Annal: 2011 Agatha Award for Best First Novel

Results of the Agatha Award in the year 2011.

Book:Learning to Swim

Learning to Swim: A Novel

Sara J. Henry

“If I’d blinked, I would have missed it. But I didn’t, and I saw something fall from the rear deck of the opposite ferry: a small, wide-eyed human face, in one tiny frozen moment, as it plummeted toward the water.”

When she witnesses a small child tumbling from a ferry into Lake Champlain, Troy Chance dives in without thinking. Harrowing moments later, she bobs to the surface, pulling a terrified little boy with her. As the ferry disappears into the distance, she begins a bone-chilling swim nearly a mile to shore with a tiny passenger on her back.

Surprisingly, he speaks only French. He’ll acknowledge that his name is Paul; otherwise, he’s resolutely mute.

Troy assumes that Paul’s frantic parents will be in touch with the police or the press. But what follows is a shocking and deafening silence. And Troy, a freelance writer, finds herself as fiercely determined to protect Paul as she is to find out…[more]

Book:Choke: An Imogene Duckworthy Mystery

Choke: An Imogene Duckworthy Mystery

George Foy

Twenty-two-year-old Imogene Duckworthy is waiting tables at Huey’s Hash to support her toddler daughter in tiny Saltlike, Texas, and just itching to become a private eye like the ones she admires on TV. When Huey is found murdered, she gets her chance to solve a real case…but when Immy’s mother is hauled in for the crime, the spunky waitress finds herself on the lam from the law.

Book:Dire Threads

Dire Threads: A Threadville Mystery

Janet Bolin

Threadville has everything—a fabric store, yarn shop, notions store, quilting boutique, and Willow Vanderling’s brand new shop, In Stitches, a hit with tourists eager to learn embroidering in the latest way, with software and machines.

But when the village’s bullying zoning commissioner picks a fight with Willow and turns up dead in Willow’s yard, the close-knit community starts unraveling at the seams.

Willow must stitch together clues and find the real murderer, or the next thing she embroiders may be an orange prison jumpsuit…

Book:Tempest in the Tea Leaves

Tempest in the Tea Leaves: A Fortune Teller Mystery

Kari Lee Townsend

In the fortune telling business there are a lot of pretenders, but Sunshine Meadows is the real deal—and her predictions can be lethally accurate…

Sunny is a big city psychic who moves to the quaint town of Divinity, NY to open her fortune telling business in an ancient victorian house, inheriting the strange cat residing within. Sunny gives her first reading to the frazzled town librarian and discovers the woman is going to die. When the woman flees in terror, Sunny calls the police, only she’s too late. The ruggedly handsome, hard-nosed detective is a “non-believer.” He finds the librarian dead, and Sunny becomes his number one suspect, forcing her to prove her innocence before the real killer can put an end to the psychic’s future.

Book:Who Do, Voodoo?

Who Do, Voodoo?: A Mind for Murder Mystery

Rochelle Staab

Who Do, Voodoo?, the first novel in Rochelle’s thrilling new Mind for Murder Mystery, series features no-nonsense Liz Cooper, a Los Angeles psychologist forced to embrace the occult to clear her best friend of murder…

When Liz Cooper’s friend Robin Bloom finds an unusual tarot card tacked to her front door, Liz writes it off as a prank. Robin refuses to ignore the omen—her late husband drew the same card, the three of swords, in a reading the night before he was killed in a car accident. As more cards and darker threats appear, Liz realizes someone very dangerous is upping the ante.

Liz turns to her brother’s ex-college roommate, occult expert Nick Garfield. As Nick leads her into the voodoo community to locate the origin of the deck, she can’t ignore their attraction to each other. Then a woman is found murdered and Robin becomes the prime suspect. Determined to clear her friend, Liz joins forces with Nick to unravel otherworldly secrets and seek help from beyond—or risk being outwitted by a cunning killer…

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