The award season continues with nominations for the 2020 Agatha Awards, which will be awarded during the Malice Domestic conference (May 1-3, 2020), and which is celebrating its 32nd year.
The nominated works are books published in 2019.
The Agatha ballots will be included in registration bags at Malice Domestic and will be chosen by those attending the conference.
Malice Domestic is a fun conference and I highly recommend it.
Mystery Scene congratulates all the nominees.
The 2019 Agatha Award Nominees
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 Philippi 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)
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 Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine
I love libraries. I think most readers and authors also love libraries.
I love the stacks of books, organized so well. Libraries are full of possibilities, of worlds not explored, of words waiting to be read.
As a child, I spent many wonderful hours in my hometown library, the Mississippi County Library in Charleston, Missouri.
When I went there it was a small, two-room building. But now, thanks to a generous donor, the renamed Clara Drinkwater Newnam Library is a large beautiful building.
It was in that tiny library that I expanded my love of mysteries, finding new, well, new to me, authors.
That hometown library is where I also first learned about the New York Public Library at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street at Bryant Park.
A library that big—unfathomable to me.
And the two lions out front—nicknamed “Patience” and “Fortitude”—were beyond comprehension to me. A couple of years ago, I was invited to attend Sue Grafton’s memorial service held at the library in a beautiful room not always open to the public. Sue Grafton would approve.
Thank to Con Lehane’s excellent series, I can continue to discover new aspects of the New York Public Library.
Lehane’s latest Murder Off the Page (Minotaur) continues the story of librarian sleuth Raymond Ambler.
In Murder Off the Page, Raymond begins an investigation after getting a note from his friend, bartender Brian McNulty. The stakes increase when a second murder also is linked to Brian in this third installment of his library series.
Lehane’s series takes us into the corners of the library and also spots in New York City many don’t know about.
His library series grew out of another series Lehane wrote about bartender Brian McNulty. When that series ended, his editor suggested he write a new series set at the 42nd Street Library.
“[His editor] liked how I wrote about New York City and thought setting a mystery at one of the city’s iconic institutions would allow me to write about the city—and about books and librarians,” Lehane said in an email.
The library setting seems tailor made for Lehane, who has worked as a college professor, a union organizer, a labor journalist, and has tended bar at two dozen or so drinking establishments.
“I’ve loved libraries and frequented them (not quite as much as I’ve frequented bars) all my life,” he continued in the email. “I remember vividly the first time I visited a library as a first-grader.”
But despite his love of libraries, he said he didn’t feel comfortable trying to create a librarian character because “I don’t know librarianship, so I created a curator—a subject-area specialist.”
So like a good librarian would, Lehane dug into research to create his new series hero.
“First, Raymond Ambler was a historian; then, I changed his occupation to crime fiction specialist. I’d been interested in the idea of doing research in special collections for a while.”
His interest in special collections led to a pilgrimage or so.
“A decade or more ago, after reading Tom Nolan’s biography of Ross Macdonald and meeting and talking with Tom, I made a couple of visits to the Ross Macdonald/Kenneth Millar—actually the Margaret Millar—collection at the University of California Irvine and browsed through Ross Macdonald’s notebooks, so this might have been in the back of my mind also.”
By the way, here’s a bit of trivia about those lions guarding the New York Library.
The lions’ original names were Leo Astor and Leo Lenox, which was in honor of the library's founders. Then they were called Lord Astor and Lady Lenox. That doesn’t really work since both lions are supposed to be male.
The names Patience and Fortitude came during the in the 1930s from by Mayor Fiorello La Guardia. The legend is he chose the chose the names because he felt New Yorkers needed those qualities to endure the Great Depression.