Complete List Of 2022 Mystery Writers Of America Edgar Award Nominees

Complete List Of 2022 Mystery Writers Of America Edgar Award Nominees

As we celebrate the 213th anniversary of the birth of Edgar Allan Poe, Mystery Writers of America (MWA) has announced the nominees for the 2022 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, honoring 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.

What follows is the complete overview of the nominees for different categories along with their descriptions. For our coverage of Edgar awards in previous years, please visit here.

BEST NOVEL

The Venice Sketchbook by Rhys Bowen (Amazon Publishing – Lake Union)

Caroline Grant is struggling to accept the end of her marriage when she receives an unexpected bequest. Her beloved great-aunt Lettie leaves her a sketchbook, three keys, and a final whisper…Venice. Caroline’s quest: to scatter Juliet “Lettie” Browning’s ashes in the city she loved and to unlock the mysteries stored away for more than sixty years.

It’s 1938 when art teacher Juliet Browning arrives in romantic Venice. For her students, it’s a wealth of history, art, and beauty. For Juliet, it’s poignant memories and a chance to reconnect with Leonardo Da Rossi, the man she loves whose future is already determined by his noble family.

However star-crossed, nothing can come between them. Until the threat of war closes in on Venice and they’re forced to fight, survive, and protect a secret that will bind them forever.

Key by key, Lettie’s life of impossible love, loss, and courage unfolds. It’s one that Caroline can now make right again as her own journey of self-discovery begins.

Razorblade Tears by S.A. Cosby (Macmillan Publishers – Flatiron Books)

Ike Randolph has been out of jail for fifteen years, with not so much as a speeding ticket in all that time. But a Black man with cops at the door knows to be afraid.

The last thing he expects to hear is that his son Isiah has been murdered, along with Isiah’s white husband, Derek. Ike had never fully accepted his son but is devastated by his loss.

Derek’s father Buddy Lee was almost as ashamed of Derek for being gay as Derek was ashamed of his father’s criminal record. Buddy Lee still has contacts in the underworld, though, and he wants to know who killed his boy.

Ike and Buddy Lee, two ex-cons with little else in common other than a criminal past and a love for their dead sons, band together in their desperate desire for revenge. In their quest to do better for their sons in death than they did in life, hardened men Ike and Buddy Lee will confront their own prejudices about their sons and each other, as they rain down vengeance upon those who hurt their boys.

Five Decembers by James Kestrel (Hard Case Crime)

December 1941. America teeters on the brink of war, and in Honolulu, Hawaii, police detective Joe McGrady is assigned to investigate a homicide that will change his life forever. Because the trail of murder he uncovers will lead him across the Pacific, far from home and the woman he loves; and though the U.S. doesn’t know it yet, a Japanese fleet is already steaming toward Pearl Harbor.

This extraordinary novel is so much more than just a gripping crime story—it’s a story of survival against all odds, of love and loss and the human cost of war.

Spanning the entirety of World War II, FIVE DECEMBERS is a beautiful, masterful, powerful novel that will live in your memory forever.

How Lucky by Will Leitch (HarperCollins – Harper)

Daniel leads a rich life in the university town of Athens, Georgia.  He’s got a couple close friends, a steady paycheck working for a regional airline, and of course, for a few glorious days each Fall, college football tailgates.

He considers himself to be a mostly lucky guy—despite the fact that he’s suffered from a debilitating disease since he was a small child, one that has left him unable to speak or to move without a wheelchair.

Largely confined to his home, Daniel spends the hours he’s not online communicating with irate air travelers observing his neighborhood from his front porch.

One young woman passes by so frequently that spotting her out the window has almost become part of his daily routine. Until the day he’s almost sure he sees her being kidnapped.

No One Will Miss Her by Kat Rosenfield (HarperCollins – William Morrow)

On a beautiful October morning in rural Maine, a homicide investigator from the state police pulls into the hard-luck town of Copper Falls.

The local junkyard is burning, and the town pariah Lizzie Oullette is dead—with her husband, Dwayne, nowhere to be found. As scandal ripples through the community, Detective Ian Bird’s inquiries unexpectedly lead him away from small-town Maine to a swank city townhouse several hours south. Adrienne Richards, blonde and fabulous social media influencer and wife of a disgraced billionaire, had been renting Lizzie’s tiny lake house as a country getaway…even though Copper Falls is anything but a resort town.

As Adrienne’s connection to the case becomes clear, so too does her connection to Lizzie, who narrates their story from beyond the grave.

Each woman is desperately lonely in her own way, and they navigate a relationship that cuts across class boundaries: transactional, complicated, and, finally, deadly. A Gone Girl for the gig economy, this is a story of privilege, identity, and cunning, as two devious women from opposite worlds discover the dangers of coveting someone else’s life.

BEST FIRST NOVEL BY AN AMERICAN AUTHOR

Deer Season by Erin Flanagan (University of Nebraska Press)

It’s the opening weekend of deer season in Gunthrum, Nebraska, in 1985, and Alma Costagan’s intellectually disabled farmhand, Hal Bullard, has gone hunting with some of the locals, leaving her in a huff. That same weekend, a teenage girl goes missing, and Hal returns with a flimsy story about the blood in his truck and a dent near the headlight.

When the situation escalates from that of a missing girl to something more sinister, Alma and her husband are forced to confront what Hal might be capable of, as rumors fly and townspeople see Hal’s violent past in a new light.

A drama about the complicated relationships connecting the residents of a small-town farming community, Deer Season explores troubling questions about how far people will go to safeguard the ones they love and what it means to be a family.

Never Saw Me Coming by Vera Kurian (Harlequin Trade Publishing – Park Row)

It would be easy to underestimate Chloe Sevre… She’s a freshman honor student, a legging-wearing hot girl next door, who also happens to be a psychopath. She spends her time on yogalates, frat parties and plotting to kill Will Bachman, a childhood friend who grievously wronged her.

