Annal: 1997 Barry Award for Best Novel

Results of the Barry Award in the year 1997.

Book:Bloodhounds

Bloodhounds: A Peter Diamond Mystery

Peter Lovesey

Head of the Bath murder squad, Peter Diamond isn’t exactly up to his elbows in bodies in the placid resort. He’s bored, a bit testy, and ready for an old-fashioned mystery. Alas, when one does come along it’s not in his division; it’s a half-million-dollar heist by a thief who first has sent a rhyming riddle to all the local radio stations. Diamond is ready to throw his weight around to help solve the robbery, but before he can step on any toes, a body turns up and the corpse is in his court.

There’s only one catch. It’s impossible for anyone to have committed the crime. The victim belongs to an elite group of mystery lovers called the Bloodhounds. The body is inside a padlocked houseboat, and the only key is in the pocket of a man with an ironclad alibi. The murderer cannot logically have left the scene, yet the victim is definitely not a suicide. Has one of the other Bloodhounds decided to commit the perfect crime? Was the heist and its verse a red herring, part of a labyrinthine plot by a twisted mind?

Book:The Chatham School Affair

The Chatham School Affair

Thomas H. Cook

Attorney Henry Griswald has a secret: the truth behind the tragic events the world knew as the Chatham School Affair, the controversial tragedy that destroyed five lives, shattered a quiet community, and forever scarred the young boy. Layer by layer, in The Chatham School Affair, Cook paints a stunning portrait of a woman, a school, and a town in which passionate violence seems impossible…and inevitable. “Thomas Cook’s night visions, seen through a lens darkly, are haunting,” raved the New York Times Book Review, and The Chatham School Affair will cement this superb writer’s position as one of crime fiction’s most prodigious talents, a master of the unexpected ending.

Book:Dance for the Dead

Dance for the Dead: A Jane Whitfield Novel

Thomas Perry

When eight-year-old Timothy Decker finds his parents brutally murdered, it’s clear the Deckers weren’t the intended victims: Timothy’s own room—ransacked, all traces of his existence expertly obliterated—is the shocking evidence. Timothy’s nanny, Mona, is certain about only one thing. Timmy needs to disappear, fast.

Only Jane Whitefield, a Native American “guide” who specializes in making victims vanish, can lead him to safety. But diverting Jane’s attention is Mary Perkins, a desperate woman with S&L fraud in her past. Stalking Mary is a ruthless predator determined to find her—and the fortune she claims she doesn’t have. Jane quickly creates a new life for Mary and jumps back on Timmy’s case…not knowing that the two are fatefully linked to one calculating killer….

Book:Hearts and Bones

Hearts and Bones

Margaret Lawrence

Independent Hannah Trevor is a midwife in the small Maine town of Rufford several years after the end of the Revolutionary War. In the dead of a particularly brutal winter, an horrific act—the rape and murder of a young wife—draws Hannah into the constabulary’s investigation and threatens to destroy everything she holds dear. Now an honorable man has been accused of the crime—Hannah’s former lover, the father of her illegitimate daughter.

Book:Speak No Evil

Speak No Evil

Rochelle Krich

Murder is always heinous, but when two Los Angeles women attorneys are found dead with their tongues cut out, it’s downright gruesome. And for criminal defense attorney Debra Laslow the killings are even more horrifying…because she’s suspected of doing them. The daughter of an Orthodox rabbi, Debra treads a fine line between her moral beliefs and the dictates of the law. Often she consults with her father about any possible conflicts between her job and her religion, and the Talmud usually provides an interesting, if not always easy, answer. Now Debra’s defending a doctor accused of date rape by his receptionist. Although Debra believes the doctor’s innocent, the young woman she will cross-examine—and possibly humiliate in open court—belongs to her close-knit Orthodox community. She may even ruin the woman’s chances of marriage. And if the doctor is guilty and Debra wins the case, she’ll be responsible for an even crueler injustice.

Book:The Wood Beyond

The Wood Beyond: A Dalziel and Pascoe Mystery

Reginald Hill

Inspector Peter Pascoe is busy eulogizing his recently deceased grandmother when Detective Superintendent Andrew Dalziel is called up to Wanwood House, the research headquarters of ALBA Pharmaceuticals, to investigate human remains unearthed by a pack of animal rights activists. The ANIMA members and their wire-cutter-brandishing leader have already been connected to several pharmaceutical lab raids, including one that left a security officer dead. No one, however, has been able to conclusively tie them to the crime.

Irresistible impulse leads Dalziel to accept an invitation to the home of ANIMA’s formidable chief, Cap Marvell, as celebrated for her heroic chest as she is for her rampaging zest. It’s lunchtime when the Fat Man arrives, with time aplenty to endure a tofu entree and savor carnal desserts. As Pascoe receives his grandmother’s postmortem confessional, he’s plunged into…[more]

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