Annal: 2012 Agatha Award for Best First Novel

Results of the Agatha Award in the year 2012.

Book:Lowcountry Boil

Lowcountry Boil: A Liz Talbot Mystery

Susan M. Boyer

Private Investigator Liz Talbot is a modern Southern belle: she blesses hearts and takes names. She carries her Sig 9 in her Kate Spade handbag, and her golden retriever, Rhett, rides shotgun in her hybrid Escape. When her grandmother is murdered, Liz high-tails it back to her South Carolina island home to find the killer.

She’s fit to be tied when her police-chief brother shuts her out of the investigation, so she opens her own. Then her long-dead best friend pops in and things really get complicated. When more folks start turning up dead in this small seaside town, Liz must use more than just her wits and charm to keep her family safe, chase down clues from the hereafter, and catch a psychopath before he catches her.

Book:Faithful Unto Death: A Sugar Land Mystery

Faithful Unto Death: A Sugar Land Mystery

Stephanie Jaye Evans

Everything looks perfect in Sugar Land, Texas. But it’s not.

No one knows that better than Walker “Bear” Wells, a former college football player now serving as a minister in this upscale Texas town, where famous athletes mix with ranchers and the local parish priest wants to arm wrestle. It’s a beautiful master-planned community, but people can’t be held to neighborhood restrictions, and Bear deals daily with emotional and spiritual problems, in both his flock and his own family.

But never murder. Not until a man is found dead on the nearby golf course, his skull crushed.

Bear has no interest in playing detective. His job is praying for the dead, not searching for their killers. But every time he turns around, another facet of the investigation tangles with his own life…like the fact that the murdered man’s son—and a main suspect—is currently dating his own rebellious teenage daughter.

He made a promise to do the right thing. But keep­ing promises may be what led to murder…

Book:Iced Chiffon

Iced Chiffon: A Consignment Shop Mystery

Duffy Brown

There’s always something to gossip about in Savannah, Georgia, and Reagan Summerside always seems to be in the middle of it. She’s busy enough running her consignment shop, The Prissy Fox, with her vivacious Auntie KiKi, but now the gossip—and the sales—are about to pick up after a gruesome discovery…

Reagan’s messy divorce has left her with nothing but a run-down Victorian and a bunch of designer clothes. Strapped for cash, Reagan makes use of the two things she has left, turning the first floor of her home into a consignment shop and filling it with the remnants of her rich-wife wardrobe. Thanks to his cunning lawyer Walker Boone, her ex got everything else, including the Lexus—not to mention a young blond cupcake. When Reagan finds the cupcake dead in the Lexus, she’s determined to beat Boone to finding the murderer. As it turns out, the gossip fiends flooding Reagan’s shop will give her a lot more than just their unwanted clothes—they have information more precious than a vintage Louis Vuitton…

Book:A Killer Read

A Killer Read: An Ashton Corners Book Club Mystery

Erika Chase

For the first meeting of the Ashton Corners Mystery Readers and Cheese Straws Society, six friends gather in Molly Matthews’s old Southern mansion-including Lizzie Turner, a reading specialist with a penchant for mysteries. But the mystery book club meeting becomes the scene of an actual murder when a stranger is shot-and nobody knows who the victim is, or how Molly’ antique gun came to be used as the murder weapon.

Then Lizzie begins finding mysterious manuscript chapters in her mailbox. As she and the book club members try to read between the lines, Molly surfaces as the next name on the killer’s list…

Book:A Scrapbook of Secrets

A Scrapbook of Secrets: A Cumberland Creek Mystery

Mollie Cox Bryan

Having traded in her career as a successful investigative journalist for the life of a stay-at-home mom in picturesque Cumberland Creek, Virginia, Annie can’t help but feel that something’s missing. But she finds solace in a local “crop circle” of scrapbookers united by chore-shy husbands, demanding children, and occasional fantasies of their former single lives. And when the quiet idyll of their small town is shattered by a young mother’s suicide, they band together to find out what went wrong…

Annie resurrects her reporting skills and discovers that Maggie Rae was a closet scrapbooker who left behind more than a few secrets—and perhaps a few enemies. As they sift through Maggie Rae’s mysteriously discarded scrapbooks, Annie and her “crop” sisters begin to suspect that her suicide may have been murder. It seems that something sinister is lurking beneath the town’s beguilingly calm façade—like a killer with unfinished business…

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