Mystery Writers of America has its own way of celebrating the birth of Edgar Allan Poe—announcing the nominations for the Edgar Allan Poe Awards. January 19 is the 209th anniversary of Poe’s birthday and, true to form, here are the award nominees, honoring the best in mystery fiction, nonfiction, and television published or produced in 2017.
The Edgar® Awards will be presented to the winners at the 72nd Gala Banquet, April 26, 2018 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, New York City.
Congratulations to all the nominees.
The Dime by Kathleen Kent (Hachette Book Group - Little, Brown & Co./Mulholland Books)
Prussian Blue by Philip Kerr (Penguin Random House – G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke (Hachette Book Group - Little, Brown & Co./Mulholland Books)
A Rising Man by Abir Mukherjee (Pegasus Books)
The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti (Penguin Random House – The Dial Press)
BEST FIRST NOVEL BY AN AMERICAN AUTHOR
She Rides Shotgun by Jordan Harper (HarperCollins – Ecco)
Dark Chapter by Winnie M. Li (Polis Books)
Lola by Melissa Scrivner Love (Penguin Random House – Crown)
Tornado Weather by Deborah E. Kennedy (Macmillan – Flatiron Books)
Idaho by Emily Ruskovich (Random House)
BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL
In Farleigh Field by Rhys Bowen (Amazon Publishing – Thomas & Mercer)
Ragged Lake by Ron Corbett (ECW Press)
Black Fall by Andrew Mayne (HarperCollins Publishers – Harper Paperbacks)
The Unseeing by Anna Mazzola (Sourcebooks – Sourcebooks Landmark)
Penance by Kanae Minato (Hachette Book Group – Little, Brown & Co./Mulholland Books)
The Rules of Backyard Cricket by Jock Serong (Text Publishing)
BEST FACT CRIME
Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann (Penguin Random House – Doubleday)
The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple by Jeff Guinn (Simon & Schuster)
American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land by Monica Hesse (W.W. Norton & Company – Liveright)
The Man From the Train: The Solving of a Century-Old Serial Killer Mystery by Bill and Rachel McCarthy James (Simon & Schuster – Scribner)
Mrs. Sherlock Holmes: The True Story of New York City's Greatest Female Detective and the 1917 Missing Girl Case that Captivated a Nation by Brad Ricca (St. Martin’s Press)
From Holmes to Sherlock: The Story of the Men and Women who Created an Icon by Mattias Bostrom (Grove/Atlantic – The Mysterious Press)
Manderley Forever: A Biography of Daphne du Maurier by Tatiana de Rosnay (St. Martin’s Press)
Murder in the Closet: Essays on Queer Clues in Crime Fiction Before Stonewall by Curtis Evans (McFarland Publishing)
Chester B. Himes: A Biography by Lawrence P. Jackson (W.W. Norton & Company)
Arthur and Sherlock: Conan Doyle and the Creation of Holmes by Michael Sims (Bloomsbury USA)
BEST SHORT STORY
“Spring Break” – New Haven Noir by John Crowley (Akashic Books)
“Hard to Get” – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Jeffery Deaver (Dell Magazines)
“Ace in the Hole” – Montana Noir by Eric Heidle (Akashic Books)
“A Moment of Clarity at the Waffle House” – Atlanta Noir by Kenji Jasper (Akashic Books)
“Chin Yong-Yun Stays at Home” – Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine by S.J. Rozan (Dell Magazines)
Audacity Jones Steals the Show by Kirby Larson (Scholastic – Scholastic Press)
Vanished! by James Ponti (Simon & Schuster – Aladdin)
The Assassin’s Curse by Kevin Sands (Simon & Schuster – Aladdin)
First Class Murder by Robin Stevens (Simon & Schuster – Simon & Schuster BFYR)
NewsPrints by Ru Xu (Scholastic – Graphix)
BEST YOUNG ADULT
The Cruelty by Scott Bergstrom (Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group – Feiwel & Friends)
Grit by Gillian French (HarperCollins Publishers – HarperTeen)
The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak (Simon & Schuster)
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds (Simon & Schuster – Atheneum Books for Young Readers)
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (HarperCollins Publishers – Balzer + Bray)
BEST TELEVISION EPISODE TELEPLAY
“Episode 1” – The Loch, Teleplay by Stephen Brady (Acorn TV)
“Something Happened” – Law and Order: SVU, Teleplay by Michael Chernuchin (NBC Universal/Wolf Entertainment)
“Somebody to Love” – Fargo, Teleplay by Noah Hawley (FX Networks/MGM)
“Gently and the New Age” – George Gently, Teleplay by Robert Murphy (Acorn TV)
“The Blanket Mire” – Vera, Teleplay by Paul Matthew Thompson & Martha Hillier (Acorn TV)
ROBERT L. FISH MEMORIAL AWARD
"The Queen of Secrets" - New Haven Noir by Lisa D. Gray (Akashic Books)
Kristopher Zgorski, BOLO Books
The Raven Bookstore, Lawrence Kansas
ELLERY QUEEN AWARD
THE SIMON & SCHUSTER MARY HIGGINS CLARK AWARD
The Vineyard Victims by Ellen Crosby (Minotaur)
You’ll Never Know Dear by Hallie Ephron (HarperCollins – William Morrow)
The Widow’s House by Carol Goodman (HarperCollins – William Morrow Paperbacks)
Uncorking a Lie by Nadine Nettmann (Llewellyn Worldwide – Midnight Ink)
The Day I Died by Lori Rader-Day (HarperCollins – William Morrow Paperbacks)
Photo: Edgar statue courtesy of Mystery Writers of America, Inc.