Chloe is one of seven students at her DC-based college who are part of an unusual clinical study of psychopaths—students like herself who lack empathy and can’t comprehend emotions like fear or guilt. The study, led by a renowned psychologist, requires them to wear smart watches that track their moods and movements.

When one of the students in the study is found murdered in the psychology building, a dangerous game of cat and mouse begins, and Chloe goes from hunter to prey.

As she races to identify the killer and put her own plan for revenge into action, she’ll be forced to decide if she can trust any of her fellow psychopaths—and everybody knows you should never trust a psychopath.

Suburban Dicks by Fabian Nicieza (Penguin Random House – G.P. Putnam’s Sons)

Andie Stern thought she’d solved her final homicide. Once a budding FBI profiler, she gave up her career to raise her four (soon to be five) children in West Windsor, New Jersey. But one day, between soccer games, recitals, and trips to the local pool, a very pregnant Andie pulls into a gas station–and stumbles across a murder scene.

An attendant has been killed, and the bumbling local cops are in way over their heads. Suddenly, Andie is obsessed with the case, and back on the trail of a killer, this time with kids in tow.

She soon crosses paths with disgraced local journalist Kenneth Lee, who also has everything to prove in solving the case.

A string of unusual occurrences–and, eventually, body parts–surface around town, and Andie and Kenneth uncover simmering racial tensions and a decades-old conspiracy.

Hilarious, insightful, and a killer whodunit, Suburban Dicks is the one-of-a-kind mystery that readers will not be able to stop talking about.

What Comes After by JoAnne Tompkins (Penguin Random House – Riverhead Books)

In misty, coastal Washington State, Isaac lives alone with his dog, grieving the recent death of his teenage son, Daniel. Next door, Lorrie, a working single mother, struggles with a heinous act committed by her own teenage son.

Separated by only a silvery stretch of trees, the two parents are emotionally stranded, isolated by their great losses—until an unfamiliar sixteen-year-old girl shows up, bridges the gap, and changes everything.

Evangeline’s arrival at first feels like a blessing, but she is also clearly hiding something. When Isaac, who has retreated into his Quaker faith, isn’t equipped to handle her alone, Lorrie forges her own relationship with the girl. Soon all three characters are forced to examine what really happened in their overlapping pasts, and what it all possibly means for a shared future.

The Damage by Caitlin Wahrer (Penguin Random House – Viking Books/Pamela Dorman Books)

Tony has always looked out for his younger brother, Nick. So when he’s called to a hospital bed where Nick is lying battered and bruised after a violent sexual assault, his protective instincts flare, and a white-hot rage begins to build.

As a small-town New England lawyer, Tony’s wife, Julia, has cases involving kids all the time. When Detective Rice gets assigned to this one, Julia feels they’re in good hands. Especially because she senses that Rice, too, understands how things can quickly get complicated. Very complicated.

After all, one moment Nick was having a drink with a handsome stranger; the next, he was at the center of an investigation threatening to tear not only him, but his entire family, apart. And now his attacker, out on bail, is disputing Nick’s version of what happened.

As Julia tries to help her brother-in-law, she sees Tony’s desire for revenge, to fix things for Nick, getting out of control. Tony is starting to scare her. And before long, she finds herself asking: does she really know what her husband is capable of? Or of what she herself is?

BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL

Kill All Your Darlings by David Bell (Penguin Random House – Berkley)

After years of struggling to write following the deaths of his wife and son, English professor Connor Nye publishes his first novel, a thriller about the murder of a young woman.

There’s just one problem: Connor didn’t write the book. His missing student did. And then she appears on his doorstep, alive and well, threatening to expose him.

Connor’s problems escalate when the police insist details in the novel implicate him in an unsolved murder from two years ago. Soon Connor discovers the crime is part of a disturbing scandal on campus and faces an impossible dilemma—admit he didn’t write the book and lose his job or keep up the lie and risk everything.

When another murder occurs, Connor must clear his name by unraveling the horrifying secrets buried in his student’s manuscript.

The Lighthouse Witches by C.J. Cooke (Penguin Random House – Berkley)

When single mother Liv is commissioned to paint a mural in a 100-year-old lighthouse on a remote Scottish island, it’s an opportunity to start over with her three daughters–Luna, Sapphire, and Clover. When two of her daughters go missing, she’s frantic. She learns that the cave beneath the lighthouse was once a prison for women accused of witchcraft.

The locals warn her about wildlings, supernatural beings who mimic human children, created by witches for revenge. Liv is told wildlings are dangerous and must be killed.

Twenty-two years later, Luna has been searching for her missing sisters and mother. When she receives a call about her youngest sister, Clover, she’s initially ecstatic.

Clover is the sister she remembers–except she’s still seven years old, the age she was when she vanished. Luna is worried Clover is a wildling. Luna has few memories of her time on the island, but she’ll have to return to find the truth of what happened to her family. But she doesn’t realize just how much the truth will change her.

The Album of Dr. Moreau by Daryl Gregory (Tom Doherty Associates – Tordotcom)

It’s 2001, and the WyldBoyZ are the world’s hottest boy band, and definitely the world’s only genetically engineered human-animal hybrid vocal group.

When their producer, Dr. M, is found murdered in his hotel room, the “boyz” become the prime suspects. Was it Bobby the ocelot (“the cute one”), Matt the megabat (“the funny one”), Tim the Pangolin (“the shy one”), Devin the bonobo (“the romantic one”), or Tusk the elephant (“the smart one”)?

Las Vegas Detective Luce Delgado has only twenty-four hours to solve a case that goes all the way back to the secret science barge where the WyldBoyZ’ journey first began—a place they used to call home.

