By February 25, 2009 1 Comments Read More →


So it is spring and the award nominations are blossoming like the trees.  The latest to be announced are the Agatha Awards honoring the traditional mystery. 

So, what the heck is a traditional mystery?  According to the Agatha Awards Web site (, traditional mysteries are 

“books best typified by the works of Agatha Christie as well as others. For our purposes, the genre is loosely defined as mysteries that: contain no explicit sex; contain no excessive gore or gratuitous violence; usually feature an amateur detective; and, take place in a confined setting and contain characters who know one another.”
These works might be great for a book discussion group that wants to avoid some of the challenging content in the more hard-boiled type of crime novels.   

The awards will be presented at the Malice Domestic convention in May but if your group wants to get a head start reading the nominations, here they are:

Best Novel:
Six Geese A-Slaying by Donna Andrews (St. Martin’s Minotaur)
A Royal Pain by Rhys Bowen (Penguin Group)
The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny (St. Martin’s Press)
Buckingham Palace Gardens by Anne Perry (Random House)
I Shall Not Want by Julia Spencer-Fleming (St. Martin’s Minotaur)

Best First Novel:
Through a Glass, Deadly by Sarah Atwell (Berkley Trade)
The Diva Runs Out of Thyme by Krista Davis (Penguin Group)
Pushing Up Daisies by Rosemary Harris (St. Martin’s Press)
Death of a Cozy Writer by G.M. Malliet (Midnight Ink)
Paper, Scissors, Death by Joanna Campbell Slan (Midnight Ink)

Best Non-fiction:
African American Mystery Writers: A Historical & Thematic Study by Frankie Y. Bailey (McFarland & Co.)
How to Write Killer Historical Mysteries
by Kathy Lynn Emerson (Perseverance Press)
Anthony Boucher, A Bibliography by Jeff Marks (McFarland & Co.)
Edgar Allan Poe: An Illustrated Companion to His Tell-Tale Stories by Dr. Harry Lee Poe (Metro Books)
The Suspicions of Mr. Whitcher by Kate Summerscale (Walker & Co.)

Best Children’s/Young Adult:
Into the Dark by Peter Abrahams (Harper Collins)
A Thief in the Theater (A Kit Mystery) by Sarah Masters Buckey (American Girl Publishers)
The Crossroads by Chris Grabenstein (Random House Children’s Books)
The Great Circus Train Robbery by Nancy Means Wright (Hilliard & Harris)



About the Author:

Gary Niebuhr is the author of Make Mine a Mystery (2003), Caught up in Crime (2009), and other readers' guides to mystery and detective fiction. He was a Booklist contributor from 2008-2014.

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