Get a Clue!

As a society, there is some pretty good evidence that we love a good mystery (take a look at TV and Movies- MOST of them are mysteries of some sort). We love having the good guy (or gal) find the bad guy and win because they could figure things out. This is true in the book world too. We start by reading Nancy Drew & The Hardy Boys, Encyclopedia Brown, and countless other pint-sized sleuths (come to think of it, I have YET to see an award for YA or Children’s mystery….). Once we get to adult fiction though, many times the “literary” world wants to say that mysteries are “just genre” fiction. Book stores and publishers continue this separation by having separate imprints and shelving for genre fiction. Yes, genre fiction follows conventions. Yes, there are patterns. That doesn’t mean they can’t be REALLY well written Literature or defy some/all of the established conventions. (gasp- I used the Literature label.) Getting off that soapbox, here are some more awards for the Mystery category that highlight well-done genre fiction.

The Anthony Awards- 

This set of awards is given annually at the Bouchercon festival, since 1970. Named after a critic, editor and author of mysteries who railed against the same marginalization I mentioned above, the Anthonys are a well-respected award. The Local Organizing Committee (LOC) for that year’s convention send out nomination ballots to members of Bouchercon. Each ballot can contain 5 nominations for each category: • Best Novel • Best First Novel • Best Paperback Original • Best Short Story • Best Critical Nonfiction Work • Special Service Award • Up to three wild card awards

From these original ballots, nominees are selected in advance of the convention. While at the convention, voting takes place. Each registered member gets one vote, regardless of how many memberships they are a part of (ie pen names, publishing groups, corporate groups etc.). Corporate memberships do not get a vote. For more on the rules, click HERE. Again, this seems to be a fairly straight forward process by which fans/authors/knowledgeable folks select the winners. Publishers and marketers don’t appear to have any undue influence. I especially like the bit in the rules about how even if you buy convention tickets under your real name and your pen name, you only get one vote. Lol. Click HERE for a list of past winners.

The Shamus Award

This one is done by the Private-Eye Writers of America. Unfortunately, this association does not have the best of web-sites. (sigh) I could find several lists of winners and summaries of what counts as a PI for these folks, but very little about the nomination/selection/voting process. Here’s a great list of winners, and these are the categories: (Title, Year created)

 Best P. I. Hardcover Novel 1982

Best First P. I. Novel 1985

Best P. I. Paperback Original 1982

THE EYE – Lifetime Achievement Award 1982

Best P. I. Short Story 1983

St. Martins’ Press/ PWA Best First Private Eye Novel Contest 1986

Friends of PWA 2002

Best P. I. Series/Characters – The Hammer 2007


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