The Mystery Writers of America announced The Edgar Awards last week. Honoring the best in mystery fiction, nonfiction, and television, the winners were announced at the 71st Annual Gala, held in New York at the Grand Hyatt. Here is a selected list of winners:
Best Novel - Before the Fall by Noah Hawley
We talked a lot about this one in the office when it first came out. In the end, we decided it was one of the best books of the year. Here's how Amazon senior editor Seira Wilson described Hawley's novel in her Best-of review: "Noah Hawley’s new novel begins with the crash of a private plane carrying some very influential people on board. The only survivors are the young son of a media mogul and an obscure painter who, given his less than elevated status, seems like a wild card from the start. What happened on that flight? Why did the plane go down-- and if it was intentional, who was the target? With each chapter of Before the Fall, Hawley peels back another layer of the lives of those onboard that fatal flight; meanwhile, the media speculation and accusations in the days after the crash threaten to overwhelm truth and decency. The end is surprising, even a little bit of a 'huh' moment at first, but it’s an ending that sinks in and starts the wheels turning on everything that came before it, which, to me, is the hallmark of an unforgettable story." --Seira Wilson, The Amazon Book Review
Best First Novel by an American Author - Under the Harrow by Flynn Berry - The Atlantic named Under the Harrow one of the best books or 2016 and in part had this to say: "A brisk and chilling psychological study about grief, paranoia, and memory; a smart portrait of a complex sibling relationship; and, more than anything, an effective murder mystery...Berry takes some of the big social struggles that have animated the feminist movement and makes them specific and personal, exploring the rippling effects of power imbalances across individual lives. There’s nothing pedantic about the taut, tricky narrative, though. Like solving the whodunit, finding the bigger meaning is simply a matter of paying attention."
Best Fact Crime - The Wicked Boy by Kate Summerscale - Back in July of 2016, I had this to say about Summerscale's book: "The Wicked Boy is historical true crime centered around an East London murder committed by a thirteen-year-old Victorian boy. In the summer of 1895, the young Robert Coombes and his twelve-year-old brother Nattie spent ten days dining out at coffee houses and taking trips to the seaside and the theater. A suspicious aunt eventually forced her way into their home, where she discovered their mother's badly decomposed body. Lacking remorse, and fascinated with pulp fiction and violent criminals, Robert was sentenced and sent to Broadmoor, England's most infamous criminal lunatic asylum. Yet Broadmoor turned out to be the beginning of a new life for Robert—one that would have profoundly shocked anyone who thought they understood the Wicked Boy. Summerscale takes us through the crime, the investigation, and the aftermath in this narrative nonfiction that reads like a novel.
Best Critical/Biographical - Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin - The Boston Globe described the biography (which won award after award after award) this way: “Masterful…Taut, insightful, and thrilling, in ways that haunt, not quite as ghost story, but as a tale of a woman who strains against the binds of marriage, of domesticity, and suffers for it in a way that is of her time as a 1950s homemaker, and in a way that speaks to what it means to be a writer, an artist, and a woman even now.”
You can see the full list of winners here.
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