Annal: 2006 Macavity Award for Best Nonfiction

Results of the Macavity Award in the year 2006.

Book:Girl Sleuth

Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her

Melanie Rehak

A plucky “titian-haired” sleuth solved her first mystery in 1930. Eighty million books later, Nancy Drew has survived the Depression, World War II, and the sixties (when she was taken up with a vengeance by women’s libbers) to enter the pantheon of American girlhood. As beloved by girls today as she was by their grandmothers, Nancy Drew has both inspired and reflected the changes in her readers’ lives. Now, in a narrative with all the vivid energy and page-turning pace of Nancy’s adventures, Melanie Rehak solves an enduring literary mystery:

Who created Nancy Drew? And how did she go from pulp heroine to icon?

The brainchild of children’s book mogul Edward Stratemeyer, Nancy was brought to life by two women: Mildred Wirt Benson, a pioneering journalist from Iowa, and Harriet Stratemeyer Adams, a well-bred wife and mother who took over as CEO after her father died. In a century-spanning story Rehak traces their roles—and Nancy’s—in forging the modern American woman. With ebullience, wit, and a wealth of little-known source material, Rehak celebrates our unstoppable girl detective.

Book:Behind the Mystery

Behind the Mystery: Top Mystery Writers Interviewed

Stuart M. Kaminsky, Laurie Roberts

Edgar award winner and past President of the Mystery Writers of America Stuart Kaminsky brings mystery fans into the living rooms, offices, and gardens of his talented friends and fellow writers in this tribute to the mystery genre. Professional photographer Laurie Roberts captures the writers, their families, homes, and pets while Kaminsky probes into their personal lives and writing to go “behind the mystery” to meet the writer. Many of the best are included: Sue Grafton, Elmore Leonard, Donald Westlake, Jonathan and Faye Kellerman, Martin Cruz Smith, Robert B. Parker, Lisa Scottoline, James Lee Burke, Tony Hillerman, Ann Rule, Mickey Spillane, Michael Connelly, Evan Hunter, Sara Paretsky, Joseph Wambaugh, Lawrence Block, and John Jakes.

Book:The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes: Vol 3. The Novels

The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes: Vol 3. The Novels

Leslie S. Klinger, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The publication of Leslie S. Klinger’s brilliant new annotations of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s 56 short stories in 2004 created a Holmes sensation. Here, in this eagerly awaited third volume, Klinger reassembles Doyle’s four seminal novels in their original order, with over 1,000 new notes, 350 illustrations and period photographs, and tantalizing new Sherlockian theories. Inside, readers will find:

  • A Study in Scarlet (1887)—a tale of murder and revenge that tells of Holmes and Dr. Watson’s first meeting;
  • The Sign of Four (1889)—a cinematic tale of lost treasure;
  • The Hound of the Baskervilles (1901)—hailed as the greatest mystery novel of all time; and
  • The Valley of Fear (1914)—a fresh murder scene that leads Holmes to solve a long-forgotten mystery.

Whether as a stand-alone volume or as a companion to the boxed short stories, this classic work illuminates the timeless genius of Conan Doyle for an entirely new generation. Slipcased hardcover; two-color text; 300 illustrations.

Book:Spook

Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife

Mary Roach

“What happens when we die? Does the light just go out and that’s that—the million-year nap? Or will some part of my personality, my me-ness persist? What will that feel like? What will I do all day? Is there a place to plug in my laptop?”

In an attempt to find out, Mary Roach brings her tireless curiosity to bear on an array of contemporary and historical soul-searchers: scientists, schemers, engineers, mediums, all trying to prove (or disprove) that life goes on after we die. She begins the journey in rural India with a reincarnation researcher and ends up in a University of Virginia operating room where cardiologists have installed equipment near the ceiling to study out-of-body near-death experiences. Along the way, she enrolls in an English medium school, gets electromagnetically haunted at a university in Ontario, and visits a Duke University professor with a plan to weigh the consciousness of a leech. Her historical wanderings unearth soul-seeking philosophers who rummaged through cadavers and calves’ heads, a North Carolina lawsuit that established legal precedence for ghosts, and the last surviving sample of “ectoplasm” in a Cambridge University archive.

Book:Tracks to Murder

Tracks to Murder

Jonathan Goodman

On a 6,000-mile train trip across the North American continent from New York City to the West Coast, then back to New York over a southern route, prizewinning English crime historian Jonathan Goodman visited a number of sites where notorious murders occurred—the Kingsbury Run torso murders in Cleveland; the murder by “thrill-killers” Leopold and Loeb, the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, and the escapades of Al Capone in Chicago; the Henwood-VonPhul-Springer affair in Denver; the murders of Marian Williams and Blanche Lamont in the Emmanuel Baptist Church in San Francisco; and Kate Townsend’s murder in New Orleans. Goodman fuses two literary genres that reach back into the nineteenth century: the true crime essay fathered by Thomas De Quincy and travel reports popularized by Charles Dickens and Mark Twain.

As a true crime book, Tracks to Murder is witty and informative and enriches these classic American murder cases…[more]

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