Starr Sign by C.S. O’Cinneide (Dundurn Press)

These days former contract killer Candace Starr is only responsible for her bar tab. Until her half-sister shows up desperate to find their mother, Angela, who went missing while visiting her family of Detroit mobsters, and suddenly Candace is embroiled in her deadliest assignment ever.

Bobby March Will Live Forever by Alan Parks (Europa Editions – World Noir)

July 1973. The Glasgow drug trade is booming and Bobby March, the city’s own rock star hero, has just overdosed in a central hotel. But even that tragedy competes for headlines with the story of a thirteen-year-old girl who’s gone missing. As Det. Harry McCoy knows only too well, every hour that goes by makes the Alice Kelly case more of a lost cause.

Meanwhile, the niece of McCoy’s boss has fallen in with a bad crowd and when she goes missing, McCoy is asked—off the books—to find her.

McCoy has a hunch that there’s a connection between these events. But time to prove it is running out, the papers are out for blood, and the department wants results fast. Justice must be served.

The Shape of Darkness by Laura Purcell (Penguin Random House – Penguin Books)

As the age of the photograph dawns in Victorian Bath, silhouette artist Agnes is struggling to keep her business afloat.

Still recovering from a serious illness herself, making enough money to support her elderly mother and her orphaned nephew Cedric has never been easy, but then one of her clients is murdered shortly after sitting for Agnes, and then another, and another… Why is the killer seemingly targeting her business?

Desperately seeking an answer, Agnes approaches Pearl, a child spirit medium lodging in Bath with her older half-sister and her ailing father, hoping that if Pearl can make contact with those who died, they might reveal who killed them. But Agnes and Pearl quickly discover that instead they may have opened the door to something that they can never put back.

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)

Imprisoned in a remote Turkish POW camp during World War I, having survived a two-month forced march and a terrifying shootout in the desert, two British officers, Harry Jones and Cedric Hill, join forces to bamboozle their iron-fisted captors. To stave off despair and boredom, Jones takes a handmade Ouija board and fakes elaborate séances for his fellow prisoners.

Word gets around, and one day an Ottoman official approaches Jones with a query: Could Jones contact the spirit world to find a vast treasure rumored to be buried nearby? Jones, a trained lawyer, and Hill, a brilliant magician, use the Ouija board—and their keen understanding of the psychology of deception—to build a trap for their captors that will ultimately lead them to freedom.

A gripping nonfiction thriller, The Confidence Men is the story of one of the only known con games played for a good cause—and of a profound but unlikely friendship.

Had it not been for “the Great War,” Jones, the Oxford-educated son of a British lord, and Hill, a mechanic on an Australian sheep ranch, would never have met. But in pain, loneliness, hunger, and isolation, they formed a powerful emotional and intellectual alliance that saved both of their lives.

Last Call: A True Story of Love, Lust, and Murder in Queer New York by Elon Green (Celadon Books)

The Townhouse Bar, midtown, July 1992: The piano player seems to know every song ever written, the crowd belts out the lyrics to their favorites, and a man standing nearby is drinking a Scotch and water. The man strikes the piano player as forgettable.

He looks bland and inconspicuous. Not at all what you think a serial killer looks like. But that’s what he is, and tonight, he has his sights set on a gray haired man. He will not be his first victim.

Nor will he be his last.

The Last Call Killer preyed upon gay men in New York in the ‘80s and ‘90s and had all the hallmarks of the most notorious serial killers. Yet because of the sexuality of his victims, the skyhigh murder rates, and the AIDS epidemic, his murders have been almost entirely forgotten.

Sleeper Agent: The Atomic Spy in America Who Got Away by Ann Hagedorn (Simon & Schuster)

George Koval was born in Iowa. In 1932, his parents, Russian Jews who had emigrated because of anti-Semitism, decided to return home to live out their socialist ideals. George, who was as committed to socialism as they were, went with them. There, he was recruited by the Soviet Army as a spy and returned to the US in 1940.

A gifted science student, he enrolled at Columbia University, where he knew scientists soon to join the Manhattan Project, America’s atom bomb program.

After being drafted into the US Army, George used his scientific background and connections to secure an assignment at a site where plutonium and uranium were produced to fuel the atom bomb. There, and later in a second top-secret location, he had full access to all facilities, and he passed highly sensitive information to Moscow.

There were hundreds of spies in the US during World War II, but Koval was the only Soviet military spy with security clearances in the atomic-bomb project.

The ultimate sleeper agent, he was an all-American boy who had played baseball, loved Walt Whitman’s poetry, and mingled freely with fellow Americans. After the war he got away without a scratch. It is indisputable that his information landed in the right hands in Moscow. In 1949, Soviet scientists produced a bomb identical to America’s years earlier than US experts expected.

Two Truths and a Lie: A Murder, a Private Investigator, and Her Search for Justice by Ellen McGarrahan (Penguin Random House – Random House)

In 1990, Ellen McGarrahan was a young reporter for the Miami Herald when she covered the execution of Jesse Tafero, a man convicted of murdering two police officers.

When it later emerged that Tafero may have been innocent, McGarrahan was appalled by her unquestioning acceptance of the state’s version of events. The revelation propelled her into a new career as a private investigator.

Decades later, McGarrahan finally decides to find out the truth of what really happened in Florida. Her investigation plunges her back into the Miami of the 1960s and 1970s, a dangerous world of nightclubs, speed boats, and cartels, all awash in violence. She combs through stacks of court files and interviews everyone involved in the case.

But even as McGarrahan circles closer to the truth, the story of guilt and innocence becomes more complex, and she gradually discovers that she hasn’t been alone in her need for closure. Because whenever a human life is forcibly taken—by bullet, or by electric chair—the reckoning is long and difficult for all.

