Annal: 2004 Agatha Award for Best Novel

Results of the Agatha Award in the year 2004.

Book:Birds of a Feather

Birds of a Feather: A Maisie Dobbs Novel

Jacqueline Winspear

Maisie Dobbs is back and this time she has been hired to find a wealthy grocery magnate’s daughter who has fled from home. What seems a simple case at first becomes complicated when Maisie learns of the recent violent deaths of three of the heiress’s old friends. Is there a connection between her mysterious disappearance and the murders? Who would kill such charming young women? As Maisie investigates, she discovers that the answers to all her questions lie in the unforgettable agony of The Great War.

Jacqueline Winspear was born and raised in England and later worked in publishing and as a marketing communications consultant in the U.K. before emigrating to the United States. She now lives in California and is a regular visitor to the United Kingdom. Birds of a Feather is her second novel featuring Maisie Dobbs.

Book:By a Spider's Thread

By a Spider's Thread

Laura Lippman

The winner of every major literary award in crime fiction, Laura Lippman brings back her complex and vulnerably human Baltimore P.I., Tess Monaghan, in a tense, expertly spun tale of a family torn asunder by forces it can barely comprehend.

Mark Rubin’s family is missing—and the police can’t do a thing because all the evidence indicates that his wife left willingly. So the successful furrier turns to Tess Monaghan, hoping she can help him find his wife and three children. Tess doesn’t know quite what to make of Rubin, a wealthy Orthodox Jew who refuses to shake her hand and doles out vitally important information in grudging dribs and drabs. According to her client, he and his beautiful wife, Natalie, had a flawless, happy marriage. Yet one day, without any warning or explanation, Natalie gathered up their children and vanished.

Tapping into a network of fellow investigators spread across the country, Tess is soon able to locate the runaway wife…[more]

Book:High Country Fall

High Country Fall: A Deborah Knott Mystery

Margaret Maron

Judge Deborah Knott has agreed to “tie the knot” with childhood friend Deputy Sheriff Dwight Bryant, and her numerous relatives are acting as if it’s the love match of the century. It’s not, and suddenly Deborah’s wondering whether friendship, mutual history, and good sex are enough to make a marriage. Her antidote for cold feet? She’s heading for the hills.

When asked to fill in for a vacationing judge in Cedar Gap, a five-hour drive from her flatland home, Deborah readily agrees. It’s the perfect place to clear her head with its fresh mountain air, gorgeous fall foliage, and tourists thicker than fleas on a blue tick hound.

But a prominent Cedar Gap doctor has been brutally murdered and Judge Knott arrives in time to hear the probable cause case against the young man who’s been arrested. With enough evidence to go to trial, Deborah rules that the case can go forward…despite…[more]

Book:The Pearl Diver

The Pearl Diver

Sujata Massey

A dazzling engagement ring and the promise of a fresh start in a new country bring antiques dealer and sometime-sleuth Rei Shimura to Washington, D.C. But while she tries to play catch-up with her beautiful, politically connected cousin, Kendall, and is commissioned to furnish a chic Japanese-fusion restaurant, things start to go haywire. First, Kendall vanishes from the restaurant’s opening-night party, and then Rei is drafted to help Andrea, the restaurant’s elegant, cagey hostess, investigate the disappearance of her own Japanese mother thirty years earlier.

As the strands of these puzzles begin to come together, Rei finds that her relationship with her fiancé, Hugh, has changed from sizzle to burn. At the same time, she faces troubling questions about what it means to be a loving mother—and whether her own independent streak will endanger the women to whom she has grown close. …[more]

Book:We'll Always Have Parrots

We'll Always Have Parrots: A Meg Lanslow Mystery

Donna Andrews

Meg Langslow knew the fan convention for her actor-boyfriend’s hit television series was going to be the ultimate in weird. But she came along because she figured Michael could use an occasional dose of sanity-and because it was an inspired place to sell her hand-crafted weapons. And so far, she was dealing pretty well with the costumed fans camped outside, the batch of escaped parrots and monkeys frolicking throughout the hotel…and the minefield of egos lurking behind the show’s success.

But soon after Meg goes head-to-head with egomaniacal series star Tamerlaine Wynncliffe-Jones, the “Queen B” turns up brutally murdered. Now, with Michael in the running as prime suspect, Meg will go up against an all-star cast of not-even-innocent parties, hidden identities, and buried motives. And she’ll cross swords with a deviously obsessed murderer determined to write her out of this picture for good.

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