Annal: 1993 Agatha Award for Best Novel

Results of the Agatha Award in the year 1993.

Book:Dead Man's Island

Dead Man's Island: A Henrie O. Mystery

Carolyn G. Hart

Few men would respond to an attempt on their life with an invitation to the killer to try again. But arrogant, daredevil media magnate Chase Prescott has done just that, while issuing an urgent summons to the one person he trusts to point out the would-be murderer…his long-ago colleague and lover, retired newshound Henrietta O’Dwyer Collins.

After a lifetime covering disasters and revolutions, murders and public scandals, Henrie O is more than content to confine her energy to writing mysteries. And her feelings of unease only increase when she arrives at Chase’s opulent house on his private island off the South Carolina coast—an island that has more than earned its name. It seems that Chase, with his usual high-octane charm and confidence, never called the police when cyanide-laced candy nearly killed him in his New York home. Instead, he has assembled on Dead Man’s Island everyone who could have planted the lethal dose: Miranda, his lovely unstable young wife;…[more]

Book:Fair Game

Fair Game: A Jessie Drake Mystery

Rochelle Krich

“No cause for alarm”, says Detective Jessie Drake on the evening news. “Be alert and wary of unfamiliar faces, lock your doors. We have several leads..”. But as the newly appointed departmental spokesperson, Jessie knows full well that there are no leads. At least no sane leads. Just insane clues, left by a serial killer who is as playfully clever as he is cunningly dangerous. Five victims have been murdered thus far. Five different neighborhoods. The only link between them is the cause of death: each died by a lethal injection of curare. The police are stymied. Not since Spider Woman has anybody used curare, blow dart poison, as a murder weapon of choice. As the odd and mystifyingly obscure clues mount, something begins to click in Jessie’s mind. Why do some of the bodies have bank deposit slips and money attached to them while one bears a parking ticket, of all things? Jessie can’t quite put her finger on the connection. It’s something from her childhood, something so familiar….Suddenly, Jessie figures it out, and she is stunned by the killer’s twisted brilliance: the game he is playing is all too real. The gameboard is the city of Los Angeles and the winner claims his prize in blood.

Book:O Little Town of Maggody

O Little Town of Maggody: An Arly Hanks Mystery

Joan Hess

Chief of Police Arly (Ariel) Hanks is still hiding out in her hometown of Maggody, Arkansas (pop. 755), the land of moonshine and Ruby Bee’s Bar & Grill, country roads and Nashville on the radio, cheatin’ hearts and, well, maybe murder. It all starts when Matt Montana, country music’s number one superstar of the year, decides it’s a great PR move to come home to Maggody for the holidays. For a town in the grip of a recession, the news means Christmas is bringing a savior.

Mrs. Jim Bob Buchanan, the mayor’s wife, quickly sets up the Matt Montana Official Souvenir Shoppe, the amply endowed Dahlia Buchanan drives tourists around in the “Matt-mobile,” and beer costs two dollars a bottle at the Matt Montana Hometown Bar & Grill. Only one thing is missing: Aunt Adele, Matt Montana’s one and only living relative. The elderly lady has mysteriously disappeared from the local nursing home, and Arly—even with the loan of the Fayetteville’s PD’s tracking dog—can find…[more]

Book:Old Scores

Old Scores: A Chris Norgren Mystery

Aaron Elkins

The art world is abuzz with news of the discovery of an unknown Rembrandt. Rene Vachey, the famed collector who made the find, wants to donate it to the Seattle Art Museum. But curator Chris Norgren is wary—Vachey has a reputation for dealing in forgeries. But one thing about Vachey is most certainly not a fake—the bullet soon found in his head. Now Chris must find the truth behind the masterpiece and the murder before he’s painted into a corner by a master in the art of killing…

Book:Southern Discomfort

Southern Discomfort: A Deborah Knott Mystery

Margaret Maron

With sass and wit, Deborah Knott, formerly a defense attorney in North Carolina’s Colleton County, is putting herself firmly on the seat of power—a district judgeship. She’s also making good on a campaign promise: helping to build houses for battered women. Here Deborah expects muscle aches, not the near-rape of a young woman and the murder of her attacker. And she certainly never expects that her hammer—complete with her fingerprints—will be the murder weapon…

Book:To Live & Die in Dixie

To Live & Die in Dixie: A Callahan Garrity Mystery

Kathy Hogan Trocheck

From her time on the Atlanta police force, Callahan Garrity, house cleaner and private investigator extraordinaire, has excelled at mopping up messes—of all kinds. But she has no idea what she’s getting into when she agrees to work for infamous antiques dealer Elliot Littlefield.

The first day on the job she and her crew discover the bloodied body of a young woman in a bedroom—and are soon on the trail of a priceless Civil War diary stolen by the killer. As if two crimes aren’t enough, deadly serious collectors, right-wing radicals, and impulsive teenagers make the case even more difficult to tidy up…and more dangerous.

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