The Dope: The Real History of the Mexican Drug Trade by Benjamin T. Smith (W.W. Norton & Company)

The Mexican drug trade has inspired prejudiced narratives of a war between north and south, white and brown; between noble cops and vicious kingpins, corrupt politicians and powerful cartels.

In this first comprehensive history of the trade, historian Benjamin T. Smith tells the real story of how and why this one-peaceful industry turned violent. He uncovers its origins and explains how this illicit business essentially built modern Mexico, affecting everything from agriculture to medicine to economics—and the country’s all-important relationship with the United States.

Drawing on unprecedented archival research; leaked DEA, Mexican law enforcement, and cartel documents; and dozens of harrowing interviews, Smith tells a thrilling story brimming with vivid characters—from Ignacia “La Nacha” Jasso, “queen pin” of Ciudad Juárez, to Dr. Leopoldo Salazar Viniegra, the crusading physician who argued that marijuana was harmless and tried to decriminalize morphine, to Harry Anslinger, the Machiavellian founder of the American Federal Bureau of Narcotics, who drummed up racist drug panics to increase his budget.

Smith also profiles everyday agricultural workers, whose stories reveal both the economic benefits and the human cost of the trade.

When Evil Lived in Laurel:  The “White Knights” and the Murder of Vernon Dahmer by Curtis Wilkie (W.W. Norton & Company)

By early 1966, the work of Vernon Dahmer was well known in south Mississippi. A light-skinned Black man, he was a farmer, grocery store owner, and two-time president of the Forrest County chapter of the NAACP. He and Medgar Evers founded a youth NAACP chapter in Hattiesburg, and for years after Evers’s assassination Dahmer was the chief advocate for voting rights in a county where Black registration was shamelessly suppressed.

This put Dahmer in the crosshairs of the White Knights, with headquarters in nearby Laurel. Already known as one of the most violent sects of the KKK in the South, the group carried out his murder in a raid that burned down his home and store.

A year before, Tom Landrum, a young, unassuming member of a family with deep Mississippi roots, joined the Klan to become an FBI informant. He penetrated the White Knights’ secret circles, recording almost daily journal entries. He risked his life, and the safety of his young family, to chronicle extensively the clandestine activities of the Klan.

Veteran journalist Curtis Wilkie draws on his exclusive access to Landrum’s journals to re-create these events—the conversations, the incendiary nighttime meetings, the plans leading up to Dahmer’s murder and its erratic execution—culminating in the conviction and imprisonment of many of those responsible for Dahmer’s death.

EDGAR NOMINEES FOR BEST CRITICAL/BIOGRAPHICAL

Agatha Christie’s Poirot: The Greatest Detective in the World by Mark Aldridge (HarperCollins Publishers – Harper360)

This book tells his story decade-by-decade, exploring his appearances not only in the original novels, short stories and plays but also across stage, screen and radio productions.

Poirot has had near-permanent presence in the public eye ever since the 1920 publication of The Mysterious Affair at Styles. From character development, publication history and private discussion concerning the original stories themselves, to early forays on to the stage and screen, the story of Poirot is as fascinating as it is enduring.

Based on the author’s original research, review excerpts and original Agatha Christie correspondence, Poirot: The Greatest Detective in the World is a lively and accessible history of the character, offering new information and helpful pieces of context, that will delight all Agatha Christie fans, from a new generation of readers to those already highly familiar with the canon.

The Unquiet Englishman: A Life of Graham Greene by Richard Greene (W.W. Norton & Company)

One of the most celebrated British writers of his generation, Graham Greene’s own story was as strange and compelling as those he told of Pinkie the Mobster, Harry Lime, or the Whisky Priest.

A journalist and MI6 officer, Greene sought out the inner narratives of war and politics across the world; he witnessed the Second World War, the Vietnam War, the Mau Mau Rebellion, the rise of Fidel Castro, and the guerrilla wars of Central America. His classic novels, including The Heart of the Matter and The Quiet American, are only pieces of a career that reads like a primer on the twentieth century itself.

The Unquiet Englishman braids the narratives of Greene’s extraordinary life. It portrays a man who was traumatized as an adolescent and later suffered a mental illness that brought him to the point of suicide on several occasions; it tells the story of a restless traveler and unfailing advocate for human rights exploring troubled places around the world, a man who struggled to believe in God and yet found himself described as a great Catholic writer; it reveals a private life in which love almost always ended in ruin, alongside a larger story of politicians, battlefields, and spies. Above all, The Unquiet Englishman shows us a brilliant novelist mastering his craft.

Tony Hillerman: A Life by James McGrath Morris (University of Oklahoma Press)

The author of eighteen spellbinding detective novels set on the Navajo Nation, Tony Hillerman simultaneously transformed a traditional genre and unlocked the mysteries of the Navajo culture to an audience of millions. His best-selling novels added Navajo Tribal Police detectives Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee to the pantheon of American fictional detectives.

Morris offers a balanced portrait of Hillerman’s personal and professional life and provides a timely appreciation of his work. In intimate detail, Morris captures the author’s early years in Depression-era Oklahoma; his near-death experience in World War II; his sixty-year marriage to Marie; his family life, including six children, five of them adopted; his work in the trenches of journalism; his affliction with PTSD and its connection to his enchantment with Navajo spirituality; and his ascension as one of America’s best-known writers of mysteries. Further, Morris uncovers the almost accidental invention of Hillerman’s iconic detective Joe Leaphorn and the circumstances that led to the addition of Jim Chee as his partner.

Hillerman’s novels were not without controversy. Morris examines the charges of cultural appropriation leveled at the author toward the end of his life. Yet, for many readers, including many Native Americans, Hillerman deserves critical acclaim for his knowledgeable and sensitive portrayal of Diné (Navajo) history, culture, and identity.