When Major Crimes first aired on TNT, I was not a huge fan. I was very attached to The Closer, which starred Kyra Sedgwick as Brenda Leigh Johnson in the title role.
A Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief, Brenda was known as a closer who could solve crimes but also get confessions that stood up in court. Her interrogations lead to convictions.
I loved Brenda’s idiosyncrasies, her hidden stash of chocolate, and that ugly handbag she always carried. Her seemingly “sweet” nature and Southern accent was disarming to criminals who felt they could put one over on her. Silly criminals.
Sedgwick played Brenda as a fully realized person, with many flaws, so many flaws, making her all the more human. I also loved that Sedgwick, who is a beautiful woman, sometimes looked a little frumpy and plain, as do all women at some point during the day. (Yes, all women.)
Major Crimes debuted in 2012 immediately following The Closer’s finale. Designed to be a spin-off of The Closer with the same detective team in the same police department, Major Crimes brought us Captain Sharon Raydor, played by Mary McDonnell, as the new head of the Major Crimes Division.
Sharon faced myriad challenges, in addition to bringing criminals to justice. She had to earn the trust and respect of her officers after Brenda’s sudden departure. And she also had to earn the trust and respect of those loyal Closer viewers.
For this viewer, it didn’t take long for me to become a fan of Major Crimes.
While The Closer was about the confession, Major Crimes is about the art of the deal.
The ever-reliable McDonnell shows how a soft-spoken woman can also be a force of nature—strong, insightful, taking no nonsense from criminals, and, yes, closing those high-profile cases.
McDonnell played Sharon as a realistic person, who has her own flaws. Sharon is not Brenda; she is her own unique person. McDonnell showed how a person of deep faith—Sharon is a devout Catholic—also can use that faith in her job. Nor would that faith stop her from investigating a church if necessary.
So I am as sad as anybody that after six seasons, Major Crimes' finale airs at 9 p.m., January 9, 2017.
I think the network is making a huge error in taking Major Crimes off the air, as this wonderful show has more stories to tell.
This last season has been devastating in its twists—no spoiler here, I promise—and the series has risen to every challenge. The main reason for its success is how the squad members mesh. Each detective is a distinct person, with different views, yet united in their insight and quest for justice.
Major Crimes also allowed viewers a peek at each detective’s personal life. We saw relationships, marriages, adoptions, family members, and people reinventing themselves. Sharon’s concern for Rusty Beck, a witness to a serial killer’s crime, led her to adopt him, which let this young man make something of himself.
So thank you, Mary McDonnell, G. W. Bailey, Tony Denison, Michael Paul Chan, Raymond Cruz, Phillip P. Keene, Robert Gossett, Jonathan Del Arco, Kearran Giovanni, Graham Patrick Martin, and Jon Tenney. Kathe Mazur as Deputy District Attorney Andrea Hobbs was often the smartest person in the room.
A special note to one of my favorites in Major Crimes —Jonathan Del Arco as Dr. Fernando Morales, Los Angeles County Deputy Medical Examiner. I always wanted Dr. Morales to have his own episode, or four.
I am curious what will replace Major Crimes. The Alienist, which premieres January 22 on TNT and is based on the novel by Caleb Carr, looks interesting, but incredibly dark. Period pieces are interesting but not always successful.
So, goodbye, Major Crimes. Thank you for the hours of entertainment, the involving stories, and the wonderful characters. I’ll be catching you on demand and with the series reruns that will be popping up.
Photo: Mary McDonnell, center, with Major Crimes cast. Photo courtesy TNT.