Honor roll: Macavity Award for Best Mystery Novel

Each of these books has been nominated for a Macavity Award for Best Mystery Novel. They are ranked by honors received.

Book:Bootlegger's Daughter

Bootlegger's Daughter: A Deborah Knott Mystery

Margaret Maron

Unconventional, still unwed (at the ripe old age of 34) North Carolina attorney Deborah Knott has done the unthinkable: tossed her hat into the heated race for district judge of old boy-ruled Colleton County. The only female candidate, she’s busy defending indigent clients and reeling in voters. Then suddenly, the young daughter of Janie Whitehead begs her to help solve Janie’s senseless, never-solved, eighteen-year-old murder. Deborah takes on the case; following twisted, typically Southern bloodlines, turning up dangerous, decades-old secrets, and inspiring someone to go on an all-out campaign to derail her future—political and otherwise. But it will take more than sleazy smear tactics to scare this determined steel magnolia off the scent of down-home deceit…even in a town where a cool slug of moonshine made by Deborah’s father can go down just as smoothly as a cold case of triple murder.

Book:Butchers Hill

Butchers Hill: A Tess Monaghan Mystery

Laura Lippman

Tess Monaghan has finally made the move and hung out her shingle as a p.i.-for-hire, complete with an office in Butchers Hill. Maybe it’s not the best address in Baltimore, but you gotta start somewhere, and Tess’s greyhound Esskay has no trouble taking marathon naps anywhere there’s a roof. Then in walks Luther Beale, the notorious vigilante who five years ago shot a boy for vandalizing his car. Just out of prison, he says he wants to make reparations to the kids who witnessed his crime, so he needs Tess to find them. But once she starts snooping, the witnesses start dying. Is the “Butcher of Butchers Hill” at it again? Like it or not, Tess is embroiled in a case that encompasses the powers that-be, a heartless system that has destroyed the lives of children, and a nasty trail of money and lies leading all the way back to Butchers Hill.

Book:Blood Work

Blood Work

Michael Connelly

Blood Work—that’s what Terrell McCaleb used to call his job at the FBI. Until a heart condition forced him to take early retirement, he headed all investigations of serial murders in the Los Angeles area. Now he is recovering from a heart transplant operation and leads a quiet life. But McCaleb’s calm seas turn rough when a story in the L.A. Times brings him face-to-face with Graciela Rivers, a darkly intriguing woman who hooks him with the story of her sister’s unsolved murder. Against doctor’s orders and his own better judgement, McCaleb agrees to take up the case. Soon Terry is on the trail of a killer whose crimes are more baffling and horrifying than anything he has ever encountered. It’s a mind-bending, breakneck case that leads McCaleb into the darkest place he’s ever known, unsure whether he even wants to survive his own investigation.

Book:Under the Beetle's Cellar

Under the Beetle's Cellar

Mary Willis Walker

Kidnapped by a cult of religious fanatics, an Austin school bus driver and eleven of his young charges have been held underground at the group’s highly fortified compound for forty-six days. While a team of federal negotiators begins to lose all hope of rescuing the hostages, crime reporter Molly Cates sets outto discover everything she can about the cult’s iron-willed leader, Samuel Mordecai. And as the clock ticks inexorably, she takes the role of Clarisse Starling opposite Mordecai’s Hannibal Lecter, engaging in a psychological confrontation as harrowing as any in The Silence of the Lambs.

Tough, terrifying, and relentlessly heart-wrenching, this is a novel whose images no reader will ever forget.

Book:She Walks These Hills

She Walks These Hills

Sharyn McCrumb

Historian Jeremy Cobb is backpacking on the Appalachian Trail, attempting to retrace the tragic journey of eighteen-year-old Katie Wyler, who was captured by the Shawnee after the massacre of her pioneer family in Mitchell County, North Carolina. In late summer, Katie escaped from a Shawnee village on the banks of the Ohio, and followed the rivers through the wilderness to find her way home—a brave journey that ended in sorrow. Jeremy, a city-bred graduate student with no trail experience, is determined to complete his scholarly quest, unaware that his journey will be both a trial of hardships and a mystical experience. He does not know that the spirit of Katie Wyler is still seen wandering the hills, trying to get home. Mountain wise woman Nora Bonesteel sees her every autumn “when the air is crisp and the light is slanted and the birds are still.”