At the time of Hillerman’s death, more than 20 million copies of his books were in print, and his novels inspired Robert Redford to adapt several of them to film. In weaving together all the elements of Hillerman’s life, Morris drew on the untapped collection of the author’s papers, extensive archival research, interviews with friends, colleagues, and family, as well as travel in the Navajo Nation. Filled with never-before-told anecdotes and fresh insights, Tony Hillerman will thrill the author’s fans and awaken new interest in his life and literary legacy.

The Reason for the Darkness of the Night: Edgar Allan Poe and the Forging of American Science by John Tresch (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Decade after decade, Edgar Allan Poe remains one of the most popular American writers. He is beloved around the world for his pioneering detective fiction, tales of horror, and haunting, atmospheric verse. But what if there was another side to the man who wrote “The Raven” and “The Fall of the House of Usher”?

In The Reason for the Darkness of the Night, John Tresch offers a bold new biography of a writer whose short, tortured life continues to fascinate. Shining a spotlight on an era when the lines separating entertainment, speculation, and scientific inquiry were blurred, Tresch reveals Poe’s obsession with science and lifelong ambition to advance and question human knowledge.

Even as he composed dazzling works of fiction, he remained an avid and often combative commentator on new discoveries, publishing and hustling in literary scenes that also hosted the era’s most prominent scientists, semi-scientists, and pseudo-intellectual rogues. As one newspaper put it, “Mr. Poe is not merely a man of science—not merely a poet—not merely a man of letters. He is all combined; and perhaps he is something more.”

Taking us through his early training in mathematics and engineering at West Point and the tumultuous years that followed, Tresch shows that Poe lived, thought, and suffered surrounded by science—and that many of his most renowned and imaginative works can best be understood in its company.

He cast doubt on perceived certainties even as he hungered for knowledge, and at the end of his life delivered a mind-bending lecture on the origins of the universe that would win the admiration of twentieth-century physicists. Pursuing extraordinary conjectures and a unique aesthetic vision, he remained a figure of explosive contradiction: he gleefully exposed the hoaxes of the era’s scientific fraudsters even as he perpetrated hoaxes himself.

The Twelve Lives of Alfred Hitchcock: An Anatomy of the Master of Suspense by Edward White (W.W. Norton & Company)

In The Twelve Lives of Alfred Hitchcock, Edward White explores the Hitchcock phenomenon—what defines it, how it was invented, what it reveals about the man at its core, and how its legacy continues to shape our cultural world.

The book’s twelve chapters illuminate different aspects of Hitchcock’s life and work: “The Boy Who Couldn’t Grow Up”; “The Murderer”; “The Auteur”; “The Womanizer”; “The Fat Man”; “The Dandy”; “The Family Man”; “The Voyeur”; “The Entertainer”; “The Pioneer”; “The Londoner”; “The Man of God.” Each of these angles reveals something fundamental about the man he was and the mythological creature he has become, presenting not just the life Hitchcock lived but also the various versions of himself that he projected, and those projected on his behalf.

From Hitchcock’s early work in England to his most celebrated films, White astutely analyzes Hitchcock’s oeuvre and provides new interpretations.

He also delves into Hitchcock’s ideas about gender; his complicated relationships with “his women”—not only Grace Kelly and Tippi Hedren but also his female audiences—as well as leading men such as Cary Grant, and writes movingly of Hitchcock’s devotion to his wife and lifelong companion, Alma, who made vital contributions to numerous classic Hitchcock films, and burnished his mythology.

And White is trenchant in his assessment of the Hitchcock persona, so carefully created that Hitchcock became not only a figurehead for his own industry but nothing less than a cultural icon.

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)

EDGAR NOMINEES FOR BEST JUVENILE

Cold-Blooded Myrtle by Elizabeth C. Bunce (Workman Publishing – Algonquin Young Readers)

When the proprietor of Leighton’s Mercantile is found dead on the morning his annual Christmas shop display is to be unveiled, it’s clear a killer had revenge in mind. But who would want to kill the local dry-goods merchant?

Perhaps someone who remembers the mysterious scandal that destroyed his career as a professor and archaeologist. When the killer strikes again, each time manipulating the figures in the display to foretell the crime, Myrtle finds herself racing to uncover the long-buried facts of a cold case—and the motivations of a modern murderer.

Concealed by Christina Diaz Gonzalez (Scholastic – Scholastic Press)

What if you had no name, no past, and no home? Ivette. Joanna. And now: Katrina

Whatever her name is, it won’t last long. Katrina doesn’t know any of the details about her past, but she does know that she and her parents are part of the Witness Protection Program. Whenever her parents say they have to move on and start over, she takes on a new identity. A new name, a new hair color, a new story.

Until their location leaks and her parents disappear. Forced to embark on a dangerous rescue mission, Katrina and her new friend Parker set out to save her parents—and find out the truth about her secret past and the people that want her family dead.

But every new discovery reveals that Katrina’s entire life has been built around secrets covered up with lies and that her parents were actually the ones keeping the biggest secret of all. Katrina must now decide if learning the whole truth is worth the price of losing everything she has ever believed about herself and her family.

Aggie Morton Mystery Queen: The Dead Man in the Garden by Marthe Jocelyn (Penguin Random House Canada – Tundra Books)

Aspiring writer Aggie Morton is ready to enjoy an invigorating trip to a Yorkshire spa, where her widowed mother can take the waters and recover from a long mourning period.

Having solved yet another murder and faced extreme peril with her best friend Hector over Christmas, Aggie’s Morbid Preoccupation is on alert when rumors abound about the spa’s recently deceased former patient…and then another body appears under mysterious circumstances.

Together with Grannie Jane, and often in the company of George, a young patient at the spa, Aggie and Hector take a closer look at the guests and staff of the Wellspring Hotel, and venture into the intriguing world of the local undertaker.

