Annal: 1999 Shamus Award for Best Paperback Original P.I. Novel

Results of the Shamus Award in the year 1999.

Book:Murder Manual

Murder Manual

Steven Womack

All I really need to know about murder, I learned in Nashville…

The bestselling toast of Tennessee, author Robert Jefferson Reed has made big bucks with his little book of folksy homilies like “Never go to bed angry” and “Eat your vegetables.” He should have included “Don’t commit murder.” For when Reed’s wife hires P.I. Harry James Denton to catch her hubby in a tryst with a sexy secretary, Harry finds the author of Life’s Little Maintenance Manual strangled and drowned in his own hot tub.

Caught at the scene of the crime, Harry is pegged as the prime suspect and must work double duty to avoid the specter of prison—and to pluck a murderer out of a dead man’s tangled past….

Book:Butchers Hill

Butchers Hill: A Tess Monaghan Mystery

Laura Lippman

Tess Monaghan has finally made the move and hung out her shingle as a p.i.-for-hire, complete with an office in Butchers Hill. Maybe it’s not the best address in Baltimore, but you gotta start somewhere, and Tess’s greyhound Esskay has no trouble taking marathon naps anywhere there’s a roof. Then in walks Luther Beale, the notorious vigilante who five years ago shot a boy for vandalizing his car. Just out of prison, he says he wants to make reparations to the kids who witnessed his crime, so he needs Tess to find them. But once she starts snooping, the witnesses start dying. Is the “Butcher of Butchers Hill” at it again? Like it or not, Tess is embroiled in a case that encompasses the powers that-be, a heartless system that has destroyed the lives of children, and a nasty trail of money and lies leading all the way back to Butchers Hill.

Book:Death in a City of Mystics

Death in a City of Mystics

Janice Steinberg

When Margo Simon gets word of her mother’s accident, she catches the next flight to Tel Aviv. Her concern deepends when she reaches Safed, where her mother, Alice, has been living while studying Kabbalah. What Margo thought had been a simple mishap is actually much more—Alice’s dangerous fall was caused by a reaction to a poisonous herb. Everyone, including Alice’s guru, Batsheva, seems to think that Alice had carelessly mixed the her into her tea. But Margo knows better. Which brings up a frightening question—was someone deliberately trying to harm her mother? Then, when Batsheva’s body is found several days later, Margo knows for sure that what is happenimg in this city of mystics is no accident….

Book:Too Easy

Too Easy: A Flap Tucker Mystery

Phillip Depoy

From the neon of Atlanta to the Georgia seacoast, he’s searching for a killer, a motive…and his past.

On the marshy shores of the Georgia coast, the locals tell a story: of a woman who appeared from the sea, and of two gentle twin brothers who would do anything for her. But now a man is dead, the twins are missing, and only a meditating private eye from Atlanta can unravel the truth….

His name is Flap Tucker. A man with a gift for visualization and the courage to go where his mind leads him, Flap has been hired by the beautiful nightclub owner Dalliance Oglethorpe to go deep into rural Georgia, where a banker has been murdered. The man’s wife—a woman so shrouded in mystery that some believe she is a spirit—and a pair of twin brothers named Peachy and Maytag are wanted in the crime.

Entering a world of gnarled kinships, family secrets, and dirty money, Flap stumbles upon yet another murder. And now the Zen private eye is pursuing a story stranger than fiction, a killer closer than he thinks, and some dangerous ghosts of his own.

Book:The Widower's Two-Step

The Widower's Two-Step

Rick Riordan

Tres Navarre has just hours of apprenticeship time to serve before he can go for his P.I. license. Staking out a musician suspected of stealing a demo tape should be a piece of pan dulce. But his attention wanders just long enough for fiddle player Julie Kearnes to be gunned down before his eyes. He should just back away and let the cops investigate, but backing away has never been Tres’s strong point.

The missing demo and Julie’s murder are just two of the problems besetting Miranda Daniels, a pint-sized singer with Texas-sized talent. She’s the prize in a tug-of-war between two music hotshots who want to manage her career. One has a habit of making bad things happen to people he doesn’t like. The other has just vanished without a trace. As Tres looks into the dirty dealings surrounding Miranda, it becomes clear he’s stepped into a rattlesnakes’ nest of greed, double cross, and murder—and he may be the next to be snakebit.

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