Friday, May 3, 2013

The 2013 Edgar Awards

It's time for the 2013 Edgar Awards! Last night, the Mystery Writers of America held their annual banquet celebrating crime fiction in film, television, drama, and literature.

An Edgar, named after Edgar Allan Poe, was awarded in 14 categories (here). Some of the award categories are listed below, with the winner in red:

Best Novel:

The Lost Ones by Ace Atkins
The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye
Gone Girl: A Novel by Gillian Flynn
Potboiler by Jesse Kellerman
Sunset by Al Lamanda
Live by Night by Dennis Lehane
All I Did Was Shoot My Man by Walter Mosley

Best First Novel:

The Map of Lost Memories by Kim Fay
Don't Ever Get Old by Daniel Friedman
Mr. Churchill's Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal
The Expats by Chris Pavone
The 500 by Matthew Quirk
Black Fridays by Michael Sears

Best Paperback Original:

Complication by Isaac Adamson
Whiplash River by Lou Berney
Bloodland by Alan Glynn
Blessed are the Dead by Malla Nunn
The Last Policeman: A Novel by Ben H. Winters

Best Fact Crime:

Midnight in Peking: How the Murder of a Young Englishwoman Haunted the Last Days of Old China by Paul French
Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America by Gilbert King
More Forensics and Fiction: Crime Writers' Morbidly Curious Questions Expertly Answered by D.P. Lyle, MD
Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies by Ben Macintyre
The People Who Eat Darkness: The True Story of a Young Woman Who Vanished from the Streets of Tokyo––and the Evil that Swallowed Her Up by Richard Lloyd Parry

Best Critical/Biographical:

Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe: The Hard-Boiled Detective Transformed by John Paul Athanasourelis
Books to Die For: The World's Greatest Mystery Writers on the World's Greatest Mystery Novels edited by John Connolly and Declan Burke
The Scientific Sherlock Holmes: Cracking the Case with Science and Forensics by James O'Brien
In Pursuit of Spenser: Mystery Writers on Robert B. Parker and the Creation of an American Hero edited by Otto Penzler

Mary Higgins Clark Award:

Dead Scared by S.J. Bolton
A City of Broken Glass by Rebecca Cantrell
The Reckoning by Jane Casey
The Other Woman by Hank Phillippi Ryan
Sleepwalker by Wendy Corsi Staub

TV Episode Teleplay:

"Pilot" - Longmire, Teleplay by Hunt Baldwin & John Coveny
"Child Predator" - elemeNtarY, Teleplay by Peter Blake
"Slaughterhouse" - Justified, Teleplay by Fred Golan
"A Scandal in Belgravia" - Sherlock, Teleplay by Steven Moffat
"New Car Smell" - Homeland, Teleplay by Meredith Stiehm

Grand Master:

Ken Follett
Margaret Maron


I'm embarrassed to admit that very few of the nominees are familiar to me, although two won in their respective categories. Ben H. Winters' The Last Policeman, which won for Best Paperback Original, was an intriguing mix of procedural and pre-apocalyptic sci-fi that I thought enhanced both genres. I reviewed it on Read Me Deadly here. The second book in Winters' proposed trilogy, Countdown City, is due out later this year, and I am dying to get my hands on a copy.

Chris Pavone's The Expats, which Della reviewed here, beat out Mr. Churchill's Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal, the only book I have read in the Best First Novel category.

Della also reviewed Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl here and Walter Mosley's All I Did Was Shoot My Man here, both of which lost out in Best Novel category to Dennis Lehane's Live by Night, which Georgette very much enjoyed.

Georgette reviewed Daniel Friedman's Don't Ever Get Old.

As usual, my batting average is 0.000. I haven't read a single one of the winning books. In fact, among all of the nominated books, I've only read two. I was definitely cheering for Ben Macintyre's Double Cross (which I reviewed here), a delightful tale of the pack of eccentrics who acted as double agents for British intelligence during World War II. But I'm willing to concede that the winner in the Best Fact Crime category sounds like terrific reading.

