Annal: 2009 Edgar Allan Poe Award® for Best Critical/Biographical Work

Results of the Edgar Allan Poe Award® in the year 2009.

Book:Edgar Allan Poe: An Illustrated Companion

Edgar Allan Poe: An Illustrated Companion to His Tell-Tale Stories

Harry Lee Poe

Edgar Allan Poe has become so strongly associated with the dark nature of his work that, in some minds, its as if hes the central characterrather than the authorof the many horror and mystery tales that bear his name. And yet, well over a century after his death, his story remains as fascinating as those he wove, largely because the shadow cast by Poe was not one of his own design.

In Edgar Allan Poe: An Illustrated Companion to His Tell-Tale Stories, Poe’s biography comes to life through images and fascinating memorabilia, including: a portion of his handwritten manuscript for the poem “A Dream Within a Dream”; contentious letters he exchanged with his foster father, John Allan; the bon indicating his intention to marry his cousin Virginia; his controversial obituary as it appeared in the New York Daily Tribune.

After touring his visual, interactive biography, fans of Poe will read “The Raven” and countless other classics with new appreciation.

Book:African American Mystery Writers

African American Mystery Writers: A Historical and Thematic Study

Frankie Y. Bailey

This ambitious study examines the works of modern African American mystery writers within the social and historical contexts of African American literature on crime and justice. It begins with a historical overview that describes the movement by African American authors from slave narratives and antebellum newspapers into fiction writing, the work of early genre writers, such as Pauline Hopkins and Rudolph Fisher, the protest writers of the 1940s and 1950s, and the authors who followed in the 1960s. The historical section concludes with a discussion of works by late twentieth-century writers such as Toni Morrison and Ernest Gaines and the expansion of the audience for works by African American writers.

The heart of the book is an analysis of works by modern African American mystery writers, focusing on sleuths, the social locations of crime, victims and offenders, the notion of “doing justice,” and the role of African American cultural vernacular…[more]

Book:Hard-Boiled Sentimentality

Hard-Boiled Sentimentality: The Secret History of American Crime Fiction

Leonard Cassuto

Leonard Cassuto’s cultural history links the testosterone-saturated heroes of American crime stories to the sensitive women of the nineteenth-century sentimental novel. From classics like The Big Sleep and The Talented Mr. Ripley to neglected paperback gems, Cassuto chronicles the dialogue—centered on the power of sympathy—between these popular genres and the sweeping social changes of the twentieth century, ending with a surprising connection between today’s serial killers and the domestic fictions of long ago.

Book:The Rise of True Crime

The Rise of True Crime: 20th-Century Murder and American Popular Culture

Jean Murley

During the 1950s and 1960s True Detective magazine developed a new way of narrating and understanding murder. This publication was more sensitive to context, gave more psychologically sophisticated accounts, and was more willing to make conjectures about the unknown thoughts and motivations of killers than others had been before. This turned out to be the start of a revolution.

With skyrocketing crime rates and the appearance of a frightening trend toward social chaos in the 1970s, books, documentaries, and “fiction” films in the true crime genre tried to make sense of the Charles Manson crimes and the Gary Gilmore execution events. And in the 1980s and 1990s, true crime taught pop culture consumers about forensics, profiling, and highly technical aspects of criminology. We have thus now become a nation of experts, with many ordinary people able to speak intelligently about…[more]

Book:Scene of the Crime

Scene of the Crime: The Importance of Place in Crime and Mystery Fiction

David Geherin

Offering analysis of the fiction of 15 authors, this book focuses on the many ways that setting and place figure in modern crime and mystery novels. After an introductory chapter dealing with a general consideration of place in fiction, subsequent chapters consider the works of recent mystery writers for whom setting greatly contributes to overall literary style. From best-selling U.S. authors Walter Mosley, Carl Hiaasen, and James Lee Burke to international favorites Georges Simenon and Paco Ignacio Taibo II, the author ranges widely among the most acclaimed writers of recent mystery fiction. Topics explored include: The afro-centric urban Los Angeles environment in Walter Mosley’s Devil in a Blue Dress, the small-town exoticism of James Lee Burke’s southern Louisiana in The Neon Rain, and the gritty South African setting of James McClure’s The Steam Pig.

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