Annal: 1995 Agatha Award for Best First Novel

Results of the Agatha Award in the year 1995.

Book:The Body in the Transept

The Body in the Transept: A Dorothy Martin Mystery

Jeanne M. Dams

In the finest tradition of the classic British mystery, The Body in the Transept introduces a charming amateur sleuth and lover of outrageous hats, all the secrets and eccentricities of a small town, and a cast of characters whose company will be the pleasure of mystery readers everywhere. For Dorothy Martin, widowed American removed to the England she so loves, the Christmas service is painful enough. It is her first holiday without Frank. And stumbling over the body of Canon Billings does nothing to improve her mood. Of course, she does get to meet Chief Constable Alan Nesbitt, and a good mystery on a chilly English night does have some appeal…

Book:Death in Bloodhound Red

Death in Bloodhound Red

Virginia Lanier

Jo Beth Siddon is a bloodhound trainer with a special talent for harrowing search-and-rescue missions, and a bad habit for mouthing off to deputies who refuse to take orders from a woman.She has seen her share of trouble: moonshiners poking guns at her head, crooked cops, and an abusive ex-husband with a terrible temper. Then she’s suspected of murder and finds herself treading a quagmire as thick and treacherous as the Okefenokee Swamp. If she can’t prove her innocence, she might lose not only the thriving business she loves, but the freedom and independence she’s fought for all her life.

Book:A Far and Deadly Cry

A Far and Deadly Cry

Teri Holbrook

The crime scene showed that a  cunning mind and a passionate hatred lay behind  the killing of Lisa Stillwell. But New Scotland Yard  would not have been called to this remote  Hampshire village if the baby-sitter’s employer hadn’t  been Gale Grayson, a self-exiled American with a  suspicious past. Three years before, Chief Inspector  Daniel Halford had watched helplessly as Gale’s  husband put a gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger  —seconds before Halford could arrest him for  terrorism. Halford has never forgotten the scene or  the pregnant young widow whose life was shattered  —and as he questions her now, he finds past and  present emotions blurring his judgment. Yet piece  by piece he is discovering some unsettling truths  about the life of Lisa Stillwell…and a chilling  picture is forming of a village that is not quite  as sleepy as it seems.

Book:Horse of a Different Killer

Horse of a Different Killer: A Mystery Novel

Jody Jaffe

When a quarter-million-dollar show horse and a top trainer are found brutally murdered side by side, Natalie Gold, a reporter for the Charlotte Commercial Appeal, seizes the chance to get off the fashion beat she so detests. Though Henry Goode is the paper’s star investigative reporter, it’s Nattie who knows the rich, competitive, and devious world of the show horse circuit. After all, she scrimped and saved to buy her own hunter, Brenda Starr. Moving between the emerald green paddocks of the Southern gentry and the raunchy newsroom of Charlotte’s bustling daily, Nattie (a Yankee from Philadelphia) has gotten a crash course in the manners and morals of old Carolina society. She’s discovered the dirty little secrets of families who mingle with the super-rich but are not above partaking in dark, shameful scams. She knows that Wally Hempstead, the stiff in the stable, was not only a talented trainer, but also an A-one cheat, skilled in blackmail and extortion. And she knows at least a dozen people who wanted to see Wally very dead, including her best friend Gail. The question is—which one of them actually did it?

Book:Murder In Scorpio

Murder In Scorpio: An Elizabeth Chase Mystery

Martha C. Lawrence

She’s a California P.I. with something extra-an instinct for trouble and a special sense of danger.

Elizabeth Chase is used to funny looks and disbelief when she tells people she uses the paranormal and astrology to help her investigations. But when Sergeant Tom McGowan of the Escondido Police Department needs help in exploring the not-so-accidental death of an old friend, he turns to her.

Instantly, Elizabeth is absorbed by the case, and searches the stars and her sensitive psyche for answers. Janic Freeman, the dead woman, had a lot of friends, but as Elizabeth scans the artifacts of Janice’s life and meets the people she know, she begins to pick up a few unpleasant auras that have the unmistakable color of evil. Trying to pin down Janice’s last fateful day of life, Elizabeth charts her final moves-and follows the celestial signs to cold-blooded murder.

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