Annal: 1997 Agatha Award for Best Novel

Results of the Agatha Award in the year 1997.

Book:The Devil in Music

The Devil in Music

Kate Ross

With flawless period detail and a dapper English detective reminiscent of Lord Peter Wimsey, Kate Ross is charming fans of Anne Perry and Elizabeth George—and earning a loyal following of mystery readers eager to accompany Julian Kestrel from adventure to satisfying adventure.

Traveling on the Continent with his ex-pickpocket valet, Kestrel finds himself caught up in the mysterious and murderous world of the opera. Four years ago, the Italian marquis Ludovico Malvezzi was murdered, and Orfeo, the young English tenor he had been training for a career on the glittering operatic stage, disappeared. As Kestral is irresistibly drawn into the baffling case, he encounters suspects at every turn: a runaway wife and her male soprano lover; a liberal nobleman at odds with Italy’s Austrian overlords; a mocking Frenchman with perfect pitch; a beautiful, clever widow who haunts Kestrel’s dreams; and the missing Orfeo, the penniless protg who just might be a political agent. And when the killer strikes again, Kestrel’s quest for answers spirals into a crescendo of passion, danger, and music as he risks becoming a ruthless murderer’s next victim.

Book:Dreaming of the Bones

Dreaming of the Bones

Deborah Crombie

After twelve years, the last person Scotland Yard Superintendent Duncan Kincaid expects to hear from is his ex-wife Victoria. But this is no social call. In her biographical research on troubled poet Lydia Brooke, Vic’s uncovered reasons to believe Lydia’s death five years ago was not suicide.

Much to Kincaid’s surprise—and the unease of his partner and lover, Sergeant Gemma James—he finds he can’t refuse Vic’s request to look into the long-closed case. The police report raises questions, but not enough to reopen the investigation—until a second death occurs, this one clearly murder.

Now Duncan and Gemma must sift through a tangle of relationships, secrets, and lies to find not just a killer, but a secret which will change their own lives forever.

Book:Goose in the Pond

Goose in the Pond: A Benni Harper Mystery

Earlene Fowler

After spending time—and solving a murder—in Wichita, Kansas, Benni and her new husband Gabe Ortiz are back in San Celina, California. While Benni is jogging in the park next to the library, she happens upon the dead body of a library storyteller. It is a disturbing scene—the woman is still dressed in her Mother Goose costume, lying facedown in the lake. When Benni discovers that some people in the Storyteller’s Guild may have wanted the woman dead, she can’t help investigating. And as Benni sets out to solve a murder, Gabe tries to stop one. Because his surf bum son is back in town—and he’s driving everyone crazy!

Book:Hocus

Hocus: An Irene Kelly Mystery

Jan Burke

Sometimes, things at Irene Kelly and Frank Harriman’s house get tense. She’s a tough investigative reporter in southern California and he’s a no-nonsence city detective who likes to hear the bad news first. But their personal and professional lives merge in the fast lane when Frank is kidnapped by Hocus, an unpredictable group of merry pranksters whose tricks turn dirty. Irene is given three days to give them what they want in exchange for her husband or he dies.

While Hocus sends Irene on one wild goose chase after another for clues about its identity and mission, precious minutes and hours tick by and Frank is nowhere to be found. Then Irene takes matters into her own hands, leaving the police stumbling for a solution, and catapulting herself directly into the line of fire of two madmen with long-held grudges and two ripe victims ready to take the fall.

Book:Seeing a Large Cat

Seeing a Large Cat: An Amelia Peabody Mystery

Elizabeth Peters

“Stay away from tomb Twenty-A!” says an ominous message delivered by an unseen hand. The year is 1903, the place is Cairo, and with the new century, everything is changing for Amelia Peabody—except her affinity for danger.

Headed for an archaeological dig in the awesome Valley of the Kings, she hopes the desert will yield up its secrets. Instead it will produce a macabre puzzle of murder, passion, and cruel deceit. Besides the warning about the tomb—which only makes it more intriguing to Amelia and her sexy if irascible husband, Emerson—Amelia finds Egypt spinning with demands that join like the threads of her destiny. A request for help comes from an old friend whose husband has fallen for a spiritualist…a plea arrives from an expatriate Civil War colonel with a pretty daughter threatened by an unknown enemy…and a special headache is bestowed by her son Ramses, grown from a precocious child to a teenager, who strikes out with his cousin David and Amelia’s beautiful…[more]

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