Tuesday, May 5, 2009

List: The Edgar Award for Best Novel

Every year, the Mystery Writers of America award the "Edgar" in nine categories of mystery and crime writing, plus a handful of special awards. I'm working my way through the list of winners of the Best Novel award.

Named in honor of Edgar Allen Poe, the the first Edgar award was given in 1946 to Watchful at Night by Julius Fast for Best First Novel by an American Author. The "Best Novel" award for the MRA choice of the best mystery novel of the year has been around since 1954.

Although I enjoy a good mystery, there are few on this list that I have read. Why is this? There may be many clues, but I suspect foul play.

As always, if anyone else is working on this list, please leave a comment with a link to your corresponding blog post and I will add it to this.

Those I have read are in red. Those on my TBR shelf are in blue.

2017 Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

2016 Let Me Die in His Footsteps by Lori Roy

2015 Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

2014 Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger

2013 Live by Night by Dennis Lehane

2012 Gone by Mo Hayder

2011 The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton

2010 The Last Child by John Hart

2009 Blue Heaven by C. J. Box

2008 Down River by John Hart

2007 The Janissary Tree by Jason Goodwin

2006 Citizen Vince by Jess Walter (reviewed here)

2005 California Girl by T. Jefferson Parker

2004 Resurrection Men by Ian Rankin

2003 Winter and Night by S.J. Rozan

2002 Silent Joe by T. Jefferson Parker

2001 The Bottoms by Joe R. Lansdale

2000 Bones by Jan Burke

1999 Mr. White's Confession by Robert Clark

1998 Cimarron Rose by James Lee Burke

1997 The Chatham School Affair by Thomas H. Cook (reviewed here)

1996 Come to Grief by Dick Francis

1995 The Red Scream by Mary Willis Walker

1994 The Sculptress by Minette Walters

1993 Bootlegger's Daughter by Margaret Maron

1992 A Dance at the Slaughterhouse by Lawrence Block

1991 New Orleans Mourning by Julie Smith

1990 Black Cherry Blues by James Lee Burke

1989 A Cold Red Sunrise by Stuart M. Kaminsky

1988 Old Bones by Aaron Elkins

1987 A Dark-Adapted Eye by Barbara Vine

1986 The Suspect by L.R. Wright

1985 Briar Patch by Ross Thomas

1984 La Brava by Elmore Leonard

1983 Billingsgate Shoal by Rick Boyer

1982 Peregrine by William Bayer

1981 Whip Hand by Dick Francis

1980 The Rheingold Route by Arthur Maling

1979 The Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett

1978 Catch Me: Kill Me by William H. Hallahan

1977 Promised Land by Robert B. Parker

1976 Hopscotch by Brian Garfield

1975 Peter's Pence by Jon Cleary

1974 Dance Hall of the Dead by Tony Hillerman

1973 The Lingala Code by Warren Kiefer

1972 The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth

1971 The Laughing Policeman by Maj Sjowall, Per Wahloo

1970 Forfeit by Dick Francis

1969 A Case of Need by Micheal Crichton (as Jeffery Hudson)

1968 God Save the Mark by Donald E. Westlake

1967 The King of the Rainy Country by Nicolas Freeling

1966 The Quiller Memorandum by Adam Hall

1965 The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John le Carre

1964 The Light of Day by Eric Ambler

1963 Death and the Joyful Woman by Ellis Peters

1962 Gideon's Fire by J.J. Marric

1961 The Progress of a Crime by Julian Symons

1960 The Hours Before Dawn by Celia Fremlin

1959 The Eighth Circle by Stanley Ellin

1958 Room to Swing by Ed Lacy

1957 A Dram of Poison by Charlotte Armstrong

1956 Beast in View by Margaret Millar

1955 The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler

1954 Beat Not the Bones by Charlotte Jay


List updated on April 4, 2018.


If you would like to be listed here, please leave a comment with your links to any progress reports or reviews and I will add them.

Re-Run of the Day: The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire

In honor of Cinco de Mayo and, appropriately enough, the official launching of C. M. Mayo's historical novel The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire, I am re-running my review, first posted back in April: C. M. Mayo’s The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire is the historically accurate, fictionalized account of Emperor Maximilian’s short reign over Mexico in the 1860s. Mayo’s hook is Maximilian’s “adoption” of the half-American grandson of the first Emperor of Mexico, General Agustín de Iturbide. The childless Maximilian makes the toddler his “heir apparent” to help shore up Mexican support for his French-backed regime, bribing the parents with pensions and promises of aristocratic lives in Paris – a bargain the Inturbides soon regret. But the book is more than simply the story of the Iturbide family. It encompasses Maximilian’s entire, brief reign, from his forced relinquishment of family rights as a Hapsburg and Archduke of Austria when he accepted the Mexican crown from Louis Napoleon, to his wife Charlotte’s crack up, and his ultimate defeat at the hands of Mexican nationalists. Mayo spent years researching the story of Maximilian and the Inturbides, focusing on obscure primary source materials stashed away in historical archives. The underlying story is fascinating. It is one thing to have a general understanding that the French were meddling around in Mexico the same time America was fighting its Civil War and the Prussians were vying with France for power in Europe. It is another thing to have all those moving parts come together in a coherent, entertaining novel that weaves the personal in with the political. As Mayo explains in the Epilogue, she chose to write the story as fiction because:
I wanted to tell it true, which means, of course, getting the facts as straight as possible but also, and this was the most interesting to me, telling an emotional truth. Why did Alice, Angel, Pepa, Maximilian, and Charlotte do what they did? Who encouraged and supported them, and who criticized, intimidated, and frustrated them – and for what motives? The answer is not only in historical and political analysis, but in their hearts, and the hearts of others can only be experienced with the imagination, that is, through fiction.
Mayo tells the story from the perspective of several characters, from Maximilian and Charlotte down to illiterate servants and even the toddler Agustín himself. This is an effective technique for layering details and pulling the most out of every aspect of the tale. But the continuous switching around made it difficult to become completely absorbed in the story. Despite this and a few other minor flaws – the diplomatic maneuvering got a little repetitive and the ending was rushed – The Last Prince deserves attention. It is an ambitious book for tackling such a complicated little sliver of history, and Mayo brings her historic characters to life with a compelling story for a modern audience.

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