Annal: 2004 Macavity Award for Best First Mystery Novel

Results of the Macavity Award in the year 2004.

Book:Maisie Dobbs

Maisie Dobbs

Jacqueline Winspear

What do Hercule Poirot and Charlotte Gray have in common? It may be the wonderful Maisie Dobbs. Lady Rowan Compton first met Maisie when, at thirteen, she went into service as a maid at her ladyship’s Belgravia mansion. A suffragette, Lady Rowan took the remarkably smart youngster under her wing and became her patron. She encouraged Maisie to study at Cambridge, and was aided in this by Maurice Blanche, a friend often retained as an investigator by the elite of Europe when discretion and results were required. It was he who first recognized Maisie’s intuitive gifts. The outbreak of war changed everything. Maisie left for France to train as a nurse, then served at the front, where she fell in love with a handsome young doctor. After the Armistice, in the spring of 1929, Maisie hangs out her shingle: M. Dobbs, Trade and Personal Investigations. Her very first case involves suspected infidelity but turns up something else, a tombstone with only a first name—Vincent. And then she finds another. The deceased…[more]

Book:The Bridge of Sighs

The Bridge of Sighs: A Novel

Olen Steinhauer

It’s August, 1948, three years after the Russians “liberated” the nation from German Occupation. But the Red Army still patrols the capital’s rubble-strewn streets, and the ideals of the Revolution are but memories. Twenty-two-year-old Detective Emil Brod finally gets his chance to serve his country, investigating murder for the People’s Militia.

The first victim is a state songwriter, but the facts point to a political motive. Emil would like to investigate further, but his colleagues in Homicide are suspicious or silent: He is on his own in this new, dangerous world.

The Bridge of Sighs launches a unique series of crime novels featuring a cast of characters in an ever-evolving landscape, the politically volatile terrain of Eastern Europe in the second half of the 20th century.

Book:Death of a Nationalist

Death of a Nationalist

Rebecca Pawel

Madrid 1938. Carlos Tejada Alonso y Leon is a Sergeant in the Guardia Civil, a rank rare for a man not yet thirty, but Tejada is an unusual recruit. The bitter civil war between the Nationalists and the Republicans has interrupted his legal studies in Salamanca. Second son of a conservative Southern family of landowners, he is an enthusiast for the Catholic Franquista cause, a dedicated, and now triumphant, Nationalist.

This war has drawn international attention. In a dress rehearsal for World War II, fascists support the Nationalists, while Communists have come to the aid of the Republicans. Atrocities have devastated both sides. It is at this moment, when the Republicans have surrendered, and the Guardia Civil has begun to impose order in the ruins of Madrid, that Tejada finds the body of his best friend, a hero of the siege of Toledo, shot to death on a street named Amor de Dios. Naturally, a Red is suspected. And it is easy for Tejada to assume that the woman wearing a red scarf, caught kneeling over the body, is the killer. But when his doubts are aroused, he cannot help seeking justice.

Book:The Night of the Dance

The Night of the Dance: A Mystery

James Hime

Sissy Fletcher, the preacher’s daughter, disappeared on the night of the Rodeo Dance ten years ago and has been missing ever since. Until now, that is—a team drilling an oil well has made a grisly discovery in an isolated pasture. Seeing as how it’s an election year, finding her killer is a bigger priority than it might usually be in sleepy Washington County, Texas, where not much ever happens anyway.

Though it’s becoming clear that the town isn’t quite as sleepy as it seems. Martin Fletcher, Sissy’s brother, seems to believe he’s on a mission from God to raise hell in Washington County. He and his partner, Dud Hughes, aim to start small, with armed robbery, and work their way up to bigger things, but an inquiry into his sister’s death threatens to draw a little more attention his way than he wants just now. …[more]

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