Oh, the thrills! Oh, the chills! It’s time for the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar® awards honoring the best in mystery fiction and nonfiction produced the previous year. The awards began in 1954 and are named in honor of Edgar Allan Poe. All books, short stories, television shows, and films in the mystery, crime, suspense, and intrigue fields are eligible for Edgar® Awards in their respective category if they were published or produced for the first time in the U.S. during this calendar year.
Here are the spell-binding books that took home this year’s top prize:
By Steve Hamilton
Mike Smith is a “boxman.” He can open any safe, padlock, or locked door without a combination or a key–a talent that lands him in prison at the age of eighteen. He spends his time writing down the story of his life because that’s the only way he can share it. He hasn’t spoken in ten years. Not a single word since the tragic day he became known as the “Miracle Boy.”
Best First Novel by an American Author:
By Bruce DeSilva
Born and raised in the Mount Hope section of Providence, Rhode Island, journalist Liam Mulligan won’t simply report on the rash of arsons killing lifelong friends and loved ones in his old neighborhood. He wants to know more and launches an investigation, discovering a heavy-handed plot to own Mount Hope in order to redevelop it. Along the way, he’s threatened, beaten, arrested on suspicion of arson and murder, suspended from his newspaper, and targeted with a Mob contract on his life. Mulligan must turn to some unlikely allies to save his tired old neighborhood and secure justice.
Best Paperback Original:
By Robert Goddard
An ill-gotten family fortune culled from Congolese diamond mines, a forged Picasso, and a hellish Irish prison form the nexus of this eccentric thriller. There are two narrators: the first, speaking of events in 1976, is Stephen Swan, a geologist who has long worked in the booming Texas oil fields. On his return to England, he finds that an uncle, who he was told had lost his life during the Blitz, is alive but not well, having been just released from an extended stay in an Irish prison under suspicion of spying.
Best Fact Crime:
by Ken Armstrong and Nick Perry
A riveting but sordid tale of the University of Washington’s 2000 football squad, which included at least 24 players arrested or charged with crimes during their years at the university, crimes for which they did little or no time. Complicit were university officials, team coaches, local police and prosecutors, members of the media, even victims, all in the name of sustaining a winning program.
Best Critical/Biographical Work:
by Yunte Huang
The Charlie Chan we know from the movies (played by Swedish actor Warner Oland) had two strands to his DNA: E. D. Biggers’ immensely popular Charlie Chan novels and the actual man on whom Biggers based his tales. The model for Biggers’ canny Honolulu detective was Chang Apana, who rose from Hawaiian paniolo (cowboy) in the 1890s to Humane Society officer to Honolulu cop and detective in the early twentieth century. Chang’s beat concentrated on the notorious gambling dens, scenes and seeds of drugs and violence in the labyrinth of Honolulu’s Chinatown.
Best Young Adult:
By Charlie Price
As a witness to a double murder, Gabriel James is the key to helping the police understand who is responsible for potential hate crimes, numerous counts of animal cruelty, arson, drug transactions, and even potential child abuse. Through the police interview and several flashbacks, Gabriel shares his story of how just wanting to fit in and, maybe, find a girlfriend, lead him to find out more about his town and eventually, himself, than he ever really wanted to know.
By Dori Hillestad Butler
This first installment in a new trilogy for early readers introduces a dog whose first family went away and never returned. Buddy ended up in the pound, where he was adopted by a boy, Connor, and his mom, who coincidently live in his old neighborhood. Buddy, who enjoyed sleuthing with his original owner, is now trying to solve the mystery of his missing family, a mission he will pursue throughout the series. First, though, he has an immediate problem to solve: Connor has disappeared.
The The 2011 Edgar Banquet was held in New York City on April 28 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel. For a complete list of all of this years nominees and to read up on more of the awards ceremony, check out the Edgar Awards Website.