At Bouchercon, the world mystery convention, the winners of the Anthony Awards were announced. The “Anthonys,” named in honor of writer, reviewer, and editor Anthony Boucher, recognize the year’s best achievements in mystery and crime fiction.
Like a Sister by Kellye Garrett
When the body of disgraced reality TV star Desiree Pierce is found on a playground in the Bronx the morning after her 25th birthday party, the police and the media are quick to declare her death an overdose. It’s a tragedy, certainly, but not a crime.
But Desiree’s half-sister Lena Scott knows that can’t be the case. A graduate student at Columbia, Lena has spent the past decade forging her own path far from the spotlight, but some facts about Desiree just couldn’t have changed since their childhood. And Desiree would never travel above 125th Street. So why is no one listening to her?
Despite the bitter truth that the two haven’t spoken in two years, torn apart by Desiree’s partying and by their father, Mel, a wealthy and influential hip-hop mogul, Lena becomes determined to find justice for her sister, even if it means untangling her family’s darkest secrets—or ending up dead herself.
BEST FIRST NOVEL
The Maid by Nita Prose
Molly Gray is not like everyone else. She struggles with social skills and misreads the intentions of others. Her gran used to interpret the world for her, codifying it into simple rules that Molly could live by.
Since Gran died a few months ago, twenty-five-year-old Molly has been navigating life’s complexities all by herself. No matter—she throws herself with gusto into her work as a hotel maid. Her unique character, along with her obsessive love of cleaning and proper etiquette, make her an ideal fit for the job. She delights in donning her crisp uniform each morning, stocking her cart with miniature soaps and bottles, and returning guest rooms at the Regency Grand Hotel to a state of perfection.
But Molly’s orderly life is upended the day she enters the suite of the infamous and wealthy Charles Black, only to find it in a state of disarray and Mr. Black himself dead in his bed. Before she knows what’s happening, Molly’s unusual demeanor has the police targeting her as their lead suspect. She quickly finds herself caught in a web of deception, one she has no idea how to untangle. Fortunately for Molly, friends she never knew she had unite with her in a search for clues to what really happened to Mr. Black—but will they be able to find the real killer before it’s too late?
Scot in a Trap by Catriona McPherson
A mysterious object the size of a suitcase, all wrapped in bacon and smelling of syrup, can mean only one Thanksgiving at the Last Ditch Motel. This year the motel residents are in extra-celebratory mood as the holiday brings a new arrival to the group – a bouncing baby girl.
But as one life enters the Ditch, another leaves it. Menzies Lassiter has only just checked in. When resident counsellor Lexy Campbell tries to deliver his breakfast the next day, she finds him checked out. Permanently. Shocking enough if he was a stranger, but Lexy recognises that face. Menzies was her first love until he broke her heart many years ago.
What’s he doing at the Last Ditch? What’s he doing dead ? And how can Lexy escape the fact that she alone had the means, the opportunity – and certainly the motive – to kill him?
The Quarry Girls by Jess Lourey
Minnesota, 1977. For the teens of one close-knit community, summer means late-night swimming parties at the quarry, the county fair, and venturing into the tunnels beneath the city. But for two best friends, it’s not all fun and games.
Heather and Brenda have a secret. Something they saw in the dark. Something they can’t forget. They’ve decided to never tell a soul. But their vow is tested when their friend disappears—the second girl to vanish in a week. And yet the authorities are reluctant to investigate.
Heather is terrified that the missing girls are connected to what she and Brenda stumbled upon that night. Desperately searching for answers on her own, she learns that no one in her community is who they seem to be. Not the police, not the boys she met at the quarry, not even her parents. But she can’t stop digging because she knows those girls are in danger.
The Life of Crime: Detecting the History of Mysteries and their Creators by Martin Edwards
Author Martin Edwards is a multi-award-winning crime novelist, the President of the Detection Club, archivist of the Crime Writers’ Association and series consultant to the British Library’s highly successful series of crime classics, and therefore uniquely qualified to write this book. He has been a widely respected genre commentator for more than thirty years, winning the CWA Diamond Dagger for making a significant contribution to crime writing in 2020, when he also compiled and published Howdunit: A Masterclass in Crime Writing by Members of the Detection Club and the novel Mortmain Hall. His critically acclaimed The Golden Age of Murder (Collins Crime Club, 2015) was a landmark study of Detective Fiction between the wars.
The Life of Crime is the result of a lifetime of reading and enjoying all types of crime fiction, old and new, from around the world. In what will surely be regarded as his magnum opus, Martin Edwards has thrown himself undaunted into the breadth and complexity of the genre to write an authoritative – and readable – study of its development and evolution. With crime fiction being read more widely read than ever around the world, and with individual authors increasingly the subject of extensive academic study, his expert distillation of more than two centuries of extraordinary books and authors – from the tales of E.T.A. Hoffmann to the novels of Patricia Cornwell – into one coherent history is an extraordinary feat and makes for compelling reading.
Crime Hits Home: A Collection of Stories from Crime Fiction’s Top Authors edited by S.J. Rozan
The newest anthology from Mystery Writers of America explores the theme of home and the crimes that endanger it, with stories by Ellen Hart, Naomi Hirahara, Walter Mosley, Sara Paretsky and more.
Everyone comes from someplace. Everyone has somewhere they feel safe. Some people have found their home and are content where they are. Others feel trapped and yearn to go somewhere else. Many are somewhere else and yearn to go back. But evenin these safest of places, sometimes…crime hits home. What happens then?
In this volume, MWA brings together some of today’s biggest crime writers—and some of our most exciting new talents—to consider this question. Each writer has defined home as they see a place, a group, a feeling. The crime can come from without or within. What happens when crime hits home?