 2018 Agatha Award nominees.

The Agatha Awards honor the “traditional mystery,” books typified by the works of Agatha Christie and others. The genre is loosely defined as mysteries that contain no explicit sex, excessive gore or gratuitous violence, and are not classified as “hard-boiled.” 

A ballot listing each category’s nominees will be given to all attendees of Malice Domestic 31, which will be held May 3-5, 2019. Attendees will vote by secret ballot, the ballots will be tabulated and the winners will be announced at the Agatha Awards Banquet to be held on Saturday May 4, 2019.

Best Contemporary Novel

  • Mardi Gras Murder by Ellen Byron (Crooked Lane Books)
  •  Beyond the Truth by Bruce Robert Coffin (Witness Impulse)
  •  Cry Wolf by Annette Dashofy (Henery Press)
  •  Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny (Minotaur)
  •  Trust Me by Hank Phillippi Ryan (Forge)

Best Historical Novel  

  • Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding by Rhys Bowen (Berkley)
  •  The Gold Pawn by LA Chandlar (Kensington)
  •  The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey (Soho Crime)
  •  Turning the Tide by Edith Maxwell (Midnight Ink)
  •  Murder on Union Square by Victoria Thompson (Berkley)

Best First Novel

  • A Ladies Guide to Etiquette and Murder by Dianne Freeman (Kensington)
  •  Little Comfort by Edwin Hill (Kensington)
  •  What Doesn’t Kill You by Aimee Hix (Midnight Ink)
  •  Deadly Solution by Keenan Powell (Level Best Books)
  •  Curses Boiled Again by Shari Randall (St. Martin’s)

Best Short Story

  • “All God’s Sparrows” by Leslie Budewitz (Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine)
  •  “A Postcard for the Dead” by Susanna Calkins in Florida Happens (Three Rooms Press)
  •  “Bug Appetit” by Barb Goffman (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)
  • The Case of the Vanishing Professor” by Tara Laskowski (Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine)
  •  “English 398: Fiction Workshop” by Art Taylor (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)

Best Young Adult Mystery

  • Potion Problems(Just Add Magic) by Cindy Callaghan (Aladdin) 
  • Winterhouse by Ben Guterson (Henry Holt)
  •  A Side of Sabotage by C.M. Surrisi (Carolrhoda Books)

Best Non-fiction

  • Mastering Plot Twists by Jane Cleland (Writer’s Digest Books)
  • Writing the Cozy Mystery by Nancy J Cohen (Orange Grove Press)
  •  Conan Doyle for the Defense by Margalit Fox (Random House)
  •  Agatha Christie: A Mysterious Life by Laura Thompson (Pegasus Books)
  •  Wicked Women of Ohio by Jane Ann Turzillo (History Press)

[Thanks to Cora Buhlert for the story.] y