Sharyn McCrumb, who considers herself primarily a storyteller, has increasingly used her mystery novels as vehicles to portray a southern/Appalachian culture where contact with modern issues and problems results in various kinds of violence. Thus, she has stretched the boundaries of the mystery novel, emphasizing the interaction of culture and characters and exploring complex relationships within families or groups of close friends.
McCrumb’s novels have won numerous awards. Lovely in Her Bones (1985) and The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter (1992) were named Best Appalachian Novel by the Appalachian Writers Association in 1986 and 1992, respectively. Several of her novels have been selected as Notable Books of the Year by The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, and her fiction has won three Agatha Awards (She Walks These Hills, 1994; If I’d Killed Him When I Met Him, 1995; and “A Wee Doch and Doris”), two Anthony Awards (She Walks These Hills and “The Monster of Glamis”), the Nero Wolfe Award (She Walks These Hills), and the Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America (Bimbos of the Death Sun, 1987). She also received the 2006 People’s Choice Award for Fiction, given by the Library of Virginia and the James River Writers, for St. Dale (2005). Her novels have been translated into Dutch, German, Italian, and Japanese. She has also received the Wilma Dykeman Award for Regional Historical Literature from the East Tennessee Historical Society in 2003 and the award for Outstanding Contribution to Appalachian Literature from the Appalachian Writers Association in 1997.