Mystery and Detective Fiction—Major Awards Analysis

Agatha Awards

(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Malice Domestic, established in 1989, holds an annual convention at which the Agatha Awards, honoring the British novelist Agatha Christie, are given. The award takes the shape of a teapot because “cozy” is the term used for novels like Christie’s and also the term for a teapot cover. Criteria for eligibility specify no explicit sex, bloodshed, or unwarranted violence. Awards are made in several categories: best novel, best first mystery, best short story, best children/young adult fiction, and lifetime achievement.

Best Novel

1988——Carolyn Hart——Something Wicked

1989——Elizabeth Peters——Naked Once More

1990——Nancy Pickard——Bum Steer

1991——Nancy Pickard——I.O.U.

1992——Margaret Maron——Bootlegger’s Daughter

1993——Carolyn Hart——Dead Man’s Island

1994——Sharyn McCrumb——She Walks These Hills

1995——Sharyn McCrumb——If I’d Killed Him When I Met Him

1996——Margaret Maron——Up Jumps the Devil

1997——Kate Ross——The Devil in the Music

1998——Laura Lippman——Butcher’s Hill

1999——Earlene Fowler——Mariner’s Compass

2000——Margaret Maron——Storm Track


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Anthony Awards

(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Named for Anthony Boucher, a well-known mystery fan, writer, and critic, the Anthony Awards are selected by the attendees of the Buchercon World Mystery Convention. Standard categories are best novel, best first novel, best paperback original, and best short story. Sometimes special awards are given, as in the case of the 2000 awards, which commemorated the end of a millennium with awards for best series of the century, best writer of the century, and best novel of the century.

Best Novel

1986——Sue Grafton——“B” Is for Burglar

1987——Sue Grafton——“C” Is for Corpse

1888——Tony Hillerman——Skinwalkers

1989——Thomas Harris——The Silence of the Lambs

1990——Sarah Caudwell——The Sirens Sang of Murder

1991——Sue Grafton——“G” Is for Gumshoe

1992——Peter Lovesey——The Last Detective

1993——Margaret Maron——Bootlegger’s Daughter

1994——Marcia Muller——Wolf in the Shadows

1995——Sharyn McCrumb——She Walks These Hills

1996——Mary Willis Walker——Under the Beetle’s Cellar

1997——Michael Connelly——The Poet

1998——S. J. Rozan——No Colder Place

1999——Michael Connelly——Blood Work

2000——Peter Robinson——In a Dry Season

2001——Val McDermid——A Place of Execution


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Barry Awards

(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Founded in 1997, the Barry Awards are named for the late Barry Gardner, a critic and fan of mystery stories. The recipients are nominated by the staff of the quarterly mystery magazine Deadly Pleasures. Subscribers and readers of the magazine vote for the winners. The categories are best novel, best first novel, best British crime novel, and best paperback original.

