Wednesday, 06 May 2020 18:24

The #SaveIndieBookstores campaign has raised a total of $1,239,595 to support independent bookstores, Bookselling This Week reported.

More than 1,800 donors contributed that was originally to have ended on April 30 but was extended to May 5 to give people more time to donate and, as the organizers said, “save these irreplaceable, vital parts of our communities.”

All the money raised will be given to independent bookstores, who are encouraged to apply for a grant.

The campaign was a partnership of James Patterson, who donated $500,000, the American Booksellers Association and the Book Industry Charitable Foundation (Binc).

The campaign began April 2 with a $500,000 donation from James Patterson.

Besides James Patterson, major contributors include:

Rick and Becky Riordan who announced they would give a $100,000 matching grant campaign.

John Grisham and Stephen King, who appeared in conversation on King's YouTube channel to talk about their new books Camino Winds and If It Bleeds, respectively and promote #SaveIndieBookstores. The event was free, but attendees were encouraged to donate to the campaign;

The regional booksellers associations, some of which had matching grant campaigns;

Europa Editions' Our Brilliant Friend event series;

SIB-YA After Dark, an hour-long Twitter Ask Me Anything (AMA);'s #SocksforBinc campaign raised $28,731 with 3,858 pairs of socks sold to more than 1,300 people. And these socks are really cute. had partnered with a group of illustrators, authors and designers to create 10 designs for pairs of socks that it sold to book lovers. One sock designer was the 11-year-old daughter of's creative director. He told her that if she sold more than 1,000 pairs of socks she designed, she could pick anything she wanted from DoorDash. She sold 1,049 pairs.

The minimum price for a pair of socks was $15, but many buyers added donations to their order.

The #SocksforBinc pitch: “Pull on your socks, put on an audiobook, and stay safe at home while supporting booksellers across the nation.”

The #SaveIndieBookstores campaign is supported by the Book Industry Charitable Foundation (Binc), the American Booksellers Association (ABA) and Reese Witherspoon's Book Club. All monies will be given to independent bookstores in mid-May.

For more information, visit #SaveIndieBookstores.

Photo: James Patterson at Murder on the Beach bookstore in Delray Beach, Florida

#SaveIndieBookstores Raises $1.2 Million
Oline H. Cogdill
Saturday, 02 May 2020 19:19

The Agatha Awards are presented annually during the Malice Domestic convention and are to honor books and stories first published in the United States during the previous calendar year (January 1-December 31, 2019), either in hardcover, as a paperback original, or as an e-book by an e-publishing firm, according to the website.

But of course, 2020 has forced the conference organizers to have to reevaluate Malice Domestic and, eventually, canceling the conference.

The cancellation was, of course, the right thing to do.

But the authors and their books nominated for an Agatha still must be honored.

The Agatha were announced via Zoom on the evening of May 2, 2020, the same night the awards banquet would have been held.

The Agatha Awards honor the Traditional Mystery, books typified by the works of Agatha Christie. For our purposes, the genre is loosely defined as mysteries that contain no explicit sex, excessive gore or gratuitous violence, and are not classified as "hard-boiled."

Mystery Scene congratulates the nominees and the winners. We hope next year the awards can be presented live. Authors honored this year also will be honored during the 2021 Malice.

The Agatha Award winners are in bold with a ** in front of the name.

Agatha Award winners
Best Contemporary Novel
**The Long Call by Ann Cleeves (Minotaur)

Fatal Cajun Festival by Ellen Byron (Crooked Lane Books)
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
**One Night Gone by Tara Laskowski (Graydon House, a division of Harlequin)

A Dream of Death by Connie Berry (Crooked Lane Books)
Murder Once Removed by S. C. Perkins (Minotaur)
When It’s Time for Leaving by Ang Pompano (Encircle Publications)
Staging is Murder by Grace Topping (Henery Press)

Best Historical Mystery
**Charity’s Burden by Edith Maxwell (Midnight Ink)

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)
The Naming Game by Gabriel Valjan (Winter Goose Publishing)

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

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 Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold (Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt)

Best Children/Young Adult
**The Last Crystal by Frances Schoonmaker (Auctus Press)

Kazu Jones and the Denver Dognappers by Shauna Holyoak (Disney Hyperion)
Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen MacManus (Delacorte 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
**"The Last Word" by Shawn Reilly Simmons, Malice Domestic 14: Mystery Most Edible (Wildside Press)
"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)
"Better Days" by Art Taylor in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine

2020 Agatha Award Winners
Oline H. Cogdill
Thursday, 30 April 2020 15:07

Writers are creative people—it’s part of the job title.

