Annal: 1992 Agatha Award for Best First Novel

Results of the Agatha Award in the year 1992.

Book:Blanche on the Lam

Blanche on the Lam

Barbara Neely

It’s hard enough making ends meet on the pittance Blanche White earns doing day work for the genteel Southern families of North Carolina. But when her fourth bad check lands her a jail sentence, Blanche goes on the lam.

Inadvertently, she finds work at the summer home of a wealthy family, the members of which have plenty of their own secrets. And when a dead body is discovered, Blanche finds herself the prime suspect. Using her wit and intelligence—not to mention the remarkably efficient old-girl network among domestic workers—she gets to work uncovering the real killer before she lands in more hot water.

Book:All the Great Pretenders

All the Great Pretenders

Deborah Adams

Twin Elms Inn Was Becoming a Three-Ring Circus featuring the disappearing act of an eccentric rich girl and the psychic hired to find her. Innkeeper Kate Yancy has all she can do just to live there, let alone manage the place—coping with a beauty-queen chambermaid, a religious-fanatic cook, a handful of eccentric guests, and a yardful of reporters.

It’s a heady shot of excitement for little Jesus Creek, Tennessee, already in the throes of a Sesquicentennial celebration.

Murder is the only thing missing—but not for long.

Set in the sultry heat of a Southern summer, Deborah Adams’s first mystery is alight with small-town mischief, modest mayhem, and a homespun cast of unforgettable characters who turn a rural shindig into a real-life soap opera.

Book:Decked

Decked

Carol Higgins Clark

When P.I. Regan Reilly attends a class reunion in England, the long-dead body of her former roommate turns up. Clues to the mystery follow Regan as she sails home—and into the hands of a killer.

Book:Seneca Falls Inheritance

Seneca Falls Inheritance

Miriam Grace Monfredo

During the Women’s Rights Convention of 1848, a body turns up in the canal-and town librarian Glynis Tryon stands up to a killer.

Book:Thyme of Death

Thyme of Death: A China Bayles Mystery

Susan Wittig Albert

China Bayles has it all—a prestigious Houston law practice, money, power—but it’s not enough. She’s smart, she’s tough, she’s confident, and she knows she wants something more out of life than the fast track offers. Something like the Thyme and Seasons herb shop in Pecan Springs, Texas.

Realizing that her career is turning her into somebody she doesn’t like, China does what many people only dream of doing: She relocates to a small town to begin a new and, she hopes, a gentler, more fulfilling life. But even in Pecan Springs, evil can occur among ordinary people living everyday lives. China soon learns that while she can move from the city, she can’t escape the world of moral choice. When China’s good friend, Jo Gilbert, apparently commits suicide, China is more than puzzled. Jo had been suffering from a terminal disease, but wasn’t the type to take her own life. And, to a lawyer like China, some revealing…[more]

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