Annal: 1994 Agatha Award for Best First Novel

Results of the Agatha Award in the year 1994.

Book:Do Unto Others

Do Unto Others: A Jordan Poteet Mystery

Jeff Abbott

Jordan Poteet has left the big city to work as a librarian in his hometown of Mirabeau, Texas. But his dream of the quiet life is shattered when he locks horns with Miss Beta Harcher, the town’s prize religious fanatic, in a battle over censorship. When Jordan finds her murdered body in the library, he becomes the prime suspect. And when the police find a cryptic list stashed next to her fanatical heart, it seems as if Beta Harcher has the whole town in a death grip…

Book:Fool's Puzzle

Fool's Puzzle

Earlene Fowler

Meet Benni Harper…a spirited ex-cowgirl, quilter, and folk-art expert who’s staking out her own corner of the contemporary American West. She’s got an eye for murderous designs—and a talent for piecing together the most complex and cold-blooded crimes…

Leaving behind memories of her late husband, Benni’s making a fresh start…Moving to the trendy California town of San Celina, she takes an exciting new job as director of a folk-art museum. While setting up an exhibit of handmade quilts, she stumbles upon the body of a brutally stabbed artist—and hopes to conduct an investigation of her own. She crosses paths with the local police chief, who thinks this short and sassy cowgirl should leave detecting to the cops and join him for dinner. But it’s hard to keep a country girl down, and soon Benni uncovers an alarming pattern of family secrets, small-town lies—and the shocking truth about the night her husband died…

Book:One for the Money

One for the Money: A Stephanie Plum Novel

Janet Evanovich

Watch out, world. Here comes Stephanie Plum, a bounty hunter with attitude. In Stephanie’s opinion, toxic waste, rabid drivers, armed schizophrenics, and August heat, humidity, and hydrocarbons are all part of the great adventure of living in Jersey. She’s a product of the “burg,” a blue-collar pocket of Trenton where houses are attached and narrow, cars are American, windows are clean, and (God forbid you should be late) dinner is served at six. Now Stephanie’s all grown up and out on her own, living five miles from Mom and Dad’s, doing her best to sever the world’s longest umbilical cord. Her mother is a meddler, and her grandmother is a few cans short of a case.

Out of work and out of money, with her Miata repossessed and her refrigerator empty, Stephanie blackmails her bail bondsman cousin, Vinnie, into giving her a try as an apprehension agent. Stephanie knows zilch about the job requirements, but she figures…[more]

Book:Until Death

Until Death

Polly Whitney

Connie Candela’s murder is truly shocking. Though the autopsy ruled that the young anchorwoman of “Morning Watch” was drowned, she was found seated at her desk, impeccably dressed. Amateur sleuths Abby and Ike are horrified and intrigued by the case, but can the divorced couple stop arguing long enough to catch the killer.

Book:Writers of the Purple Sage

Writers of the Purple Sage

Barbara Burnett Smith

Judge Volney Osler was a respected, well-liked resident of Purple Sage, Texas—or at least that’s what most people thought, right up to the day he was murdered. Unfortunately for aspiring writer Jolie Wyatt, the murder was an exact copy of one she had outlined in her novel-in-progress. And who should have fought with the judge right in the middle of town the day before but Jolie? Eager to deflect suspicion from herself, Jolie, a relative newcomer to the small town, begins to investigate, focusing reluctantly on the members of her writing group and the assistant chief of police, all of whom had access to her manuscript and knew about her unusual murder method. In the meantime, she still has to contend with a typically contrary teenaged son, her continuing job search, and confusion over her relationship with her ex-husband, rancher Matt Wyatt. A small town keeps its secrets close, but Jolie perseveres in digging, only to discover more than a few people with reason to kill the judge—and maybe herself as well.

With humor and flair, first-time novelist Barbara Burnett Smith has introduced an engaging new sleuth, and readers will applaud the appearance of smart, sassy Jolie Wyatt.

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