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Thursday, October 5, 2006 10:46 am
Criminally Good?
Posted by: Keir Graff

I wasn’t able to attend Bouchercon this year, unfortunately, even though it was held in nearby Madison, Wisconsin. It’s a really unique convention, not very commercial, that gives crime writers and fans of crime writing a chance to get together for informal, sometimes rowdy, panels and parties. I attended last year’s Bouchercon, which was in Chicago, and plan to attend again when I can.

A number of awards are handed out there, too: the Anthony, which is chosen by the Bouchercon membership; the Macavity, which is awarded by Mystery Readers International; the Shamus, which is given by the Private Eye Writers of America; and the Barry, which is bestowed by Deadly Pleasures Mystery Magazine.

Anyway, here are the winners:

Anthony Awards

Best Mystery Novel: Mercy Falls, by William Kent Krueger (Atria)
Best Paperback Original: The James Deans, by Reed Farrel Coleman (Plume)
Best First Mystery: Tilt-a-Whirl, by Chris Grabenstein (Carroll & Graf)
Best Critical/Nonfiction: The Heirs of Anthony Boucher: A History of Mystery Fandom, ed. by Marv Lachman (Poisoned Pen)
Best Short Story: “Misdirection,” by Barbara Seranella (in Greatest Hits, ed. by Robert J. Randisi [Carroll & Graf])
Best Fan Publication: CrimeSpree Magazine, ed. by Jon and Ruth Jordan
Special Service to the Field: Janet Rudolph, Mystery Readers International

Macavity Awards

Best Novel: The Lincoln Lawyer, by Michael Connelly (Little, Brown)
Best First Novel: Immoral, by Brian Freeman (St. Martin’s/Minotaur)
Best Non-fiction: Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Woman Who Created Her, by Melanie Rehak (Harcourt)
Best Short Story: “There Is No Crime on Easter Island,” by Nancy Pickard (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, September-October 2005)
Sue Feder Historical Mystery Award: Pardonable Lies, by Jacqueline Winspear (Holt)

Shamus Awards

Best Hardcover: The Lincoln Lawyer, by Michael Connelly (Little, Brown)
Best Paperback Original: The James Deans, by Reed Farrel Coleman (Plume)
Best First Novel: Forcing Amaryllis, by Louise Ure (Mysterious Press)
Lifetime Achievement Award: Max Allan Collins

Barry Awards

Best Novel: Red Leaves, by Thomas H. Cook (Harcourt)
Best First Novel Published in the U.S. in 2005: Cold Granite, by Stuart MacBride (St. Martin’s/Minotaur)
Best British Novel Published in the U.K. in 2005: The Field of Blood, by Denise Mina (Bantam Press)
Best Thriller: Company Man, by Joseph Finder (St. Martin’s/Minotaur)
Best Paperback Novel: The James Deans, by Reed Farrel Coleman (Plume)
Best Short Story: “There is No Crime on Easter Island,” by Nancy Pickard (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, September-October 2005)
Don Sandstrom Memorial Award for Lifetime Achievement in Mystery Fandom: Janet A. Rudolph

And, lastly, Dick Adler, who writes for a newspaper just down the street from Booklist, The Chicago Tribune, copped the American Crime Writers League Ellen Nehr Award for mystery reviewing.

It’s always interesting to see what, if any, patterns form in awards that cover the same genre. I think what these awards tell me is that I should read The Lincoln Lawyer, The James Deans, and “There Is No Crime on Easter Island.”

I actually met Reed Farrel Coleman, author of The James Deans (of which, unfortunately, there is no record of Booklist even receiving), at last year’s Bouchercon. When he was introduced to me, I recognized his name from a panel I would be attending, about the links between poetry and hard-boiled prose. So I mentioned that Richard Hugo, a world-class poet, had written a mystery called Death and the Good Life. “The hero,” I said, “is nicknamed ‘Mush Heart’.”

Coleman snorted, or scoffed, and said, “Well, you know why he called him that, don’t you?” And then he turned around and left. It sounded as if he was somehow offended. I found myself wondering whether there was some timeline by which Hugo could have stolen it from Coleman, but it didn’t make sense. So I actually didn’t know, and still don’t.

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