The Agatha Awards, first given in 1988 and considered by many to be the most prestigious awards in the mystery community, spotlight the art of the traditional mystery. These mysteries are intelligent, engaging, usually family-friendly and typically don’t contain unwarranted violence, graphic sex, or unnecessary blood and gore. These tales often focus on amateur sleuthing, familiar settings or a cast of characters with a mutual and complicated history. The awards were presented Saturday, April 23, in Bethesda, Maryland during the Malice Domestic mystery fan convention.
Here are the Agatha Award winners for works published in 2021:
BEST CONTEMPORARY NOVEL
Cajun Kiss of Death by Ellen Byron (Crooked Lane Books)
In Pelican, Louisiana, Valentine's Day has a way of warming the heart. But the air at Crozat Plantation B&B turns frigid when celebrity chef Phillippe Chanson checks in. And when the arrogant Phillippe perishes in a fiery boat crash, Maggie Crozat's dear friend JJ lands in very cold water.
BEST HISTORICAL NOVEL
Death at Greenway by Lori Rader-Day (HarperCollins)
Bridey Kelly has come to Greenway House—the beloved holiday home of Agatha Christie—in disgrace. A terrible mistake at St. Prisca’s Hospital in London has led to her dismissal as a nurse trainee, and her only chance for redemption is a position in the countryside caring for children evacuated to safety from the Blitz, but when a body is discovered nearby, the idyllic setting becomes host to a deadly mystery.
BEST FIRST NOVEL
Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala (Berkley)
When Lila Macapagal moves back home to recover from a horrible breakup, her life seems to be following all the typical rom-com tropes. She's tasked with saving her Tita Rosie's failing restaurant, and she has to deal with a group of matchmaking aunties who shower her with love and judgment. But when a notoriously nasty food critic (who happens to be her ex-boyfriend) drops dead moments after a confrontation with Lila, her life quickly swerves from a Nora Ephron romp to an Agatha Christie case.
BEST SHORT STORY
“Bay of Reckoning” by Shawn Reilly Simmons in Murder on the Beach (Destination Murders)
These light, often funny stories of mystery and intrigue, will transport you to a variety of shores, from the rocky coastlines of New England to the white stretches of sand on the Atlantic, to the teal and emerald waters of the Gulf Coast, the surfing havens on the Pacific, and even beaches in between.
How to Write a Mystery: A Handbook from Mystery Writers of America by MWA with editors Lee Child and Laurie R. King (Simon & Schuster)
Mystery Writers of America (MWA) is known for providing unparalleled resources on the craft, art, and business of storytelling, helping writers of all levels improve their skills for nearly a century. Now, this handbook helps authors navigate the ever-shifting publishing landscape—from pacing, plotting, the business side of publishing, to the current demand for diversity and inclusivity across all genres, and more.
BEST CHILDREN’S/YA MYSTERY
I Play One on TV by Alan Orloff (Down & Out Books)
All's great for sixteen-year-old actor Dalton Black as he portrays a teen killer on a crime reenactment show. That is, until he realizes someone is stalking him. When that someone turns out to be Homer Lee Varney, the man convicted of the murder, things take a dark turn, and Dalton is afraid for his life. What does Varney want? Some sort of twisted revenge? Or something even worse?
Congratulations to all the winners and nominees.