Annal: 2010 Agatha Award for Best Nonfiction

Results of the Agatha Award in the year 2010.

Book:Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks

Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks: Fifty Years of Mysteries in the Making

John Curran

A fascinating exploration of the contents of Agatha Christie’s seventy-three private notebooks, including illustrations and two unpublished Poirot stories

When Agatha Christie died in 1976, aged 85, she had become the world’s most popular author. With sales of more than two billion copies worldwide in more than 100 countries, she had achieved the impossible—more than one book every year since the 1920s, every one a bestseller.

So prolific was Agatha Christie’s output—66 crime novels, 20 plays, 6 romance books under a pseudonym and over 150 short stories—it was often claimed that she had a photographic memory. Was this true? Or did she resort over those 55 years to more mundane methods of working out her ingenious crimes? …[more]

Book:Charlie Chan: The Untold Story of the Honorable Detective and his Rendezvous with American History

Charlie Chan: The Untold Story of the Honorable Detective and his Rendezvous with American History

Yunte Huang

This is the first biography of the cinematic hero Charlie Chan, whose character was inspired by the real-life story of Chang Apana, a bullwhip-wielding, five-foot-tall Chinese immigrant detective whose raids on opium dens and gambling parlors made him into a legend. Emerging against the backdrop of racially riven early-twentieth-century Hawaii, Apana’s bravado inspired mystery writer Earl Derr Biggers, a Harvard graduate, to write six best-selling Charlie Chan novels. The resulting Hollywood character was not a stereotypical “Chinaman” but a wisecracking sleuth with a knack for turning Oriental wisdom into soup-alley Chinatown blues.

Yunte Huang’s exploration of this remarkable story asks whether Chan is a “Yellow Uncle Tom” or a “swell dish of chop suey mystery.” Examining Charlie Chan in fact and fiction, Huang follows this untold story from the glittering beaches of Waikiki to the movie studios of Hollywood.

Book:Have Faith in Your Kitchen

Have Faith in Your Kitchen

Katherine Hall Page

A selection of recipes from the Faith Fairchild mysteries by Katherine Hall Page, with supplementary information on the composition of these books and the place of food within them.

Book:The Poisoner's Handbook

The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York

Deborah Blum

A beguiling concoction-equal parts true crime, twentieth-century history, and science thriller.

A fascinating Jazz Age tale of chemistry and detection, poison and murder, The Poisoner’s Handbook is a page-turning account of a forgotten era. In early twentieth-century New York, poisons offered an easy path to the perfect crime. Science had no place in the Tammany Hall-controlled coroner’s office, and corruption ran rampant. However, with the appointment of chief medical examiner Charles Norris in 1918, the poison game changed forever. Together with toxicologist Alexander Gettler, the duo set the justice system on fire with their trailblazing scientific detective work, triumphing over seemingly unbeatable odds to become the pioneers of forensic chemistry.

Book:Sherlock Holmes for Dummies

Sherlock Holmes for Dummies

Steven Doyle, David A. Crowder

Get a comprehensive guide to this important literary figure and his author.

A classic literary character, Sherlock Holmes has fascinated readers for decades—from his repartee with Dr. Watson and his unparalleled powers of deduction to the settings, themes, and villains of the stories. Now, this friendly guide offers a clear introduction to this beloved figure and his author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, presenting new insight into the detective stories and crime scene analysis that have has made Sherlock Holmes famous.

Inside you’ll find easy-to-understand yet thorough information on the characters, recurring themes, and locations, and social context of the Sherlock Holmes stories, the relationship of these stories to literature, and the forensics and detective work they feature. You’ll also learn about the life of the author. …[more]

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