Best Novel

1997——Peter Lovesey——Bloodhounds

1998——Michael Connelly——Trunk Music

1999——Reginald Hill——On Beulah Height

1999——Dennis Lehane——Gone, Baby, Gone

2000——Peter Robinson——In a Dry Season

2001——Nevada Barr——Deep South

2002——Dennis Lehane——Mystic River

2003——Michael Connelly——City of Bones

2004——Laura Lippman——Every Secret Thing

2005——Lee Child——The Enemy

2006——Thomas H. Cook——Red Leaves

Best First Novel

1997——Charles Todd——A Test of Wills

1998——Lee Child——Killing Floor

1999——William Kent Krueger——Iron Lake

2000——Donna Andrews——Murder with Peacocks

2001——Davis Liss——A Conspiracy of Paper

2002——C. J. Box——Open Season

2003——Julia Spencer-Fleming——In a Bleak Midwinter

2004——P. J. Tracy——Monkeewrench

2005——Carlos Ruiz Zafon——The Shadow of the Wind

2006——Stuart McBride——Cold Granite

Best Paperback Original

1997——Susan Wade——Walking Rain

1998——Harlan Coben——Backspin

2000——Caroline Roe——An Antidote for Avarice

2001——Eric Wright——The Kidnapping of Rosie Dawn

2002——Deborah Woodworth——Killing Gifts

2003——Danielle Girard——Cold Silence

2004——Jason Starr——Tough Luck

2005——Elaine Flinn——Tagged for Murder

2006——Reed Farrel Coleman——The James Deans

Best British Crime Novel

2000——Val McDermid——A Place of Execution

2001——Stephen Booth——Black Dog

2002——Stephen Booth——Dancing with the Virgins

2003——John Connolly——The White Road

2004——Val McDermid——The Distant Echo

2005——John Harvey——Flesh and Blood

2006——Denise Mina——Field of Blood

Best Thriller

2005——Barry Eisler——Rain Storm

2006——Joseph Finder——Company Man

Best Short Story

2002——Deborah Woodward——“Killing Gifts”

2004——Robert Barnard——“Rogues’ Gallery”

2005——Edward D. Hoch——“The War in Wonderland”

Best Short Short Story

1998——Kate Grilley——“Guavaberry Christmas”

2000——Dorothy Francis——“When in Rome”

2000——Carol Kilgore——“Just a Man on the Sidewalk”

2001——Nick Andreychuk——“In the Heat of the Moment”

2003——Del Tinsley——“A Cut Above”

2004——Rob Lopresti——“Nailbiter”

2005——Mike Wiecek——“The Test”

2006——Nancy Pickard——“There Is No Crime on Easter Island”

Don Sandstrom Memorial Award for Lifetime Achievement in Mystery Fandom

2002——Gary Warren Neibuhr

2003——Maggie Mary Masson

2005——Bill Crider

2006——Janet Rudolph

CWA Dagger Awards

(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

The Dagger Awards are given by the Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) of Great Britain, organized in 1953, for mystery works. A committee appointed by the CWA selects the honorees. Awards were first given in 1955, and the number of awards have varied since their inception, depending in part on who the sponsors are. The awards given include the following:

Cartier Diamond Dagger

Begun in 1986, this award is sponsored by Cartier and honors writers who have maintained excellence over time and contributed significantly to crime fiction written in, or translated into, English. The CWA selects winners from writers nominated by its membership.

Duncan Lawrie Dagger

This award is given to the year’s best crime novel written in English and is sponsored by the Duncan Lawrie Private Bank. From 1960 to 1994 and from 2003 to 2005, this award was named the Gold and Silver Daggers, although the Silver Dagger was not given until 1969. From 1995 to 2002, this award was known as the Macallan Gold and Silver Daggers (after their sponsor, Macallan Distillers). The Gold Dagger was called the Crossed Red Herring Award from 1955 to 1959.

Duncan Lawrie International Dagger

This award, also sponsored by the Duncan Lawrie Private Bank, is given for the best crime novel translated into English from another language and was first awarded in 2006.

New Blood Dagger

This award, formerly called the John Creasy Memorial Award, is given in memory of CWA founder John Creasey for first crime fiction by a previously unpublished writer. Chivers Press sponsored the award from 1973 until 2002, after which BBC Audiobooks became the sponsor. Past winners determine the honorees.

Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction

Instituted in 1978, this award for the best crime nonfiction, sponsored by the CWA membership, was known as the Macallan Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction (after the sponsor, Macallan Distillers) between 1995 and 2003. A Silver Dagger for Non-Fiction was award in 1978 and 1979.

Ian Fleming Steel Dagger

Introduced in 2002, Ian Fleming (Glidrose) Publications sponsors this award for the best thriller. Judges are agents, authors, booksellers, and reviewers.

Short Story Dagger

First awarded in 1995, this award was sponsored by Macallan Distillers until 2002, when the CWA membership became its sponsor and renamed it the Short Story Dagger.