And just as creative are those who work with authors in a variety of situations—agents, editors, booksellers, publicists and, are I say, even the occasional critic.

And that brings me to the organizers of Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Awards.

This is the 75th anniversary of MWA and that called for an especially big celebration of the Edgar Awards.

But as we all know, the Edgar week events, including the symposium and the awards banquet had to be canceled.

But the awards to celebrate the authors, their books, TV, etc., were not canceled. Just given in a different format.

This time on Twitter and YouTube in real time instead live in the room at the banquet.

MWA's handling of the Edgars should be a blueprint for other organizations.

By putting this on Twitter/YouTube, it also allowed the Edgar Awards to be open to anyone.

Whether a person has signed up for the banquet or not, they were allowed to particiapte.

That openness brought more of a sense of community to the event

And it also brought more attention to the books and the authors, hopefully inspiring more book buying.

Announced April 30, 2020, the virtual Edgar Awards made us all proud. I am sure this was not easy to pull off but the announcements were smoothly handled.

April 30 is the day the awards would have been announced anyway. Only instead of an evening gala with long dresses and tuxedoes, the awards’ announcement began around 11 a.m.

Now all the acceptance speeches are available on YouTube, and they are worth a listen.

All the finalists were asked to record an acceptance speech that would air after their category was announced.

As usual, the speeches were from the heart as authors thanked those who helped their career. The speeches may have been shorter this time because of technology.

Instead of glitz, the authors filmed from their homes or outside. Some had their dogs or cats in the videos, others did it solo.

Perhaps in many ways, these videos gave readers more insight to the authors.

Angie Kim, whose Miracle Creek took the Best First Novel by an American Author, talked about her Korean heritage and how her family helped her.

John Billheimer, whose Hitchcock and the Censors won best critical biography, told us how he came to writing late and thanked his wife for encouraging him to use his engineering background in his writing.

Elly Griffiths, who took best novel for The Stranger Diaries, mentioned how strong the mystery community is and how it will not be broken.

The videos also include a heartfelt tribute to Mary Higgins Clark, who died this year, with authors discussing how much her work, and the author herself, meant to them.

It was hard not to tear up as Sujata Massey, Charles Todd and Hank Phillippi Ryan paid their respects to Clark. The video also included an interview with the Queen of Suspense as she was often called.

Also bringing tears was the annual “In Memoriam” that showed those who have passed away. The video montage reminded us how these authors influenced the genre and our reading, and showed us how much we have missed with their passing. Some of the authors’ passings were a surprise to me. Rest In Peace.

We all hope that next year, we can celebrate the Edgar Awards in person. But this online ceremony and these videos remind us how important the genre is and why reading soothes us, even during a pandemic.

Here are the winners. Happy reading.

Here are the winners of the Edgar Awards as announced April 30, 2020, by the virtual Edgar Awards.

Videos of all the winners including a heartfelt tribute to Mary Higgins Clark are on YouTube

Winners are in bold with an ***

Mystery Scene congratulates those who take home an Edgar and the nominees.

**The Stranger Diaries, by Elly Griffiths (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Fake Like Me,
by Barbara Bourland (Hachette Book Group – Grand Central Publishing)
The River, by Peter Heller (Penguin Random House – Alfred A. Knopf)
Smoke and Ashes, by Abir Mukherjee (Pegasus Books)
Good Girl, Bad Girl, by Michael Robotham (Simon & Schuster Scribner)

**Miracle Creek, by Angie Kim (Farrar Straus and Giroux)
My Lovely Wife
by Samantha Downing (Penguin Random House Berkley)
The Good Detective, by John McMahon (Penguin Random House – G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
The Secrets We Kept, by Lara Prescott (Penguin Random House – Alfred A. Knopf)
Three-Fifths, by John Vercher (Polis Books – Agora Books)
American Spy, by Lauren Wilkinson (Penguin Random House – Random House)

**The Hotel Neversink, by Adam O’Fallon Price (Tin House Books)

Dread of Winter, by Susan Alice Bickford (Kensington Publishing)
Freedom Road, by William Lashner (Amazon Publishing – Thomas & Mercer)
Blood Relations, by Jonathan Moore (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt – Mariner Books)
February’s Son, by Alan Parks (Europa Editions – World Noir)
The Bird Boys, by Lisa Sandlin (Cinco Puntos Press)