Luckily, my teammates have much better batting averages than mine, and I'm glad to see the Material Witnesses have written about so many of the winners and nominees. Georgette is such a Sherlock Holmes maven that I'm curious to hear if she has anything to say about The Scientific Sherlock Holmes, winner in the Best Critical/Biographical category. As for me and Sherlock Holmes, I can at least say that I saw the TV Episode Teleplay winner, "A Scandal in Belgravia," with Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock, when it played on Masterpiece Mystery almost exactly a year ago.

Well, Sister Mary, if there were a literary equivalent of the Edgar for World War II history or fiction, you'd be jury foreman, and your batting average would be a perfect 1.000.

As you note, Sister, I love, love, love Sherlock Holmes, and I also watched the TV Edgar's "A Scandal in Belgravia." I join Periphera in embarrassment, because I read O'Brien's The Scientific Sherlock Holmes, but I haven't yet reviewed it for Read Me Deadly. I'll do that soon. Right now, I'll tell you that it was written by a college professor who has lectured about Holmes for years, and it's an absolute must for serious Holmes fans and fun for more casual fans.

In this same category, I've read Books to Die For: The World's Greatest Mystery Writers on the World's Greatest Mystery Novels, edited by John Connolly and Declan Burke. It's a two-for-one special, because you get to read essays by crime fiction writers about the one book they would tell others they needed to read, so it's a good introduction to both essayists and their recommended books. It leans toward thrillers-hardboiled-noir-historical fiction rather than traditional or cozy books; I was happy to see some old favorites mentioned, like Paul Cain's Fast One. If you're a Spenser fan, you should read In Pursuit of Spenser: Mystery Writers on Robert B. Parker and the Creation of an American Hero, edited by Otto Penzler.

Who does complex father/son relationships as well as Dennis Lehane? His Live by Night, set in Boston, Florida, and Cuba during Prohibition and the Depression, is his second book about the Coughlins after The Given Day. Those are two books of historical fiction to add to your reading list if you haven't read them already, because I've heard Lehane plans a third. I enjoyed Flynn's clever thriller Gone Girl and Jesse Kellerman's Potboiler, although I thought Potboiler's middle was much too long. I'd like to read the others in the Best Novel category.

The Best First category is always interesting. Nominee Daniel Friedman's Don't Ever Get Old is entertaining. It features a grumpy ex-cop in his 80s who reluctantly teams up with his grandson on a Nazi gold treasure hunt. I think it's worthwhile to note that in every category, for every book nominated, there are others that weren't, but that reasonably could have been. I was disappointed that Michael Kardos's The Three-Day Affair, about a weekend reunion of some Princeton buddies, wasn't nominated for a Best First. Both Friedman and Kardos are writers to watch.

Bloodland by Alan Glynn lost to Winters' The Last Policeman in the Paperback Original category. Glynn's book may not be for everybody; he plunks the reader down in the middle of things and then the reader gradually learns what happened up to that point. I really enjoyed it.

I haven't yet finished Hank Phillippi Ryan's The Other Woman, winner of the Mary Higgins Clark Award, but a friend finished it and raved.

Sister, factor in Ken Follett's Grand Master Award to improve your batting average. Surely you've read his stunning thriller Eye of the Needle, which won the 1979 Edgar for Best Mystery. I award myself points for reading that and his The Key to Rebecca. I think you've also read some books by Margaret Maron, the other Grand Master winner, which I confess I haven't.

As for the Best First Novel winner, I loved Chris Pavone's The Expats. It's a book that Sir Walter Scott could have chosen to illustrate his observation, "Oh what a tangled web we weave / When first we practise to deceive!" The fact that Kate Moore has deceived as part of her job makes her a pro and the deceit all the characters engage in even more engrossing. I'm keeping an eye peeled for future Pavone books.

I haven't read Lehane's Live by Night, but I would have been happy to see Gone Girl, about an extremely troubled marriage, or Mosley's All I Did Was Shoot My Man, about an attempt to right an old wrong, win. I'd say they both deserved their nominations.

Oh, yeah, that winning Sherlock episode, "A Scandal in Belgravia." Gotta watch that one, people.


Open Road Integrated Media has been celebrating the Edgars this week, and you can see Edgar winners and nominees such as Ruth Rendell, Lawrence Block, and David Handler discuss their work and the Edgars in the video below. After viewing, see an Edgar infographic and check out an Edgars promotional sale here, and an Edgars e-books sale, good through May 6th, here.

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