Annal: 2009 Agatha Award for Best First Novel

Results of the Agatha Award in the year 2009.

Book:The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie: A Flavia de Luce Mystery

Alan Bradley

In his wickedly brilliant first novel, Debut Dagger Award winner Alan Bradley introduces one of the most singular and engaging heroines in recent fiction: eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison.

It is the summer of 1950–and at the once-grand mansion of Buckshaw, young Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison, is intrigued by a series of inexplicable events: A dead bird is found on the doorstep, a postage stamp bizarrely pinned to its beak. Then, hours later, Flavia finds a man lying in the cucumber patch and watches him as he takes his dying breath.

For Flavia, who is both appalled and delighted, life begins in earnest when murder comes to Buckshaw. “I wish I could say I was afraid, but I wasn’t. Quite the contrary. This was by far the most interesting thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life.”

Book:The Cold Light of Mourning

The Cold Light of Mourning: A Mystery

Elizabeth J. Duncan

Elizabeth J. Duncan spins a charming tale of murder and intrigue in this winning first novel.

The picturesque North Wales market town of Llanelen is shocked when Meg Wynne Thompson, a self-made beauty who has turned out to be something of an unpopular bride, goes missing on her wedding day…and turns up dead. The last person believed to have seen her is manicurist Penny Brannigan, an expatriate Canadian who has lived in North Wales for almost twenty-five years. When Penny notices that something is not quite right at the funeral of her dearest friend, she becomes emotionally invested in the case, and sets out to investigate.

It seems that several people, including the bride’s drunken, abusive father, had reasons to wish Meg dead, but when the trail leads to her groom’s home, an explosive secret will shake the small town.

With its bucolic Welsh setting and vivid, colorful characters, this mystery is sure to delight the most discerning of traditional-mystery fans.

Book:For Better, for Murder

For Better, for Murder: A Broken Vows Mystery

Lisa Rogak

Jolene Asdale is one sale away from becoming a successful Finger Lakes businesswoman. But her dream gets derailed when a dead body rolls out of the shiny Ferrari in her exotic car showroom, instantly taking her from entrepreneur to murder suspect.

Arriving on the scene to investigate is Deputy Ray Parker, Jolene’s almost-ex-husband, whose suspicions are raised when he learns of Jolene’s public (and allegedly violent) argument with the victim. When Ray discovers wads of cash in her home—along with signs that Jolene is colluding with her unpredictable, fugitive sister—he is all but convinced of Jolene’s guilt. But could a spite-driven local be trying to frame her? Or is an out-of-towner trying to taint the popular tourist town?

Facing bankruptcy, a murder conviction, and divorce from the man she still loves, Jolene will do whatever it takes to solve the crime and save herself from a loveless life behind bars…even if it means careening into the path of a killer.

From the thrill of exotic sports cars to the ups and downs of family life, For Better, For Murder kicks off a unique new mystery series.

Book:In the Shadow of Gotham

In the Shadow of Gotham: A Novel

Stefanie Pintoff

Dobson, New York, 1905.

Detective Simon Ziele lost his fiancée in the General Slocum ferry disaster—a thousand perished on that summer day in 1904 when an onboard fire burned the boat down in the waters of the East River. Still reeling from the tragedy, Ziele transferred to a police department north of New York, to escape the city and all the memories it conjured.

But only a few months into his new life in a quiet country town, he’s faced with the most shocking homicide of his career to date: Young Sarah Wingate has been brutally murdered in her own bedroom in the middle of an otherwise calm and quiet winter afternoon. After just one day of investigation, Simon’s contacted by Columbia University’s noted criminologist Alistair Sinclair, who offers a startling claim about one of his patients, Michael Fromley—that the facts of the murder bear an uncanny resemblance…[more]

Book:Posed for Murder

Posed for Murder

Meredith Cole

Lydia McKenzie is an artist whose medium is the camera. She’s having her first one-woman show. It is a series that ties to actual murders committed in the city’s past. Her method is to find a model—someone who can match in a general way the actual female victim—and pose her in the clothes and position in which the actual victim was found. The night of her showing, however, is disappointing; the owner of the gallery makes her pay for the invitations down to the stamps, hang the whole show herself, and rush for the usual wine and snacks. But what happens next is much worse: two plainclothes policemen shut down the event and take Lydia in for questioning. A young woman whom she knew well, and who was the model in one of her photographs, has been murdered. Worried that the police aren’t doing what they should, Lydia and another friend set out to find the killer.

The winner of the celebrated St. Martin’s Minotaur/Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery Novel Competition, Posed for Murder presents a snapshot of crime in a lasting and memorable story.

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