Ellis Peters Award

The estate of the late Ellis Peters and her publishers, Headline and Little Brown, sponsor this award, which was first given in 1999 in memory of the author of the medieval Brother Cadfael series. Honorees for this award must have written a crime novel with a historical background set in any period up to the 1960’s. Until 2006, the award was known as the Ellis Peters Historical Dagger.

Last Laugh Dagger

Formerly known as the Punch Award, this award for the most humorous crime novel was first given in 1988.

Dagger in the Library

Formerly the Golden Handcuffs, this award, sponsored by the Random House Group, is given to living writers who have provided pleasure to readers. United Kingdom libraries nominate candidates, and librarians judge the competition.

The Cartier Diamond Dagger

1986——Eric Ambler

1987——P. D. James

1988——John le Carré...

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Derringer Awards

(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

The Derringer Awards are limited to recognizing excellence in the short-story subgenre. They were created in 1997 by the Short Mystery Fiction Society and named after the small handgun because of its metaphoric significance: The gun is small but dangerous. Creators of the awards felt that they filled a vacuum left by the majority of American mystery awards that tend to focus on novels. Any short story that is published in print or electronic media is eligible for the award.

Best Flash Story

1998——Michael Mallory——“Curiosity Kills”

1999——Joyce Holland——“Pretty Kitty”

2001——Earl McGill——“Dolls Don’t Lie”

2001——Mike Wiecek——“The New Lawyer”

2004——Michael Bracken——“All My Yesterdays”

2005——J. A. Konrath——“The Big Guys”

2006——Patricia Harrington——“Secondhand Shoe”

2007——Jan Christensen——“Matched Set”

Best Short-Short Story

1998——Eileen Brosnan——“Back Stairs”

2000——Dorothy Francis——“When in Rome”

2000——Carol Kilgore——“Just a Man on the Sidewalk”

2002——Nick Andreychuk——“In the Heat of the Moment”

2003——Del Tinsley——“A Cut Above”

2004——Michael Bracken——“All My Yesterdays”

2005——Mike Wiecek——“The Test”

2006——Stephen D. Rogers——“Zipped”

2007——Gail Farrelly——“Even Steven”

Best Mid-length Story

1998——Barbara White-Rayczek——“The Adventurers”

1998——Kris Neri——“L.A. Justice”

1999——Kris Neri——“Capital Justice”

2000——Elizabeth Dearl——“The Way to a Man’s Heart”

2001——Steve Hockensmith——“Erie’s Last Day”

2002——Earl Staggs——“All the Fine Actors”

2003——Dave White——“Closure”

2004——Dorothy Rellas——“Notions of the Real World”

2005——Sandy Balzo——“Viscery”

2006——Iain Rowan——“One Step Closer”

2007——David Bareford——“Éden’s Bodyguard”

Best Novella/Longer Story

1998——Margo Power——“Best Conspiracy”

2000——Doug Allyn——“Saint Bobby”

2001——Lynda Douglas——“Lilacs and Lace”

2002——Jean McCord——“Early Morning Rain”

2003——Doug Allyn——“The Murder Ballads”

2004——Clark Howard——“The Mask of Peter”

2005——Doug Allyn——“Secondhand Heart”

2006——Mark Best——“The Safest Place on Earth”

2007——Annette Dashofy——“Signature in Blood”

Best First Short Mystery Story

1998——Eileen Brosnan——“Back Stairs”

2000——Ray Wonderly——“Death in Full Bloom” (Honorary)

Best Puzzle Story

2001——Henry Slesar——“The Cabin Killer”

The Golden Derringer for Lifetime Achievement in Short Mystery Fiction

1999——Edward D. Hoch

2000——Henry Siesar

2001——John Lutz

Edgar Allan Poe Awards

(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

First awarded in 1946, the Edgar Awards are prestigious honors sponsored by the Mystery Writers of America. Initially, only the category of best first American mystery novel was considered, but over the years, a number of additional categories have been recognized, including best novel, best original paperback, best critical/biographical, best fact crime, best short story, best young adult, best juvenile, best play, best episode in a television series, best television feature or miniseries, and best motion picture screenplay. Other special awards include the Robert L. Fish Memorial Award, sponsored by his estate and given to the best first mystery short story by a previously unpublished American fiction writer; the Grand Master...

