Annal: 2007 Edgar Allan Poe Award® for Best Novel

Results of the Edgar Allan Poe Award® in the year 2007.

Book:The Janissary Tree

The Janissary Tree: A Novel

Jason Goodwin

It is 1836. Europe is modernizing, and the Ottoman Empire must follow suit. But just before the Sultan announces sweeping changes, a wave of murders threatens the fragile balance of power in his court. Who is behind them? Only one intelligence agent can be trusted to find out: Yashim Lastname, a man both brilliant and near-invisible in this world. You see, Yashim is a eunuch.

He leads us into the palace’s luxurious seraglios and Istanbul’s teeming streets, and leans on the wisdom of a dyspeptic Polish ambassador, a transsexual dancer, and a Creole-born queen mother. And he introduces us to the Janissaries. For 400 years, they were the empire’s elite soldiers, but they grew too powerful, and ten years ago, the Sultan had them crushed. Are the Janissaries staging a brutal comeback?

The Janissary Tree is the first in a series featuring the most enchanting detective since Precious Ramotswe of The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. Splendidly paced and illuminating, it belongs beside Caleb Carr’s The Alienist and the historical thrillers of Arturo Perez-Reverte.

Book:The Dead Hour

The Dead Hour: A Paddy Meehan Novel

Denise Mina

Responding to a late night-call, Paddy Meehan arrives at an elegant villa, where a calm blonde with blood running from her mouth answers the door. She has already convinced the police to leave and soon Paddy realizes how—she slips 50 bucks into Paddy’s hands and begs her to keep the incident, whatever it is, out of the press. The next morning Paddy sees the lead news story: The blonde woman has been murdered, and far from the spoiled trophy wife Paddy assumed her to be, the victim turns out to be a prosecution lawyer with a social conscience. Paddy begins to make connections no one else has seen. When she witnesses the body of a suicide victim being pulled from the river shortly afterward, Paddy suspects links between the two deaths and follows her idea to its shocking—and deadly—conclusion.

Book:Gentlemen & Players

Gentlemen & Players: A Novel

Joanne Harris

Audere, agere, auferre.
To dare, to strive, to conquer.

For generations, privileged young men have attended St. Oswald’s Grammar School for Boys, groomed for success by the likes of Roy Straitley, the eccentric Classics teacher who has been a fixture there for more than thirty years. But this year the wind of unwelcome change is blowing. Suits, paperwork, and information technology are beginning to overshadow St. Oswald’s tradition, and Straitley is finally, and reluctantly, contemplating retirement. He is joined this term by five new faculty members, including one who—unbeknownst to Straitley and everyone else—holds intimate and dangerous knowledge of St. Oswald’s ways and secrets. Harboring dark ties to the school’s past, this young teacher has arrived with one terrible goal: to destroy St. Oswald’s.…[more]

Book:Liberation Movements

Liberation Movements: A Novel

Olen Steinhauer

Olen Steinhauer’s acclaimed literary crime series set in a fictional country in Eastern Europe began in the heady post—World War II era and has taken readers from the first noise of revolution through to the chaos of the 1960s and '70s.

The year is 1975, and one of the People’s Militia homicide investigators is on a plane out of the capital, bound for Istanbul. The plane is hijacked by Armenian terrorists, but before the Turkish authorities can fulfill their demands, the plane explodes in midair.

Two investigators—Gavra Noukas, a secret policeman, and Katja Drdova, a homicide detective—are assigned to the case. Both believe that Brano Sev, their enigmatic superior and himself a career secret policeman, is keeping them in the dark both about the details of the case and all its players and about the true motives of their investigation, but they can’t figure out why.…[more]

Book:The Pale Blue Eye

The Pale Blue Eye: A Novel

Louis Bayard

From the critically acclaimed author of Mr. Timothy comes an ingenious tale of murder and revenge, featuring a retired New York City detective and a young cadet named Edgar Allan Poe.

At West Point Academy in 1830, the calm of an October evening is shattered by the discovery of a young cadet’s body swinging from a rope just off the parade grounds. An apparent suicide is not unheard of in a harsh regimen like West Point’s, but the next morning, an even greater horror comes to light. Someone has stolen into the room where the body lay and removed the heart.

At a loss for answers and desperate to avoid any negative publicity, the Academy calls on the services of a local civilian, Augustus Landor, a former police detective who acquired some renown during his years in New York City before retiring to the Hudson Highlands for his health. Now a widower, and restless in his seclusion, Landor agrees to take on the case. As he questions…[more]

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.

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