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The Mystery Writers of America just published its annual anniversary issue.  In it are listed this year’s award recipients in various categories, three of which have a special interest for me.  Those are Best Novel, Best First Novel by an American Author, and Best Paperback Original, which pretty much comprise the types of books I blog about on a weekly basis.

This year’s winners in the above mentioned categories (in the order mentioned above) are Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara, Please See Us by Caitlin Mullen, and When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole.  My congratulations to these authors and to all the authors who were nominated.

What I found amazing and unsettling, given the number of mysteries I read year, is how many past winners I was unfamiliar with.   Not only had I not read these writers, but I hadn’t even heard of them.  Jeffery Hudson (A Case of Need, 1959), Warren Kiefer (The Lingala Code, 1973), and Mary Willis Walker (The Red Scream, 1995) won the Edgar for Best Novel, and now I wonder if the winning book was the only mystery each one wrote, if they went on to other endeavors, or if they passed away shortly after receiving the award.  (My husband suggests doing a Google search, but where is the mystery in that?)

I have the same questions about the winners of the Best First Novel award by an American Author:  Deidre S. Laiken (Death Among Strangers, 1988), Jess Walter (Citizen Vince, 2006), Jason Matthews (Red Sparrow, 2014), and Best Paperback Original:  Mike Jahn (The Quark Maneuver, 1978), Thomas Adcock (Dark Maze, 1992), Naomi Hirahara (Snakeskin Shamisen, 2007).

I am delighted to say that the majority of the above mysteries are available in the Minuteman Library System in Massachusetts, so given that libraries regularly cull their collections of “unwanted” books, this indicates that people are still reading these novels.  I’m left wondering why if other mystery fans knew about these authors/books, why didn’t I?

So it’s a case of bad news/good news:  Despite my “living” at the library, there are still many, many books I haven’t read–so there are still a lot of books left for me to read!


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