Agatha Winners

Hank Phillippi Ryan

Hank Phillippi Ryan

For writers of cozy, or almost cozy mysteries (think Agatha Christie), Malice Domestic is the conference to interact with their readers. Of course, the Agatha award—a teapot—is coveted. I was there in spirit only. Naturally, I awaited the final word from Saturday night’s award banquet. And, I wanted to see how my picks fared.

Since I mentioned all short story authors, I can claim a victory for that! (Art Taylor won.) I scored again with my write-up of Writes of Passage. It won for best non-fiction. I’m wondering, since I was one of those who contributed an essay, can I claim one sixtieth of an Agatha? (Good question.) The editor who did claim the teapot, Hank Phillippi Ryan, also won for best contemporary novel. Another of my favorite authors, Rhys Bowen, won for best historical novel.

This is the official line-up of Agatha winners:

Best children’s / YA: Code Buster’s Club, Cast #4 by Penny Warner
Best short story: The Odds Are Against Us, by Art Taylor
Best nonfiction: Writes of Passage, edited by Hank Phillippi Ryan with Elaine Will Sparber
Best first novel: Well Read, Then Dead by Terrie Farley Moran
Best historical novel: Queen of Hearts by Rhys Bowen
Best contemporary novel: Truth Be Told by Hank Phillippi Ryan
In addition, Cynthia Kuhn won the Malice Domestic Grant for Unpublished Writers.

Agatha Short Story Nominees

Agatha awards, so named for Agatha Christie of mystery writing fame, are given every year at the Malice Domestic conference. One award is given for the top short story published the previous year. This year’s nominees are all winners, even though only one will receive the tea pot that is the coveted prize. Nominated for Best Short Story are:

“The Odds are Against Us” by Art Taylor, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Nov. 2014
“Premonition” by Art Taylor, Chesapeake Crimes Homicidal Holidays (Wildside Press)
“The Shadow Knows” by Barb Goffman, Chesapeake Crimes Homicidal Holidays (Wildside Press)
“Just Desserts for Johnny” by Edith Maxwell (Kings River Life Magazine)
“The Blessing Witch” by Kathy Lynn Emerson, Best New England Crime Stories 2015: Rogue Wave (Level Best Books)

Those who attend Malice Domestic this year are in for a dilemma. Which of these excellent stories will they vote for? What idea sparked the story? Find that answer on the Wicked Cozy Author blog, Best Short Agatha Nominees on Ideas. The Writers Who Kill blog asked each writer other questions. How many characters? How should they be developed? What comes first, story or theme? Their post is: An Interview with the 2014 Agatha Best Short Story Nominee Authors. They also have links to each story.

Wish I were going to Malice Domestic, except, then I’d have to decide which story was best. Quite an impossibility.

(Other links of interest are the Malice Domestic list of earlier short story winners and all more recent winners.)