Honor roll: Agatha Award for Best Nonfiction

Each of these books has been nominated for an Agatha Award for Best Nonfiction. They are ranked by honors received.

Book:Detecting Women 2

Detecting Women 2: Reader's Guide and Checklist for Mystery Series Written by Women

Willetta L. Heising

A reader’s guide and checklist for Mystery Series written by women.More than 600 series detectives created by women over 3400 mystery titles in correct series order titles indexed by mystery type and series setting more than 500 new titles released in 1994 and 1995.

Book:Books to Die For: The World's Greatest Mystery Writers

Books to Die For: The World's Greatest Mystery Writers on the World's Greatest Mystery Novels

John Connolly, Declan Burke

The world’s greatest mystery writers on the world’s greatest mystery novels:

  • Michael Connelly on The Little Sister
  • Kathy Reichs on The Silence of the Lambs…
  • Mark Billingham on The Maltese Falcon…
  • Ian Rankin on I Was Dora Suarez…

With so many mystery novels to choose among, and so many new titles appearing each year, where should a reader start? What are the classics of the genre? Which are the hidden gems?

In the most ambitious anthology of its kind yet attempted, the world’s leading mystery writers have come together to…[more]

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exploration of the contents of Agatha Christie’s seventy-three private notebooks, including illustrations and two unpublished Poirot stories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:Arthur Conan Doyle: A Life in Letters

Arthur Conan Doyle: A Life in Letters

Jon Lellenberg, Daniel Stashower, Charles Foley

This remarkable annotated collection of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s previously unpublished private correspondence offers unique insight into one of the world’s most popular authors. For the first time, Conan Doyle emerges from the shadow of Sherlock Holmes, revealing a man whose character and exploits rival that of his famous creation. In particular, Conan Doyle’s correspondence with his mother exposes his endless search for fulfillment and success outside the Holmes stories.

At age sixteen Conan Doyle began studying medicine at Edinburgh University. Just months shy of graduating, he made the adventurous decision to accept a position as a surgeon on a whaling ship heading to the Arctic. He returned to Edinburgh, graduated, and struggled to establish his own medical practice while simultaneously writing and promoting his stories. He suffered years of disappointment as both doctor and author; yet, to his amazement, just two months after the first Sherlock Holmes short stories,…[more]

Book:Girl Sleuth

Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her

Melanie Rehak

A plucky “titian-haired” sleuth solved her first mystery in 1930. Eighty million books later, Nancy Drew has survived the Depression, World War II, and the sixties (when she was taken up with a vengeance by women’s libbers) to enter the pantheon of American girlhood. As beloved by girls today as she was by their grandmothers, Nancy Drew has both inspired and reflected the changes in her readers’ lives. Now, in a narrative with all the vivid energy and page-turning pace of Nancy’s adventures, Melanie Rehak solves an enduring literary mystery:

Who created Nancy Drew? And how did she go from pulp heroine to icon?

The brainchild of children’s book mogul Edward Stratemeyer, Nancy was brought to life by two women: Mildred Wirt Benson, a pioneering journalist from Iowa, and Harriet Stratemeyer Adams, a well-bred wife and mother who took over as CEO after her father died. In a century-spanning story Rehak traces their roles—and Nancy’s—in forging the modern American woman. With ebullience, wit, and a wealth of little-known source material, Rehak celebrates our unstoppable girl detective.

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:Talking About Detective Fiction

Talking About Detective Fiction

P.D. James

In a perfect marriage of author and subject, P. D. James—one of the most widely admired writers of detective fiction at work today—gives us a personal, lively, illuminating exploration of the human appetite for mystery and mayhem, and of those writers who have satisfied it.

P. D. James examines the genre from top to bottom, beginning with the mysteries at the hearts of such novels as Charles Dickens’s Bleak House and Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White, and bringing us into the present with such writers as Colin Dexter and Henning Mankell. Along the way she writes about Arthur Conan Doyle, Dorothy L. Sayers, Agatha Christie (“arch-breaker of rules”), Josephine Tey, Dashiell Hammett, and Peter Lovesey, among many others. She traces their lives into and out of their fiction, clarifies their individual styles, and gives us indelible portraits of the characters they’ve created,…[more]

Book:Teller of Tales

Teller of Tales: The Life of Arthur Conan Doyle

Daniel Stashower

This fresh, compelling biography examines the extraordinary life and strange contrasts of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the struggling provincial doctor who became the most popular storyteller of his age. From his youthful exploits aboard a whaling ship to his often stormy friendships with such figures as Harry Houdini and George Bernard Shaw, Conan Doyle lived a life as gripping as one of his adventures. Exhaustively researched and elegantly written, Teller of Tales sets aside many myths and misconceptions to present a vivid portrait of the man behind the leg of Baker Street, with a particular emphasis on the Psychic Crusade that dominated his final years-the work that Conan Doyle himself felt to be “the most important thing in the world.

Book:The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher

The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: or The Murder at Road Hill House

Kate Summerscale

It is a summer’s night in 1860. In an elegant detached Georgian house in the village of Road, Wiltshire, all is quiet. Behind shuttered windows the Kent family lies sound asleep. At some point after midnight a dog barks. The family wakes the next morning to a horrific discovery: an unimaginably gruesome murder has taken place in their home. The household reverberates with shock, not least because the guilty party is surely still among them. Jack Whicher of Scotland Yard, the most celebrated detective of his day, reaches Road Hill House a fortnight later. He faces an unenviable task: to solve a case in which the grieving family are the suspects.

In The Suspicions of Mr Whicher Kate Summerscale untangles the facts behind this notorious case, bringing it back to vivid, extraordinary life.

Book:They Died in Vain

They Died in Vain: Overlooked, Underappreciated and Forgotten Mystery Novels

Jim Huang

If characters die in a mystery novel, and no one reads their story, have they died in vain? Mystery experts—booksellers, reviewers, genre devotees—introduce you to personal favorites: obscure classics, up-and-coming new writers, great books that unaccountably disappeared and lesser-known titles by bestselling authors. A companion volume to our Agatha and Anthony Award-winning 100 Favorite Mysteries of the Century, this book takes you before the bestsellers, beyond the familiar, with essays recommending over 100 mystery novels—buried treasures that will become new favorites.

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