Annal: 2007 Macavity Award for Best Mystery Novel

Results of the Macavity Award in the year 2007.

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:Christine Falls

Christine Falls: A Novel

Benjamin Black

In the debut crime novel from the Booker-winning author, a Dublin pathologist follows the corpse of a mysterious woman into the heart of a conspiracy among the city’s high Catholic society.

It’s not the dead that seem strange to Quirke. It’s the living. One night, after a few drinks at an office party, Quirke shuffles down into the morgue where he works and finds his brother-in-law, Malachy, altering a file he has no business even reading. Odd enough in itself to find Malachy there, but the next morning, when the haze has lifted, it looks an awful lot like his brother-in-law, the esteemed doctor, was in fact tampering with a corpse—and concealing the cause of death.

It turns out the body belonged to a young woman named Christine Falls. And as Quirke reluctantly presses on toward the true facts behind her death, he comes up against some insidious—and very well-guarded—secrets of Dublin’s high Catholic society,…[more]

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: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:Piece of My Heart

Piece of My Heart: A Novel of Suspense

Peter Robinson

Two murders separated by four decades are investigated by two very different but equally haunted investigators—one, a casualty of war unable to come to terms with a confusing new world; the other, a rogue policeman harboring ghosts of his own. But the truth behind a grisly present-day slaying may somehow be hidden in the amplified, drug-induced fog of a notorious past, propelling Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks into the darkest shadows of the peace, love, and rock ‘n’ roll generation.

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