Hiram Sorley, known as Harm, is also at large in the Appalachian wilderness. Sorely, who has escaped from the Northeast…[more]

Book:Dreaming of the Bones

Dreaming of the Bones

Deborah Crombie

After twelve years, the last person Scotland Yard Superintendent Duncan Kincaid expects to hear from is his ex-wife Victoria. But this is no social call. In her biographical research on troubled poet Lydia Brooke, Vic’s uncovered reasons to believe Lydia’s death five years ago was not suicide.

Much to Kincaid’s surprise—and the unease of his partner and lover, Sergeant Gemma James—he finds he can’t refuse Vic’s request to look into the long-closed case. The police report raises questions, but not enough to reopen the investigation—until a second death occurs, this one clearly murder.

Now Duncan and Gemma must sift through a tangle of relationships, secrets, and lies to find not just a killer, but a secret which will change their own lives forever.

Book:Bloodhounds

Bloodhounds: A Peter Diamond Mystery

Peter Lovesey

Head of the Bath murder squad, Peter Diamond isn’t exactly up to his elbows in bodies in the placid resort. He’s bored, a bit testy, and ready for an old-fashioned mystery. Alas, when one does come along it’s not in his division; it’s a half-million-dollar heist by a thief who first has sent a rhyming riddle to all the local radio stations. Diamond is ready to throw his weight around to help solve the robbery, but before he can step on any toes, a body turns up and the corpse is in his court.

There’s only one catch. It’s impossible for anyone to have committed the crime. The victim belongs to an elite group of mystery lovers called the Bloodhounds. The body is inside a padlocked houseboat, and the only key is in the pocket of a man with an ironclad alibi. The murderer cannot logically have left the scene, yet the victim is definitely not a suicide. Has one of the other Bloodhounds decided to commit the perfect crime? Was the heist and its verse a red herring, part of a labyrinthine plot by a twisted mind?

Book:I.O.U.

I.O.U.

Nancy Pickard

When Jenny’s mother dies of pneumonia after years in a mental institution, an anonymous voice whispers in the crowded graveyard, “Forgive me. It was an accident…” And when Jenny asks too many questions, an attack on Jenny’s life is staged to look like a suicide attempt. “A compelling tale of sin, guilt, and the havoc human beings wreak upon one another…” —San Diego Union.

Book:Trunk Music

Trunk Music: A Harry Bosch Novel

Michael Connelly

Back on the job after an involuntary leave of absence, LAPD homicide detective Harry Bosch lands his first case: a Hollywood producer found in the trunk of his Rolls-Royce, shot twice in the head. It looks like “trunk music,” a Mafia hit. The LAPD’s organized crime unit is oddly uninterested, but Harry thinks they’re wrong. He follows the money trail from the producer’s office to Las Vegas, where he quickly finds evidence of Mafia involvement. But something about the case doesn’t add up, and Harry follows a string of odd clues—glitter in the producer’s cuffs, an over-the-counter medication in the Rolls’s glovebox—in a different direction entirely. Just when Harry thinks he’s on firm ground, the bottom falls out. Blindsided again and again, at odds with his superiors, and overwhelmed by a romance that has cropped up in the middle of the case, Harry is as off balance as he’s ever been.

Book:The Sculptress

The Sculptress

Minette Walters

In prison, they call her the Sculptress for the strange figurines she carves— symbols of the day she hacked her mother and sister to pieces and reassembled them in a blood-drenched jigsaw. Sullen, menacing, grotesquely fat, Olive Martin is burned-out journalist Rosalind Leigh’s only hope of getting a new book published.

But as she interviews Olive in her cell, Roz finds flaws in the Sculptress’s confession. Is she really guilty as she insists? Drawn into Olive’s world of obsessive lies and love, nothing can stop Roz’s pursuit of the chilling, convoluted truth. Not the tidy suburbanites who would rather forget the murders, not an attack on her life— not even the thought of what might happen if the Sculptress went free…

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