Annal: 2006 Agatha Award for Best First Novel

Results of the Agatha Award in the year 2006.

Book:The Heat of the Moon

The Heat of the Moon

Sandra Parshall

Young veterinarian Rachel Goddard’s world begins to crumble when a client rushes into the animal hospital with a basset hound struck by a car during a thunderstorm. The dog owner’s terrified tot, drenched with rain, loses sight of her mother in the flurry of activity and screams, “Mommy! I want Mommy!” Instantly Rachel is hurled back in time to a day in her own childhood when her baby sister Michelle uttered the same cry while thunder crashed and rain poured down on them. The unearthed memory feels like a fragment from a nightmare, and Rachel doesn’t understand its meaning or the anguish it stirs up in her.

When she seeks answers she learns nothing from Michelle or from Judith, their loving but manipulative mother. Judith is a psychologist who is only too happy to have her adult daughters still living in her elegant Tudor house outside Washington, DC. But their apparently serene home is a house of secrets where Judith’s unspoken rules forbid questions about the family history…[more]

Book:The Chef Who Died Sautéing

The Chef Who Died Sautéing

Honora Finkelstein, Susan Smily

The Chef Who Died Sautéing is the first mystery in a series featuring Ariel Quigley, a young English professor who is also an Army veteran, a poet, and a psychic detective who reads Tarot cards and talks to ghosts. Ariel has just moved in with her friend Bernice Wise, a psychotherapist with a large Colonial house in Alexandria, Virginia, college-age twins—and a resident ghost from the pre-Civil War era. Ariel not only begins experiencing ghostly apparitions, but a murder at a famous restaurant nearby throws Ariel into a search for a killer.

Book:Consigned to Death

Consigned to Death: A Josie Prescott Antiques Mystery

Jane K. Cleland

Josie Prescott’s friends thought she was nuts when she left her high-paying New York auction house job and her boyfriend to live on the rugged and beautiful New Hampshire coast. Truth is, Josie wondered a little herself—never mind that her peripheral involvement in a well-publicized price-fixing scandal made the possibility of a new start incredibly enticing.

Things are looking better, though, now that she’s got her own auction business up and running and has made something of a success of her new life. That is, until she gets mixed up in murder, and the supremely eligible but emotionally distant local police chief seems to think she’s the prime suspect.

Josie has suddenly got a lot to lose and no desire to leave her new life—or the possibility of a little romance—behind. So she sets her mind on identifying the killer and making the best out of her unfortunate circumstances. After all, Josie is grateful for her second chance in life and knows a third is just too much to ask…especially with a vicious killer on the loose.

Book:Feint of Art

Feint of Art: An Annie Kincaid Mystery

Hailey Lind

The first in a new mystery series starring art-forger-Gone-good Annie Kincaid.

Annie breaks the news to her curator ex-boyfriend Ernst: his museum’s new $15 million Caravaggio is a fake. Then the janitor is killed, Ernst disappears, and a dealer makes off with several Old Master drawings. If she breaks the case using her old connections, Annie can finally pay the rent. But doing so could also draw her back into the underworld of forgers she swore she’d left behind.

Book:Murder on the Rocks

Murder on the Rocks: A Gray Whale Inn Mystery

Karen MacInerney

Trading Texas heat for Maine’s tangy salt air, Natalie Barnes risked it all to buy the Gray Whale Inn, a quaint bed and breakfast on Cranberry Island. She adores whipping up her signature blueberry coffee cake and killer cranberry scones for her guests. But when her guests start turning up dead, the police and most of the townspeople think Natalie has added murder to the mix.

Now, Natalie must get cooking to solve the mystery and find the true killer before she loses the Gray Whale Inn. Or her life…

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