Has there been a murder—or even two? As Aggie and Hector ignite their deductive skills, their restful trip takes a sudden, dangerous turn.

Kidnap on the California Comet: Adventures on Trains #2 by M.G. Leonard & Sam Sedgman (Macmillan Children’s Publishing – Feiwel & Friends)

After his adventure on the Highland Falcon, amateur sleuth Hal Beck is excited to embark on another journey with his journalist uncle. This time, they’re set to ride the historic California Comet from Chicago to San Francisco.

Hal mostly keeps to himself on the trip, feeling homesick and out of place in America. But he soon finds himself drawn into another mystery when the young daughter of a billionaire tech entrepreneur goes missing!

Along with new friends—spunky 13-year-old Mason and his younger sister, Hadley—Hal races against the clock to find the missing girl before the California Comet reaches its final destination.

Rescue by Jennifer A. Nielsen (Scholastic – Scholastic Press)

Six hundred and fifty-seven days ago, Meg Kenyon’s father left their home in France to fight for the Allies in World War II, and that was the last time Meg saw him. Recently, she heard he was being held prisoner by the Nazis, a terrible sentence from which Meg fears he’ll never return.

All she has left of him are the codes he placed in a jar for her to decipher, an affectionate game the two of them shared. But the codes are running low, and soon there’ll be nothing left of Papa for Meg to hold on to at all.

Suddenly, an impossible chance to save her father falls into Meg’s lap. After following a trail of blood in the snow, Meggie finds an injured British spy hiding in her grandmother’s barn. Captain Stewart tells her that a family of German refugees must be guided across Nazi-occupied France to neutral Spain, whereupon one of them has promised to free Meg’s father.

Captain Stewart was meant to take that family on their journey, but too injured to complete the task himself, he offers it to Meg, along with a final code from Papa to help complete the mission — perhaps the most important, and most difficult, riddle she’s received yet.

As the Nazis flood Meg’s village in fierce pursuit, she accepts the duty and begins the trek across France. Leading strangers through treacherous territory, Meg faces danger and uncertainty at every turn, all the while struggling to crack her father’s code. The message, as she unravels it, reveals secrets costly enough to risk the mission and even her own life. Can Meg solve the puzzle, rescue the family, and save her father?

BEST YOUNG ADULT

Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé (Macmillan Children’s Publishing – Feiwel & Friends)

When two Niveus Private Academy students, Devon Richards and Chiamaka Adebayo, are selected to be part of the elite school’s senior class prefects, it looks like their year is off to an amazing start. After all, not only does it look great on college applications, but it officially puts each of them in the running for valedictorian, too.

Shortly after the announcement is made, though, someone who goes by Aces begins using anonymous text messages to reveal secrets about the two of them that turn their lives upside down and threaten every aspect of their carefully planned futures.

As Aces shows no sign of stopping, what seemed like a sick prank quickly turns into a dangerous game, with all the cards stacked against them. Can Devon and Chiamaka stop Aces before things become incredibly deadly?

Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley (Macmillan Children’s Publishing – Henry Holt and Company BFYR)

Eighteen-year-old Daunis Fontaine has never quite fit in, both in her hometown and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. She dreams of a fresh start at college, but when family tragedy strikes, Daunis puts her future on hold to look after her fragile mother. The only bright spot is meeting Jamie, the charming new recruit on her brother Levi’s hockey team.

Yet even as Daunis falls for Jamie, she senses the dashing hockey star is hiding something. Everything comes to light when Daunis witnesses a shocking murder, thrusting her into an FBI investigation of a lethal new drug.

Reluctantly, Daunis agrees to go undercover, drawing on her knowledge of chemistry and Ojibwe traditional medicine to track down the source. But the search for truth is more complicated than Daunis imagined, exposing secrets and old scars. At the same time, she grows concerned with an investigation that seems more focused on punishing the offenders than protecting the victims.

Now, as the deceptions—and deaths—keep growing, Daunis must learn what it means to be a strong Anishinaabe kwe (Ojibwe woman) and how far she’ll go for her community, even if it tears apart the only world she’s ever known.

When You Look Like Us by Pamela N. Harris (HarperCollins – Quill Tree Books)

When you look like us—brown skin, brown eyes, black braids or fades—everyone else thinks you’re trouble. No one even blinks twice over a missing black girl from public housing because she must’ve brought whatever happened to her upon herself. I, Jay Murphy, can admit that, for a minute, I thought my sister Nicole just got caught up with her boyfriend—a drug dealer—and his friends. But she’s been gone too long. Nic, where are you?

If I hadn’t hung up on her that night, she would be at our house, spending time with Grandma.

If I was a better brother, she’d be finishing senior year instead of being another name on a missing persons list.

It’s time to step up, to do what the Newport News police department won’t. Bring her home.

The Forest of Stolen Girls by June Hur (Macmillan Children’s Books – Feiwel & Friends)

1426, Joseon (Korea). Hwani’s family has never been the same since she and her younger sister went missing and were later found unconscious in the forest near a gruesome crime scene.

Years later, Detective Min—Hwani’s father—learns that thirteen girls have recently disappeared from the same forest that nearly stole his daughters. He travels to their hometown on the island of Jeju to investigate… only to vanish as well.

Determined to find her father and solve the case that tore their family apart, Hwani returns home to pick up the trail. As she digs into the secrets of the small village—and collides with her now estranged sister, Maewol—Hwani comes to realize that the answer could lie within her own buried memories of what happened in the forest all those years ago.

The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe (Penguin Young Readers – G.P. Putnam’s Sons BFYR)

Nora O’Malley’s been a lot of girls. As the daughter of a con-artist who targets criminal men, she grew up as her mother’s protégé. But when her mom fell for the mark instead of conning him, Nora pulled the ultimate con: escape.