**The Less People Know About Us: A Mystery of Betrayal, Family Secrets, and Stolen Identity, by Axton Betz-Hamilton (Hachette Book Group – Grand Central Publishing)
The Ghosts of Eden Park: The Bootleg King, the Women Who Pursued Him, and the Murder that Shocked Jazz-Age America, by Karen Abbott (Penguin Random House - Crown)
American Predator: The Hunt for the Most Meticulous Serial Killer of the 21st Century, by Maureen Callahan (Penguin Random House - Viking)
Norco '80: The True Story of the Most Spectacular Bank Robbery in American History, by Peter Houlahan (Counterpoint Press)
Indecent Advances: A Hidden History of True Crime and Prejudice Before Stonewall, by James Polchin (Counterpoint Press)

**Hitchcock and the Censors, by John Billheimer (University Press of Kentucky)
Beyond the Thirty-Nine Steps: A Life of John Buchan, by Ursula Buchan (Bloomsbury Publishing)
The Hooded Gunman: An Illustrated History of Collins Crime Club ,by John Curran (Collins Crime Club)
Medieval Crime Fiction: A Critical Overview, by Anne McKendry (McFarland)
The Mutual Admiration Society: How Dorothy L. Sayers and her Oxford Circle Remade the World for Women, by Mo Moulton (Hachette Book Group – Basic Books)

***“One of These Nights," from Cutting Edge: New Stories of Mystery and Crime by Women Writers, by Livia Llewellyn (Akashic Books)
“Turistas," from Paque Tu Lo Sepas, by Hector Acosta (Down & Out Books)
“The Passenger," from Sydney Noir, by Kirsten Tranter (Akashic Books)
“Home at Last," from Die Behind the Wheel: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Music of Steely Dan, by Sam Wiebe (Down & Out Books)
“Brother’s Keeper," from Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, by Dave Zeltserman (Dell Magazine)

**Me and Sam-Sam Handle the Apocalypse, by Susan Vaught (Simon & Schuster Children’s Books – Paula Wiseman Books)

The Collected Works of Gretchen Oyster, by Cary Fagan (Penguin Random House Canada – Tundra Books
Eventown, by Corey Ann Haydu (HarperCollins Children’s Books – Katherine Tegen Books)
The Whispers by Greg Howard (Penguin Young Readers – G.P. Putnam’s Sons BFYR)
All the Greys on Greene Street, by Laura Tucker (Penguin Young Readers – Viking BFYR)

**Catfishing on CatNet, by Naomi Kritzer (Tom Doherty Associates – Tor Teen)
Killing November, by Adriana Mather (Random House Children’s Books – Alfred A. Knopf BFYR)
Patron Saints of Nothing, by Randy Ribay (Penguin Young Readers - Kokila)
The Deceivers, by Kristen Simmons (Tom Doherty Associates – Tor Teen)
Wild and Crooked, by Leah Thomas (Bloomsbury Publishing)

**“Season 5, Episode 4” – Line of Duty, Teleplay by Jed Mercurio (Acorn TV)
“Season 5, Episode 3” – Line of Duty, Teleplay by Jed Mercurio (Acorn TV)
“Episode 1” – Dublin Murders, Teleplay by Sarah Phelps (STARZ)
“Episode 1” – Manhunt, Teleplay by Ed Whitmore (Acorn TV)
“Episode 1” – The Wisting, Teleplay by Katherine Valen Zeiner & Trygve Allister Diesen (Sundance Now)

“There’s a Riot Goin’ On," from Milwaukee Noir, by Derrick Harriell (Akashic Books)

**The Night Visitors, by Carol Goodman (HarperCollins – William Morrow)
One Night Gone, by Tara Laskowski (Harlequin – Graydon House)
Strangers at the Gate, by Catriona McPherson (Minotaur Books)
Where the Missing Go, by Emma Rowley (Kensington Publishing)
The Murder List, by Hank Phillippi Ryan (Tom Doherty Associates – Forge Books)

**Borrowed Time, by Tracy Clark (Kensington Publishing)
Shamed, by Linda Castillo (Minotaur Books)
The Missing Ones, by Edwin Hill (Kensington Publishing)
The Satapur Moonstone, by Sujata Massey (Soho Crime)
The Alchemist’s Illusion, by Gigi Pandian (Midnight Ink)
Girl Gone Missing, by Marcie R. Rendon (Cincos Puntos Press)

Barbara Neeley

Left Coast Crime

Kelley Ragland

Derrick Harriell, There's a Riot Goin' On, published in Milwaukee Noir (Akashic Books)

Celebrating the 2020 Edgars from Afar
By Oline H Cogdill