Annal: 2006 Agatha Award for Best Novel

Results of the Agatha Award in the year 2006.

Book:The Virgin of Small Plains

The Virgin of Small Plains: A Novel of Suspense

Nancy Pickard

Small Plains, Kansas, January 23, 1987: In the midst of a deadly blizzard, eighteen-year-old Rex Shellenberger makes a shocking discovery: the naked, frozen body of a teenage girl. Even dead, she is the most beautiful girl he’s ever seen. In the two decades following her death, strange miracles visit those who faithfully tend to her grave.

Seventeen years later, three families and three friends, their worlds inexorably altered in the course of one night, must confront the ever-unfolding consequences. Wonderfully written and utterly absorbing, The Virgin of Small Plains is about the loss of faith, trust, and innocence…and the possibility of redemption.

Book:All Mortal Flesh

All Mortal Flesh: A Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne Mystery

Julia Spencer-Fleming

Police Chief Russ Van Alstyne’s first encounter with Clare Fergusson was in the hospital emergency room on a freezing December night. A newborn infant had been abandoned on the town’s Episcopal church steps. If Russ had known that the church had a new priest, he certainly would never have guessed that it would be a woman. Not a woman like Clare. That night in the hospital was the beginning of an attraction so fierce, so forbidden, that the only thing that could keep them safe from compromising their every belief was distance—but in a small town like Millers Kill, distance is hard to find.

Russ Van Alstyne figures his wife kicking him out of their house is nobody’s business but his own. Until a neighbor pays a friendly visit to Linda Van Alstyne—and finds the woman’s body, gruesomely butchered, on the kitchen floor. To the state police, it’s an open-and-shut case of a disaffected husband, silencing first his wife, then the murder investigation he controls.…[more]

Book:Messenger of Truth

Messenger of Truth: A Maisie Dobbs Novel

Jacqueline Winspear

Maisie Dobbs investigates the mysterious death of a controversial artist—and World War I veteran—in the fourth entry in the bestselling series.

London, 1931. The night before an exhibition of his artwork opens at a famed Mayfair gallery, the controversial artist Nick Bassington-Hope falls to his death. The police rule it an accident, but Nick’s twin sister, Georgina, a wartime journalist and a infamous figure in her own right, isn’t convinced.

When the authorities refuse to consider her theory that Nick was murdered, Georgina seeks out a fellow graduate from Girton College, Maisie Dobbs, psychologist and investigator, for help. Nick was a veteran of World War I, and before long the case leads Maisie to the desolate beaches of Dungeness in Kent, and into the sinister underbelly of the city’s art world. …[more]

Book:The Saddlemaker's Wife

The Saddlemaker's Wife

Earlene Fowler

After the death of her husband Cole, Ruby McGavin is shocked to learn that she’s inherited part of a cattle ranch in Tokopah County, California. But she’s even more surprised to find out that the family he claimed died years ago is very much alive.

Ruby arrives in town intent on simply selling her part of the ranch to the McGavins. But as she comes to know them-in particular the handsome saddlemaker Lucas McGavin-Ruby learns family secrets about her departed husband and his family that make her wonder if she ever really knew Cole.Driven to uncover the whole story, Ruby discovers a legacy of pain and denial.

Book:Why Casey Had to Die

Why Casey Had to Die: A Harry Bronson Mystery

L.C. Hayden

"A retired cop, a cold case, and murder at a convention honoring Dorothy L. Sayers. Entertainment guaranteed. What more could a mystery fan ask for?" —Bill Crider

Casey Secrist, a college student, is murdered. Her boyfriend is found guilty. Twenty years later, Detective Harry Bronson, who originally worked on the case, once again becomes involved. It begins when Bronson is hired to be a consultant for a mystery convention in Arizona. The attendees are supposed to solve a make-believe murder. Much to Bronson's surprise, the fictitious murder parallels Casey's death. Bronson investigates who perpetrated the charade and why. In so doing, he confronts the conference organizer, L'ee (pronounced el-ee) Chalmers who has no idea what's going on. Bronson's investigation leads him to Tom and Marie O'Day who seem to know more than they're saying. There's also the mysterious strangers Trent Powers and Norman Childes. Another suspect, Katherine Shepard, stirs trouble and someone named Sam stalks Bronson. When Trent Powers turns up dead, Bronson knows that someone is willing to kill again to keep the past hidden.

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