For five years Nora’s been playing at normal. But she needs to dust off the skills she ditched because she has three problems:

#1: Her ex walked in on her with her girlfriend. Even though they’re all friends, Wes didn’t know about her and Iris.

#2: The morning after Wes finds them kissing, they all have to meet to deposit the fundraiser money they raised at the bank. It’s a nightmare that goes from awkward to deadly, because:

#3: Right after they enter the bank, two guys start robbing it.

The bank robbers may be trouble, but Nora’s something else entirely. They have no idea who they’re really holding hostage.

BEST TELEVISION EPISODE TELEPLAY

“Dog Day Morning” – The Brokenword Mysteries, Written by Tim Balme (Acorn TV)

“Episode 1” – The Beast Must Die, Written by Gaby Chiappe (AMC+)

“The 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)

*****

THE SIMON & SCHUSTER MARY HIGGINS CLARK AWARD

The Secret Life of Miss Mary Bennet by Katherine Cowley (Tule Publishing – Tule Mystery)

Upon the death of her father, Mary Bennet’s life is thrown into turmoil. With no fortune or marriage prospects, Mary must rely on the kindness of her relatives. When a mysterious late-night visit by an unknown relative—a Lady Trafford from Castle Durrington—leads to an extended stay and the chance for an education, Mary gratefully accepts the opportunity.

But even as she arrives at the castle, she’s faced with one mystery after another. Who is Lady Trafford really and what is she hiding? Do her secrets and manipulations place the small seaside community at risk of an invasion by Napoleon Bonaparte?

Always curious, Mary sets out to discover the truth. But when she discovers the dead body of a would-be thief she outed prior to her father’s funeral, Mary jeopardizes her position at the castle and her family’s good name in her quest for the truth.

Never underestimate the observation skills of a woman who hides in the background.

Ruby Red Herring by Tracy Gardner (Crooked Lane Books)

After her parents’ deaths, Avery Ayers takes over the family business, Antiquities & Artifacts Appraised, from the home office in Lilac Grove and a branch in Manhattan. Now living back at home with her younger sister Tilly and their newly moved-in, eccentric Aunt Midge and her Afghan hound, Avery’s life is filled with jewels, tapestries, paintings, and rare finds. But their world is rocked when Avery learns that the theft of a priceless ruby may be connected to her parents’ demise.

The trouble starts when the Museum of Antiquities hires Avery to appraise a rare, resplendent ruby. It bears a striking similarity to a solitary stone in the museum’s prized Xiang Dynasty bejeweled dragon medallion exhibit, which has long been missing one of its ruby eyes. Now, Avery and her colleagues–ostentatious Sir Robert Lane and fatherly Micah Abbott–suspect they may have the missing gem. But facets of the case remain cloudy. Security guard Art Smith is always underfoot but is not what he appears. Another body turns up connected to the appraisal. And Avery receives mysterious notes that begin to put her life in danger.

Avery enlists possible ally Art’s help in cutting the list of suspects who might have polished off her parents and swiped the jewel. Was it art collector Oliver Renell? Curator Nate Brennan? Acquisitions Liaison Francesca Giolitti? Actor Tyler Chadwick? Was the crime impersonal or perpetrated by someone all too close to Avery? If she can’t find the culprit, lovely Lilac Grove may be the setting for Avery’s own death.

Clark and Division by Naomi Hirahara (Soho Press – Soho Crime)

Chicago, 1944: Twenty-year-old Aki Ito and her parents have just been released from Manzanar, where they have been detained by the US government since the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, together with thousands of other Japanese Americans. The life in California the Itos were forced to leave behind is gone; instead, they are being resettled two thousand miles away in Chicago, where Aki’s older sister, Rose, was sent months earlier and moved to the new Japanese American neighborhood near Clark and Division streets. But on the eve of the Ito family’s reunion, Rose is killed by a subway train.

Aki, who worshipped her sister, is stunned. Officials are ruling Rose’s death a suicide. Aki cannot believe her perfect, polished, and optimistic sister would end her life. Her instinct tells her there is much more to the story, and she knows she is the only person who could ever learn the truth.

Inspired by historical events, Clark and Division infuses an atmospheric and heartbreakingly real crime with rich period details and delicately wrought personal stories Naomi Hirahara has gleaned from thirty years of research and archival work in Japanese American history.

The Sign of Death by Callie Hutton (Crooked Lane Books)

Bath, England, 1891. Mr. James Harding was a lot of things–businessman, well-to-do, probable scoundrel–but a drinker he most assuredly was not. So when Harding is believed to have drunkenly fallen to his death into the icy River Avon, Lord William Wethington is immediately suspicious. Finding Lord William’s name on a letter in the victim’s pocket, the local constabulary summons William to identify the victim. Police detectives learn that William had been one of Harding’s business clients–and undoubtedly not the only client the dead man had cheated.

William entreats Lady Amy Lovell, a fellow member of the Mystery Book Club of Bath, to help him deduce what really happened to the late Mr. Harding. Lady Amy, a celebrated mystery author herself, once called on William to help her solve a real-life mystery, and now she fully intends to return the favor. But it won’t be easy.

Practically every one of Harding’s many clients had ample reason to want to do him in. And there’s precious little time to narrow down the list: William and Amy soon become prime suspects themselves when the police discover them ruffling through files in Harding’s house. Lady Amy will have to be as clever as her characters if she’s to save William from the gallows…and herself from Harding’s real killer.

Chapter and Curse by Elizabeth Penney (St. Martin’s Paperbacks)

Librarian Molly Kimball and her mother, Nina, need a change. So when a letter arrives from Nina’s Aunt Violet in Cambridge, England requesting their help running the family bookshop, they jump at the chance.