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Gumshoe Awards

(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

First awarded in 2002, the Gumshoe Awards recognize the best achievements in the crime fiction genre. The awards are sponsored by Mysterious Ink, a popular Web site.

Best Novel

2002——Thomas Perry——Pursuit

2003——George P. Pelecanos——Hell to Pay

2004——Steve Hamilton——Blood Is the Sky

2005——Jim Fusilli——Hard, Hard City

2006——Laura Lippman——To the Power of Three

2007——Julia Spencer-Fleming——All Mortal Flesh

Best Thriller

2005——Barry Eisler——Rain Storm

2006——Joseph Finder——Company Man...

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Hammett Prize for Crime Writing

(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

The Hammett Prize, first awarded in 1992 and sponsored by the North American Branch of the International Association of Crime Writers, is given for excellence in the mystery field. The association strives to promote communication among published crime writers. The falcon-headed Thin Man trophy symbolizes Dashiell Hammett’s literary spirit.

1992——Elmore Leonard——Maximum Bob

1993——Alice Hoffman——Turtle Moon

1994——James Crumley——The Mexican Tree Duck

1995——James Lee Burke——Dixie City Jam

1996——Mary Willis Walker——Under the Beetle’s Cellar

1997——Martin Cruz...

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Herodotus Awards

(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

The Historical Mystery Appreciation Society established the Herodotus Awards in 1998 to recognize excellence in the field of mystery writing. Herodotus, who wrote the first great narrative history about the Greco-Persian Wars, is said to have never let history stand in the way of a good story, thus epitomizing the historical mystery writer. Categories for the award are best short-story historical mystery, best first U.S. historical mystery, best first international historical mystery, best U.S. historical mystery, and the Herodotus Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Historical Mysteries.

Best U.S. Historical Mystery

1998——Sharan Newman——Cursed in the Blood


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Macavity Awards

(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

The Macavity Awards, first given in 1987, are named for Macavity, the cat in T. S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats (1939). Members of the Mystery Readers International, an organization dedicated to enriching the lives of readers of mysteries, determine the winners. In addition to a certificate, each winner receives a stuffed cat representing Macavity the cat. Award categories are best mystery novel, best first mystery novel, best short story, and, starting in 2006, the Sue Feder Award for historical mystery.

Best Mystery Novel

1987——P. D. James——A Taste for Death

1988——Nancy Pickard——Marriage Is Murder


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Nero Wolfe Awards

(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

The Nero Wolfe novels by Rex Stout inspired these awards for mystery novels that reflect the spirit of fair play that is typical of Stout’s novels. In 1969, Viking Press sponsored a contest for Nero Wolfe fans, and in 1973, Professor John McAleer, who was writing a biography of Rex Stout, wanting to meet Wolfe fans, obtained the earlier contest list and began corresponding with some of those individuals, including Ellen Kreiger. McAleer suggested the name Wolfe Pack. In 1977, when the Murder Ink Bookstore hosted a dinner to celebrate the publication of McAleer’s biography, attendees completed a questionnaire that revealed a positive response toward organizing the Wolfe Pack. On June 6, 1978, Kreiger met with five others and the...

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Shamus Awards

(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

The Private Eye Writers of America recognizes excellence in the private investigator (P.I.) genre. Created in 1981 by Robert J. Randisi, the group defines private eye mysteries as those in which the protagonist is a professional private investigator and not a police officer or a government agent. Categories for this award are best P.I. novel, best P.I. paperback original, best P.I. first novel, and best P.I. short story.

Best P.I. Hardcover Novel

1982——Bill Pronzini——Hoodwink

1983——Lawrence Block——Eight Million Ways to Die

1984——Max Allan Collins——True Detective

1985——Loren D. Estleman——Sugartown


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