Thomas Marlowe—Manuscripts and Folios, is one of the oldest bookshops in Cambridge, and—unfortunately—customers can tell. When Molly and Nina arrive, spring has come to Cambridge and the famed Cambridge Literary Festival is underway.

Determined to bring much-needed revenue to the bookstore, Molly invites Aunt Violet’s college classmate and famed poet Persephone Brightwell to hold a poetry reading in the shop. But the event ends in disaster when a guest is found dead—with Molly’s great-aunt’s knitting needle used as the murder weapon. While trying to clear Violet and keep the struggling shop afloat, Molly sifts through secrets past and present, untangling a web of blackmail, deceit, and murder.

*****

THE G.P. PUTNAM’S SONS SUE GRAFTON MEMORIAL AWARD

Double Take by Elizabeth Breck (Crooked Lane Books)

It’s a perfect San Diego fall–cool and crisp with bright blue skies. But not everything is right in the sunny idyll dubbed “America’s Finest City.” Young journalist Barrett Brown has been missing for a week, and her boyfriend hires private investigator Madison Kelly to find her. Right away, Barrett reminds Madison of a younger version of herself: smart, ambitious, and a loner.

As she launches her investigation, Madison realizes that Barrett’s disappearance is connected to a big story she was chasing–and she sets out to walk in Barrett’s footsteps to trace her whereabouts.

As the trail grows colder, things begin to heat up between Madison and Barrett’s boyfriend. But he doesn’t seem to be telling everything he knows, and Madison gets the feeling that her every move is being watched. What dirty secrets lie at the heart of Barrett’s big lead?

If Madison can’t get to the bottom of the case in time, she could be in line to become the next victim.

Runner by Tracy Clark (Kensington Books)

Chicago in the dead of winter can be brutal, especially when you’re scouring the frigid streets for a missing girl. Fifteen-year-old Ramona Titus has run away from her foster home. Her biological mother, Leesa Evans, is a recovering addict who admits she failed Ramona often in the past. But now she’s clean. And she’s determined to make up for her mistakes—if Cass can only help her find her daughter.

Cass visits Ramona’s foster mother, Deloris Poole, who is also desperate to bring the girl home. Ramona came to Deloris six months ago, angry and distrustful, but was slowly opening up. The police are on the search, but Cass has sources closer to the streets, and a network of savvy allies. Yet it seems Ramona doesn’t want to be found. And Cass soon begins to understand why.

Ramona is holding secrets dark enough to kill for, and anyone who helps her may be fair game. And if Ramona can’t run fast enough and hide well enough to keep the truth safe, she and Cass may both be out of time.

Shadow Hill by Thomas Kies (Sourcebooks – Poisoned Pen Press)

Just days before Morris Cutter, a retired powerful oil executive, is scheduled to give a pseudo-scientific report to Congress that will delay crucial action on climate change for decades, he and his wife are found shot to death in their Greenwich, Connecticut, home. The police call it murder-suicide. The couple’s son refuses to accept the official conclusion and hires Geneva Chase, crime reporter turned private detective, to prove otherwise.

Genie soon learns that there are suspects everywhere, including within the deceased’s immediate family. Morris Cutter’s own daughter hadn’t spoken with him in years, and his nephew is a climate activist with a radical organization. But Cutter’s former company has a vested interest in keeping a low profile until it is able to present its mock-science on Capitol Hill. Genie is bribed, then threatened, to wrap up her investigation before the scheduled hearing date—and to concur with the police findings.

When the lead scientist of the study goes missing, followed by Cutter’s daughter, Genie begins to piece together what actually may have happened to Morris and Julia Cutter, putting herself in harm’s way as she races to find the truth.

Sleep Well, My Lady by Kwei Quartey (Soho Press – Soho Crime)

Hard-hitting talk show host Augustus Seeza has become a household name in Ghana, though notorious for his lavish overspending, alcoholism, and womanizing. He’s dating the imposing, beautiful Lady Araba, who leads a selfmade fashion empire. Fearing Augustus is only after her money, Araba’s religious family intervenes to break them up. A few days later, just before a major runway show, Araba is found murdered in her bed. Her driver is arrested after a hasty investigation, but Araba’s favorite aunt, Dele, suspects Augustus Seeza was the real killer.

Almost a year later, Dele approaches Emma Djan, who has finally started to settle in as the only female PI at her agency. To solve Lady Araba’s murder, Emma must not only go on an undercover mission that dredges up trauma from her past, but navigate a long list of suspects with strong motives. Emma quickly discovers that they are all willing to lie for each other—and that one may still be willing to kill.

Family Business by S.J. Rozan (Pegasus Books – Pegasus Crime)

The death of Chinatown’s most powerful mogul, a powerful Chinatown crime boss, thrusts private eye Lydia Chin and her partner Bill Smith into a world of double-dealing, murder, and real estate scandal in this new mystery by the award winning novelist S. J. Rozan.

Choi has left the Tong headquarters building to his niece, who hires Lydia and her partner, Bill Smith, to accompany her to inspect it. The building is at the center of a tug-of-war between Chinatown preservation interests—including Lydia’s brother Tim—and a real estate developer who’s desperate to get his hands on it.

When Lydia, Bill, and Choi’s niece go to the building, they discover the Tong members are equally divided on the question of whether the niece should hold onto the building, or sell it—and make them rich. Entering Choi’s private living quarters they find the murdered body of Choi’s chief lieutenant.

The battle for the building has begun. Can Lydia and Bill escape being caught in the crossfire?

*****

SPECIAL AWARDS

GRAND MASTER: Laurie R. King

RAVEN AWARD: Lesa Holstine – Lesa’s Book Critiques; Library Journal Reviewer

ELLERY QUEEN AWARD: Juliet Grames – Soho Books

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